The Glee Project? More Like the HE Project

By Louis Peitzman

Jul 25, 2011

Is it just me, or does The Glee Project have a gender problem? I know I’m not always the fairest judge when it comes to Glee, but there’s definitely something off about the reality competition’s eliminations. And Sunday night’s absurd decision only irked me more. The judges decided to send home Marissa, who was in the bottom three for the first time and who won the week’s homework challenge. Meanwhile, Alex and Cameron—both of whom have been in the bottom three in three of the last four weeks—were allowed to stick around.

What gives? I’m going to don my conspiracy theorist cap for a moment: feel free to call me a tinhat nutjob in the comments. But with Chord Overstreet apparently leaving Glee, is it that crazy to suggest that The Glee Project might be on the lookout for a replacement heartthrob? I can’t help but notice that the women on this show—who are, for the most part, more talented than the men—continue to be dropped in favor of guys who have the Glee "look." Cameron is undeniably adorable, but has he done anything yet to suggest that he’s a star?

The only way to justify sticking with two repeated disappointments over a former standout is that Marissa was never going to draw in that tween girl fanbase. Women don’t make the cover of Tiger Beat, which leaves it to conventionally attractive dudes like Cameron, Samuel, and Damian to claim the top prize. (Alex can clearly belt, but he’s also been in the bottom too many times. My guess is he’s still there because he’s the only openly gay contestant—and I say that as a gay man who does want more representation of people like me on TV.) Of the guys, Samuel is certainly my top pick, but what do the others really have to offer?

As is the case with all reality competitions, The Glee Project includes a disclaimer that producers consulted the judges on elimination choices. Normally that doesn’t bother me a bit—I get that there are several factors to consider. But I’m still not convinced The Glee Project is giving anyone a fair chance. The odds are stacked against the two remaining female contestants, simply because they don’t have boy parts. For a show that claimed to be on the lookout for an unlikely star, I’m convinced The Glee Project is just narrowing things down in a search for the next hunk.

Look, I could be wrong. My outrage over Sunday night’s elimination notwithstanding, it’s impossible to judge this series until the last episode airs. Besides, four women vs. two men doesn’t suggest a tremendous bias. True, but how else do you explain all the second (and third, and fourth) chances the boys seem to get? Whoever wins The Glee Project, it will be tough to argue that the series made reasonable elimination choices during its run. I just don’t believe that great performers like Emily, McKynleigh, and Marissa were really less worthy than the guys who remain.

But hey, the show has made it clear that it’s not a voice competition. (We know whoever wins is going to be autotuned to death, anyway.) The winner of the series has to appeal to a wide audience. So my question is this—if The Glee Project is really just about marketability, why make such a fuss about catering it to outsiders?

The Glee Project airs Sunday nights at 9pm on Oxygen.

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  • JayeStothers Aug 17, 2011

    bring on the Irish, he is my choice as he has some real telnet and will grow with the show, i just hope they dont do the pretty boy thing with him

  • wildandcrazygal Jul 27, 2011

    For the most part I have to disagree with you Mr. Peitzman. I definitely think the boys who remain have more to offer than those who were sent home. I personally loved Marissa and she is the first elimination I adamantly disagreed with. That being said, having worked in the entertainment industry I can tell you having people who are an emotional drain on a set can kill a production's atmosphere quickly and I definitely felt that Bryce, Ellis, Matheus and Emily all suffered from a bit of prima donna syndrome, so I don't blame producers for sticking with others instead of them. However, I really feel more than any of them Alex wavers between egotistical diva and insecure drama queen the most and I was shocked that he was kept in favour of Marissa. As Ryan Murphy said in the episode though, it comes down to who you think you can write for. As wonderful as Marissa was, I can't say that I know anything about her beyond the fact that I found her very talented. I have no clue what her

  • LeonGarcia1 Jul 26, 2011

    The first thing is I have to be a little suspicious of a program that is already as they say "in the can" it's not real time like Dancing With The Stars, so it makes me wonder is it scripted with the outcome already decided? Another thing it was said that Ryan Murphy was looking for a Warbler, now of course that can mean simply a singer, if not then I can't imagine them on purpose having this show with the express notion of picking a boy, which leads me to believe that it would be scripted with all the kids knowing ahead of time what's going to happen. If they did do this on the sly they would be open to many lawsuits by the female participants.

  • FrankMcBee Jul 26, 2011

    The already have a very strong female lead in Rachel who can sing and act. You have Naya coming on strong in acting and singing as well. Then you have Amber who can sing. Guys side you have a mix bag either they can sing or they can act. They don't need another female.

  • EvelynBarney Jul 26, 2011

    Ryan Murphy has said every week that he is looking for a person he can "write for." that means that things like "The Glee Look" - how they would fit in with/balance the current cast and so on do factor in. that's not conspiracy theory, that's fact form the mouth of the man himself.

    Still - Seeing Marissa booted was a shock. It wasn't her best week - but she hit some high points, and has each week I've watched. I have to wonder if she is the "Mistake" Murphy hints at having made.

  • bostonbeliever Jul 26, 2011

    A little ridiculous, yeah. Alex should have been booted last week. He "zones out" (the same reason McKynleigh was booted), bullies other cast members, and seems to be lazy to boot. Yes he has an amazing voice, but that's it. Oh, and he's gay. Well, gosh, Glee must be the show for him since Kurt is graduating. McKinley High School just won't function without its token gay student to write episodes and episodes about. Excuse me for being totally indifferent as to whether a character is gay or not. Also, was I alone in finding his drag contrived?

    Cameron has not proven himself to be a capable actor, at all, and seems to have only survived thus far because the two other judges (not Ryan Murphy) had a soft spot for him. His only unique quality is his Christian-moralist background.

    Marissa has shown that she has fire and talent, and she's not afraid to work hard. She should have been given a second chance, instead of a fourth chance given to both Alex and Cameron. Cameron should

  • JustinJohnson0 Jul 26, 2011

    Samuel will win this hands down anyway, doesn't really matter the order of who goes home.

  • thisyearsgirl Jul 26, 2011

    I think it has more to do with the contestants being unique than their talent..cause they are all talented. They want the contestants to inspire their character, like Chris did. Marissa is lovely but whats really interesting about her. The boys are just more interesting and lets face it Lindsay is Racheal..........

  • StacyLieb Jul 26, 2011

    I'm with you on the Marissa thing. The girl should not have gone home, especially against Cameron, who would never survive on Glee because he won't kiss a girl - let alone a boy, should that come up! I think that Samuel will take home the prize, mostly because he's the most conventional while still being different (note the hair). I can see him and Sue having a contest about who has better hair or something, especially since the winner will play Sue's rival.

    In any case, I'd be happy to see Lindsay win, but she's way too much like Lea Michele for this small story arc. I could see her taking over Lea Michele's role when she graduates as her protege or something.

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