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The Glee Project: Interview With The Show’s Mentors

June 11, 2011 01:00 PM by Veronica Dudo

Ever since Glee debuted on FOX, fans have followed the lives of a group of teenage students as they navigate through the often difficult halls of high school–with a song and dance here and there. Now, there’s a new reality competition where the winner will receive their own role on the break-out hit. Keep reading for the interview with the mentors of the new show! 

On June 12, a new show called The Glee Project will debut. The TV reality competition features 12 contenders vying for the prize–their very own role on Glee, written exclusively for them! In a recent interview with the show’s mentors, Robert Ulrich; Zach Woodlee; and Nikki Anders they trio talk about the competition and what is was like working with the contenders.

Ulrich serves as the casting director for both The Glee Project and Glee; Woodlee is one of today’s most sought after choreographers in the entertainment industry and works as the choreographer on Glee; and Anders is a veteran in the music industry having been a recording artist, producer, and currently is the vocalist and vocal arranger and songwriter for Glee.

All of the mentors took part in a phone interview to answer some questions about The Glee Project.

What were the qualifications to be a competitor on The Glee Project?

Ulrich: You can be any size, shape, ethnicity, and the only qualification they had to have was that they had to be over 18 and conceivably play high school. Initially through the whole beginning of the process until the call backs it was solely singing so we were obviously looking for people who could sing but Glee is always more than just singing–it’s looking for somebody who fits into the Glee world and is accessible and has that special something that you can’t describe and so we’re looking for incredible people.

What was the most stressful moment as mentors?

Woodlee: I feel like the most stressful moment as far as my part of the job was trying to get these kids up to speed fast. I don’t think any of them realized how much they would be doing. They came in to these auditions with sort of fragmented moments where they would sing a little bit, then dance a little bit but what it all boiled down to was we were up against such a small clock to get these kids ready to shoot their performances and I think getting them to all be immediate professionals was very much like, ‘Yikes! How are we going to do this in such a small amount of time?’ Nikki did you find that at all?

Anders: Yeah, I think that and kind of figuring out in such a short amount of time their strengths and weaknesses and how to make them shine the most. We had just on the first day we got to find out exactly what they’re good at on the first day and that’s really stressful because we want them to be doing their best and part of our job is getting to the heart of what they’re best at and where they shine the most and I think that was probably the most stressful part.

Ulrich: Also one of the most stressful things I think for the three of us is that we did become so attached and the fact that we would have to determine who was going to be basically, eliminated it was really tough because that became very stressful week after week when we had to deal with them on a personal level.

Can you tell us about some of the assignments the contenders have to complete on the show?

Anders: Every week they were challenged on their live singing and their studio singing because really, when you’re doing Glee you do have to also be a studio singer which is very different from live singing. That’s one thing that they do every week then there’s the choreography and it all kind of culminates at the end with acting and putting all three together so every week there’s something new and different that they have to do because every song is different and every song requires a different amount of dancing skill so everybody was pushed out of their comfort zone at some point.

How was the casting process?

Ulrich: It was a wonderful casting process because normally, when dealing with week to week a few hundred people or in the pilot a few thousand people, this was 40,000 people so the talent pool was so large and that was great and plus we were pulling kids from areas who would never have had the opportunity to audition for Glee so it just opened us up to a whole different arena, a whole different kind of talent that we normally wouldn’t have had.

How will this help Glee in the long-run?

Ulrich: Well, because one of these contenders will end up on Glee and if the show continues, it’s a wonderful way to broaden the casting process is really what it is. As a casting director, it was so much fun seeing people from little towns people that seldom had never sung except inside their shower and to give those people an opportunity was wonderful so ultimately it will help Glee because the person will be on Glee.

The Glee Project debuts Sunday on Oxygen at 9|8c.

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Photo Credit: Oxygen

Topics: Oxygen Reality TV Shows, The Glee Project |

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