Season 1 Castnote Top row: Damian, Bryce, Samuel, Hannah, Cameron. Second row: Alex, Emily, Lindsay. Third row: McKynleigh, Ellis, Matheus. Bottom: Marissa.
The Glee Project is a Reality Show that is sort of a spin-off of Glee. It's a talent competitionnote or as Robert Ulrich has stated, an "inspiration" competition for a 7 episode guest role on Glee. The episodes involve weekly themes for which the contestants get homework. They bring in one of the stars of Glee to judge the contestants as they perform the homework challenge and choose a winner. The winner gets an advantage in the week's music video, directed by Erik White. The three who do the worst that week do a "last chance performance" for Glee's Show Runner Ryan Murphy, choreographer Zach Woodlee, casting director Robert Ulrich, and (in season 2) vocal coach Nikki Anders.Began its second season in June 2012, two weeks after the finale of Glee's third season.
Elimination Statement: The eliminated contestants give a statement about how much they’ve grown and how this was the best experience of their life. Then, because this is Glee after all, the loser sings “Keep Holding On” while the remaining contestants sing backup.
Shocking Elimination: Fans were not pleased with the eliminations of Marissa in episode six and Hannah in episode eight. Particularly because both contestants were fan and judge favorites and who each won that week's challenge.
Also Shanna in Season 2
Voted off the Island: Nikki Anders, Zach Woodlee, and Robert Ulrich decide who should go out of the bottom three, they then perform for Ryan Murphy who decides who will be cut. The contestants are then presented with a call back list which will have all but one contestant called back.
The Glee Project also contains examples of:
Adorkable: Michael is really cute and sweet...and he loves calculus.
Michael: Derivatives are awesome.
Damian too. It comes as no surprise then that Damian and Cameron ended up becoming close friends and are now roommates sharing an apartment in Los Angeles together.
Ascended Extra: Vocal coach Nikki Anders was only seen for very short bits in the studio in season one. Now, she's present for recording, video shoots, and last-chance performances, chiming in on the final decision along with Ryan, Zach, and Robert.
Author Appeal: Ryan is very clearly supportive of people like Alex (a Camp Gay occasionally-crossdressing countertenor in the mold of Chris Colfer) and Cameron (a nerd-chic rocker who is outspokenly Christian, which is a character type Ryan has "always wanted to write").
Awesome, but Impractical: According to the producers, Samuel and Lindsay are this because both are great singers, but they're not very relatable.
Back for the Finale: It turned out that all the eliminated contestants returned to participate as background singers for the "Glee-ality" main challenge.
Bait and Switch: Ryan is a fan of this method of elimination. In a number of episodes (including the finale), he complimented a contestant, making it seem as if they were safe. He told Marissa she was gorgeous and talented and would never have a problem being cast; he told Hannah she was "the show" and exactly what they were looking for, and he told Alex that he can "do something no one else can do" and praised his voice constantly. All these contestants were then eliminated.
Bishōnen: Damian and Samuel, in two very different ways.
Cameron as well, especially in 'Theatricality'.
Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Subverted. In season one, there were no blondes in sight (Ellis, Emily and Lindsay were brunettes; Marissa and Hannah were redheads; McKynleigh had black hair). In season two, the redheads are gone (Shana, Ali, Dani, and Lily Mae are blonde; Nellie, Aylin, and Taryn are brunettes).
Bowdlerise: The Party Rock Anthem video. The original song contains the line "running through these hoes like Drain-O"; in this version it's "combing through my hair like Stamos".
The Cameo: One of the Glee cast shows up to mentor the contestants and judge the homework assignment every week.
In season 1 it was Darren Criss (twice!), Idina Menzel, Dot-Marie Jones, Harry Shum Jr., Max Adler, Mark Salling, Ashley Fink, Jenna Ushkowitz, and Kevin McHale as the guest mentors. Max also appeared in the music video of his episode.
In season 2 it was Lea Michele, Samuel Larsen, Cory Monteith, Naya Rivera, Kevin McHale, Jane Lynch, Grant Gustin, Amber Riley, Darren Criss, Diana Agron, and Chris Colfer as the guest mentors. Several characters have appeared in the music videos as well - Mrs. Hagberg in "Milkshakes/Moves Like Jagger", Rick the Stick in "Hit Me With Your Best Shot/One Way or Another", Principal Figgins in both "Here I Go Again" and "We Found Love", and Rory Flanagan in "Tonight Tonight".
Not just fans. Ryan Murphy described Alex as "Kurt and Mercedes' love child" to Ian Brennan.
Continuity Nod: Cameron's shown to be one of few contenders who can accompany himself through guitar. In the finale, he plays electric guitar when all of the fallen contestants rejoin the final four for "Don't Stop Believin'".
The Cover Changes The Gender: Averted by Samuel's cover of "Jolene". It's written as a woman singing about another woman stealing her man . . . and that's exactly what Samuel sings it as. Played straight in Season 2, when Nellie's part of "Waiting for a Girl Like You" becomes "a boy like you."
Deadpan Snarker: Ellis, at times, which led to the judges think of her as negative and rude.
Zach, when he isn't focusing on choreography. Sometimes when he is, and a contestant isn't doing well.
Determinator: The judges single out Ali in both the Fearlessness and Tenacity episodes as showing a drive beyond many of the other competitors. In the "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" video, she took more slushies than anyone else, despite having an increased sensitivity to cold. In "Eye of the Tiger", she won that week's challenge largely by hauling her wheelchair up and down four steps.
Expy: Marisa from Season 1 and Shanna from Season 2 can be seen as this due to their similar singing styles, both of them were eliminated in their first "Last Chance Performance" and the fact that they were the 3rd last contestant to leave the competition in their respective seasons.
Everybody Lives: Samuel and Damian were the co-winners, each getting a 7-episode character arc as Joe Hart and Rory Flanagan, respectively. But Ryan and the writers were so fascinated by Lindsay and Alex that they also got characters of their own, Harmony and Wade/Unique, to the point that the latter became more prominent in season 4 and was promoted to the main cast in season 5.
First Kiss: Ellis has hers on the set of the "We're Not Gonna Take It" video.
Five-Token Band: Most fans see the season 2 cast as this. There are only four who don't lack any kind of privilege: Blake, Michael, Maxfield, and Nellie (besides lacking male privilege). The others are all minorities: wheelchair, blind, lesbian, trans, black, asian, Muslim, ADHD, crack baby, and plus-size.
Food Fight: Cameron and Hannah in the "Teenage Dream" video, albeit a sexy version.
Forceful Kiss: Lindsay kisses Cameron at the end of the "pairability" main challenge, causing him to break down afterwards.
Funny Foreigner: Damian, at the beginning. There was much giggling over his thick Irish accent.
Lampshaded by Damian himself early on, when he entertains the other contestants by performing an impromptu rap that consists entirely of Irish phrases in a thick Irish accent (of course), to the point where the only part that most American viewers could fully understand was the part about "walking in Dublin."
Lampshaded again by Emily, who notes "I've never seen a leprechaun dance like that!"
I Can't Dance: Hannah, though it's subverted a bit. She—and the choreographers—believe her to not be as technically proficient at dancing as the other contestants, but she works harder than others who are better dancers (*cough* Alex *cough).
Damian is by far, the WORST dancer of the contenders, and he knows it. However, like Hannah, he works hard and his positive attitude has more than made up for his lack of dance ability.
Cameron as well admitted to having a lot of trouble with dancing, which is probably because of his lanky and awkward frame. This is subverted a bit by Glee's own head choreographer Zach Woodlee fanboying over how cool Cameron moves in "Theatricality". Nikki did this as well in his final audition before being cast as one of the Final Twelve.
Tyler in season two, being transgender, has issues with his body. He talks a lot on the Confession Cam about how he's having to relearn how to use his body, and that dancing is very challenging.
Iconic Item: Marissa's banana earrings have become this within the fandom.
Imagine Spot: The videos for "We're Not Gonna Take It", "Here I Go Again", and "When I Grow Up".
Nice Guy: Both Cameron and Damian came off as this throughout the competition, which inevitably led to mass fan adoration. The two caused many Heartwarming Moments in the show. Damian defended Mattheus in one episode and then Alex on Twitter. Cameron, in particular, was the epitome of a sweet lovable nice guy when he also reassured Alex, gushed to the cast about how they were all friends, gave McKynleigh flowers when she was eliminated, handed tissues to Lindsay (and Damian) during the Live Finale Chat, and, you know.... the Dameron thing.
Odd Couple: Matheus and Alex, in their duet. Surprisingly, they had decent chemistry.
Odd Friendship: Hannah and Lindsay were best friends during their time on the show together, and are moving into an apartment in LA together. Also Aylin and Lily Mae are portrayed as rivals and competing with each other, yet they'll be rooming together in LA as of August 2012.
Pool Episode: The "One Way With Another / Hit Me With Your Best Shot" performance.
Portmanteau Couple Name: Invoked by guest judge Darren Criss in "Pairability" with Matalex (Matheus and Alex), leading to the contenders coming up with their own couple names some of which are also now used by fans when Actor Shipping.
Examples include: Dameron (the bromance of Cameron and Damian and the most known shipname to come from the show), Damsay (Damian/Lindsay), Marissam (Marissa/Samuel), Camsay (Cameron/Lindsay), Dannah (Damian/Hannah), Samsay (Samuel/Lindsay), and Camrissa (Cameron/Marissa).
Season 2 has Chaylin/Charlin (Charlie/Aylin), Michellie (Michael/Nellie), Blichael (Blake/Michael), Blanna (Blake/Shanna), and Shaylin (Shanna/Aylin}.
A great deal of the TGP fandom is guilty of this, especially in regard to Dameron, bromance or otherwise. Other fan-supported ships include Damsay, Camrissa and Samsay. Dannah started gaining steam since the airing of the Sexuality episode, while Samsay became popular after Glee-ality and their epic running-jump hug.
The cast themselves also do this. Ironically, Cameron ships Damsay, while Lindsay is considered one of the biggest Dameron supporters out there.
As of the finale: CONFIRMED. EVERYONE gets a spot. Damian and Samuel were co-winners, each with 7-episode arcs, and Lindsay and Alex will get 2-episode guest spots.
Exemplified by Alex, who return early in season four and was promoted to series regular, whereas Samuel has only had a few lines each episode and Damian and Lindsay had both left.
Sadist Teacher: Zach, Robert, and Erik in the "Eye of the Tiger" video shoot, forcing the contestants to do the entire video over and over again until they got everything right in one take.
Scatting: Hannah has a unique rap-style called "skadoosh".
Screw The Money, I Have Rules!: The reason Cameron left the competition. He knew he didn't have the acting power to kiss another girl (as he was currently in a relationship and felt like he was cheating) and didn't want to rob the other kids of their chance, even though Ryan told him he would be giving up a recording contract, a starring role, and a concert deal.
Subverted slightly since Lindsay seems genuinely happy about her life. And then of course, as of "Glee-ality", she makes the decision to stop being perfect and to find herself beneath all her masks.
Stern Teacher: Not a teacher, but music video director Erik White has very high standards, and doesn't like it when the contestants mess up the shoot.
The Stoic: Aside from the big group crying session earlier in the series, Samuel's known to be the only character that hasn't had an emotional breakdown.
This was actually to his disadvantage because Ryan Murphy WANTED to see vulnerability from the contestants and when Samuel found out, he believed it to be too late in the game therefore having his own emotional breakdown in "Generosity".
Tantrum Throwing: Marissa kicks a chair during the "tenacity" homework challenge, but the spontaneity of it won her the challenge, according to Max Adler.
Of course, Marissa's move was less of a real tantrum and more of fulfilling the Homework assignment. Hers was simply the most noticeable.
Team Dad: Robert Ulrich, who encourages the kids through the challenges and comforts them when it's time for the callback list to be posted.
Ryan actually gets a bit of this when he goes backstage to talk to Cameron, making sure he was making the decision that was best for him, not what Ryan wanted him to do.
Team Mom: Nikki Anders, the vocal director. She goes the extra mile to comfort the contestants and help them during their last-chance performances. Does not stop her from being a bit of a Drill Sergeant Nasty to contestants who are screwing up.
What Could Have Been: Many fans speculate about who would have won if Cameron hadn't quit and Damian had gone home.
Wholesome Crossdresser: Alex does the "pairability" challenge in drag ("Nowadays" from Chicago), his last chance performance in "Tenacity" ("And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls) in drag, and his final performance on the show in drag ("I Am Changing" from Dreamgirls).