Mad World

From this week’s The Glee Project.

The Glee Project

Any Gleek going through withdrawal should take a look at the Oxygen’s The Glee Project, a competition for a spot on next season’s Glee. It follows the usual reality show attrition formula, like The Next Food Network Star or what seems like a dozen others. Yet because the contestants are talented and their stories are compelling.

Each week the contestants must do a number within a time constraint and the best performer gets a one-on-one coaching session with a Glee cast member. Next the contestants work on a video that relates to a Glee theme like vulnerability or theatricality. Like the characters on Glee, the contestants must not only perform well, but deal with their own frailties and flaws to make it.

I enjoyed seeing the producers, choreographers and voice coach work with the contestants, challenging them to move beyond the safe or even the dull. As I do with The Next Food Network Star, I see the critiques as relevant. Shows like The Apprentice or Survivor are contrived, but The Glee Project’s challenges draw one in because they’re realistic.

As always, this reality show gives us a glimpse at the behind the scenes drama back in the dorms. We see friendships develop and rivalries foment. Without fail, after a couple episodes I’ve got contestants who irk me and others I’m rooting for. I wouldn’t mind if Lindsay, a terrific singer, without an ounce of humility and terrible social skills, was cut. Here there are more favorites than people who annoy.

The next new episode isn’t till the week after next so you can catch up on