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.