‘The Glee Project’ Recap: When Balls Fly (PHOTOS)

'Glee' Hits TCA
FOX stars shine at the press tour.
'Glee Project' Theatricality
The contestants take on pop alteregos.
Sometimes reality competition shows ask their contestants to do things the real world probably never would. Such was the case in tonight’s episode of The Glee Project, that saw the remaining contestants tackling the challenge of shooting a music video in one take.

While you may say that it’s not unheard of for bands to do that, it’s a different case when a video has to incorporate as many physical elements above and beyond choreography as this version of “Eye of the Tiger” demanded. So who fell short and who shined? The events that unfolded may surprise you!

Note: Spoilers ahead if you have yet to see “Tenacity.”

After a homework assignment that saw the group tackling Destiny Child’s “Survivor,” Glee’s own Mercedes, Amber Riley, stepped in as mentor, adding extra pressure considering she took on the anthem herself seasons earlier. It didn’t seem to deter the contestants, though, who were all probably just thrilled to see the show getting back to actual series stars gracing their presences (rather than just a random guest star, like last week).

Riley singled out the “diva” in Abraham but also scolded him for not remembering to play a character in the performance. She asked Lily to show more of a connection to the music, and then she praised Aylin’s voice and Ali’s ability to move — even more than everyone else. In fact, Riley said Ali “is what tenacity is” for being able to power through and hold onto her drive in the face of so much adversity.

Once again Ali showed up the rest and was selected as the winner, but her prize proved to be a bit of a double-edged sword. In the actual music video for “Eye of the Tiger,” Ali was given the ending note — which Erik White wanted her to punctuate by tossing a basketball over her shoulder (and backwards) into a hoop.

Did we mention this video had to be shot all in one take? And that there was no choreography session to practice? So even if every note and step was nailed prior, if the ball didn’t swish the net, they had to start over. And over. And over. Poor Ali. Thankfully she doesn’t believe in giving up — but more importantly, thankfully she came up with the idea that someone could lift her in her wheelchair and she could dunk the ball instead! If only she had come up with it at the start of the shoot, rather than 34 takes in!

From the recording studio to the shoot, Abraham seemed to struggle with everything from notes to steps, while Blake proved just how effortless this whole process is for him. It would be annoying — if he wasn’t so charming. But what couldn’t be ignored tonight was just how physically tired everyone got during the shoot — so tired they often forgot to lip sync, which of course sent them hurtling back to one every time, too.

This week the bottom three saw the familiar faces of Abraham, Michael, and Lily. Abraham was asked to sing “Man in the Mirror” from Michael Jackson, while Lily had Funny Girl’s “I’m The Greatest Star,” and Michael was given “Brick” by Ben Folds Five.

Abraham, who was called flat during the majority of the takes, was also asked to be himself when he performed for Ryan Murphy. During his performance he seemed to rush through the lyrics, as if he was afraid of not getting all the words out or right, and he also stripped the vocals of a lot of the edge the King of Pop gave them.

Michael, who struggled the most in the recording studio at least seemed to come into his confidence on stage, moving off the mic stand and getting into the movement of the song. There were times his pitch didn’t sound quite right, but his heart was in it, and he called his Alpha judge “Mr. Murphy” so he won points for professionalism and respect.

Lily, who was told she had to learn to “blend more,” was asked to portray the opposite message with her song. She had to be big and bold on stage while still processing the note the panel gave he. But standing on stage, she took an opportunity to call out Aylin for a perceived rude comment, which engaged Murphy in a potential behind-the-scenes catfight. Let’s be honest, his eyes went wider with possibilities at the sound of that than anyone’s singing tonight.

After this performance and initial notes, Abraham marched himself back on stage and basically told Murphy he wasn’t leaving until he had a role on Glee. As much as Murphy liked him, that kind of sass-back to Murphy’s authority seemed like the ultimate nail in his coffin. Murphy called him out for not nailing the Last Chance performance number and not owning up to it and asking for a do-over but instead hiding behind bravado to gain more attention. So even though he worked through a twisted ankle, Abraham was the one who ultimately got cut tonight.

Buzz Moments

OMG!: The boot camp portion of this show seemed to kick in The Biggest Loser style tonight, having just about everyone huffing through their lines and Shanna puking in the trash.

Thank you, TV gods.: We always wondered what kind of conversations were had in a locker room, and now we know: Debates over whether jock straps are actually effective or simply “skimpy underwear” if they don’t have cups in them.

Awk-ward: Though pal Blake may be helping Michael come out of his shell, tonight after his Last Chance performance, Murphy not only compared Michael directly to his new “bro” but also accused him of not being “as good as” his new bro…

Hotness: Between Michael tuck and rolling through a tire and Aylin jumping hurdles, these kids proved to be way more athletic than we expected.

Fab-u-lous: During the music video, the camera swept gracefully back and forth across a relatively small space but with so much action crossing the frame, it didn’t feel like a bottle episode at all!

Can. Not. Wait.: This season contestants are pulling out all the stops to try to give Murphy what they think he wants from their creativity — from changing lyrics of songs to include his name, to kissing his ass; what can possibly be next? Stripping?

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 7

Are you sad to see Abraham go home? Sound off in the comments below!

Danielle Turchiano