After getting to know the inner workings The Glee Project (via multiple viewings of the same episode and swooning over Damian McGinty pics) the first time around, we decided to play casting director, clicking through countless video submissions for Glee Project’s second season in search of the next big Glee star.
First of all, can we just thank the submitters for being less delusional than some of those other reality talent show auditioners? We've been totally impressed with how tolerable-to-listen-to everyone has been across the board.
So, since there's plenty of vocal talent to be shown off, we get the feeling this is really going to be a personality contest. More specifically, who can come up with an original casting niche for themselves, as well as impress with their vocals? Enough with all the Kurt and Rachel carbon copies, PEOPLE. The roles of trail-blazing gay and vaguely attractive Type A leading lady have sufficiently been filled. So, naturally, our favorite submissions have been the ones who best blend charm, quirkiness, and a top-notch audition song.
Without further ado, here are our faves:
1. Levi Austin Morris. Talk about letting your freak flag fly. Levi reminds us of a young Jack Black. Like, if Jack Black attended McKinley High, he would be played by this guy. We're dying for his future character to audition for the New Directions with a Tenacious D song. His kooky hair immediately caught our attention, and he handled the typically cringe-inducing "What has been your biggest obstacle to overcome?" interview question with humor, charm, and heart. Plus, he quipped, "Annnd I'm a big homo," to top off his story, which immediately melted our frigid, judgmental hearts. His song selection starts off a little...um...creepy, no doubt, but it quickly becomes clear that he's taken on "a character," and his rocker vocal quality really shines.
2. Seth Jones. Seth is an adorable, sarcastic, hilarious Kansas City boy whose biggest obstacles included people making fun of him for his Bieber hair (jokes) and being a pastor's kid — or "PK," as it's apparently known in pastor kid circles...who knew! — in the performing arts. He thought having a “pastor's kid with less-than-supportive parents” in the glee club would be an interesting McKinley High character, and... we totally agree with him! It's original, and there's definitely more room for parental dissent after Mike Chang's storyline in this week’s “Asian F.” Plus, Seth's voice is smooth as butter and his rendition of Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" was absolutely effortless.
3. Rustin Cole Sailors. We had to include a pretty boy. Rustin could totally fill the Chord Overstreet-shaped hole in our hearts, but with a bit more of an indie/rock edge. He obviously plays up the "just because I'm attractive doesn't mean I don't have problems" card, but we don't mind it so much because he gives off an irresistible Heath Ledger in 10 Things... vibe. Plus he plays the guitar. Swoon.
4. Alana Goldman. Don't think we forgot about the girls. Currently the front runner in the top-rated auditions, Alana has an interesting not-fitting-in story that's totally relatable, but we didn't hear too many other kids talk about. Alana had the misfortune of falling between high school cliques. A lover of visual art, musical theater, and English Lit, she didn't quite fit seamlessly in with anyone, so she was stuck as a loner. But, Alana definitely has the vocal chops to cut it with the New Directions, and she's unconventionally pretty in the way where we can admire how gorge she looks without simultaneously hating her.
5. Kate Rancka. We're gonna call it: best voice out of all the submissions. Okay, so we didn't quite watch all of them, but she's definitely up there. Kate's voice is pure, controlled, fuh-law-less. Plus, she's sweet as pie, but dying to play the bitchy girl on the show, which we find to be adorable.
6. Anna Leigh Stephenson. Anna's definitely got the painfully shy kid with a crazy-good voice thing down pat. She cites her self-confidence issues in her interview, but once this girl gets on a piano, watch out. She tackled Train's "Drops of Jupiter" and has a sort of jazzy sound a la Norah Jones. Plus, Anna correctly pointed out that no female characters on Glee play instruments. What's up with that?! She's got our vote to play the guitar-toting indie kid.
The one thing almost all of these submissions have in common? They want to portray visual artists on Glee! We heard a lot of hopefuls talks about how they feel the visual arts kids are under-represented at McKinley and they want to see that change — and we’re totally for it! Let’s spread the love around the arts, shall we, Ryan Murphy?