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dcbentley

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Part 'Glee' , part 'America's Got Talent.' (no spoilers), 15 July 2011

'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy wants to find new talent for his runaway hit series. No use wasting all that hard work and a perfectly good national talent search, so The Glee Project was born. Tens of thousands of teen singers (as well as post-teen singers pretending to look like high-schoolers) grind through the auditions for the chance to perform on several episode of 'Glee'. 'The Glee Project' shows little of these early efforts, starting out almost immediately with the twelve chosen standouts. It's a diverse mix of male/female, pretty/not so pretty, tall/short, longhair/short hair kids. All very, very good singers in their own right. Each themed episode is visited by a regular cast member form the Glee mothership, not the A-list mind you, mostly support characters, but unquestionably talented people in and of themselves. The kids are given homework, a song to sing and choreograph together. They then perform it as the surprise 'guest mentor' watches and picks a standout. That standout is given perks in the form of individual tutelage with the guest mentor and special solo focus in the week's video shoot. The week's video is professionally produced with vocals recorded in a studio ahead of time, giving vocal producer Niki Anders an opportunity to instruct, motivate and if at all possible, belittle the nervous, struggling voices. The show captures brief vignettes in the recording studio and the video set zooming in on every possible cracking voice, petty squabble and unfortunate diva moment. Drama between the young singers is sought out and drawn out throughout the whole episode though most often it seems contrived or very selectively-edited. The finished video is shown in its entirety. This is the undisputed acme of each episode. Casting director Robert Ulrich and choreographer Zach Woodlee sit in the front row and one by one offer critique and then announce to the kids on stage who will continue and which three, the weakest of the week, will be required to perform individually in front of the Murphy himself. From these three, one will not be 'called back'. The singers only have a couple of hours to prepare (so we are told), so there are the predictable shots of rehearsal room sweat, tears, fear, woe and lament. Extra camera time is awarded to anyone willing to reveal his or her innermost trial and torment. Each of the three perform and are then told their strengths and weaknesses (mostly the latter) by a usually pontificating and condescending Murphy, whose highest compliment seems to be "I can write to that." Indicating, in my opinion, that he really doesn't know what he's looking for at all, but will apparently know it when he sees it. (or writes itself entirely, a la the Glee character, Kurt (Chris Colfer)) Rather then man up and tell the kids to their faces who got the boot, Ulrich posts a list and the three each make the solo perp-walk out to check to see if they've been called back or eliminated. The best parts of this show by far are the kids' performances. These are all relatively unknown and yet very talented young individuals. The weekly videos are first rate and even the homework assignment is polished and near-ready for prime time. The 'drama' is overstressed and is fast becoming a tired, clichéd, and dare I say, lazy entertainment mechanism. This is the same sort of glop you see on every other reality show from 'Survivor' to 'Next Food Network Star'. Minor, petty bickering and emoting juiced up with dramatic sound tracks and contextually questionable close-ups and narrowly edited sound bites. Murphy comes off at the same time as both arrogant and weak, completely subjective and at odds with himself as to what it is he is actually wanting. The kids themselves, bless their little hearts, are fun, expressive, intense and eerily 'normal'. It's a fun and entertaining hour each week, number one in priority on my DVR, even with all the fake drama bits. Highly recommended!

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Afterthoughts.., 21 May 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Holly: Didn't fit. Timeline impossible, relationship/tension never really explained… what was the deal with her and Banyon, did I miss that? Heather… merely a mouthpiece, not enough there to warm up to complete under-use of character Drew… Pretty good, though I don't think he ever identified with the E-town relatives as being real people. In fact he seemed to condescend even after multiple epiphanies.

Rusty/blow up the house: Very cute and clever distraction.

Paula Deen; A surprising and delightful character. I'll even overlook the obvious misallocated drawl. (GA vs. KY is as different as Brooklyn vs Philly) The map… blew the timeline completely. Not believable… at all… plus the Memphis detour, cheap, lazy, preachy, geographically ignorant/silly.

Music: OUTSTANDING! The producers ruined this wonderful idea by cramming too much into the wrong places.