Every time I think I’ve figured out what Ryan Murphy is looking for from these contestants, he throws me for a loop. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the man who makes “Glee” entertaining and unpredictable every week, can be a little bit hard to follow in person.
I have to say, though, that the more I watch, the more I think, that Ryan doesn’t exactly know what the goal is either. He seems to be following the winding road wherever it takes him – an unstructured form of creativity that relies less on control than on faith. Maybe that’s why he’s so fixated on writing a Christian character into the show. He can relate to that feeling of confidence that even thought he can’t see, or feel or – even yet – imagine the next character or episode, it will come to him when he needs it.
This week’s theme – believability – is really about acting ability. Ironically, if you’re especially good at pretending, it looks like you are not pretending, and that makes you believable. People who are really bad at pretending may be real, but they look fake – follow me??
Hmmm, now who is it in this competition who always comes off as fake? Lindsay, of course. And boy did she ever come off as fake this week. During vocals with Nikki Anders for the song, “The Only Exception” by Paramore, Alex had a genuine emotional break down. His father died when he was 6 years old, and he tried to tap into his feelings about that event to bring emotion into his performance. Clearly his feelings were too intense, and he was too unused to letting them out. He became overwhelmed and started crying.
When he reported back to the group, about what had happened, Lindsay – shall we say – “caught the fever” – and when it was her turn to sing, she had a little emotional break down too. Nikki found it a bit contrived, and I did too. But was it? Or was she just responding to the emotional maelstrom that Alex started, and the mood of the song?
Later, during last chance solos, Lindsay explained that she is adopted, and has always felt pressure to “be perfect” in order to prove that she belongs. One can only wonder what kind of adoptive parents make a kid feel that way.
Lindsay’s problem, as Ryan aptly put it, is that – while she certainly has issues – they aren’t the kind of issues most people can relate to. Most people just don’t feel terribly sorry for the talented beauty queen, even if they can acknowledge that she is under a lot of pressure to appear perfect all the time.
Samuel also came under fire for being too hip and “unrelatable.” His first trip to the bottom three was very nearly his last. But Samuel proved to be smart an adaptable. He quickly figured out that there were Christian shoes to fill and stepped right into them. Fortunately for him, they fit reasonably well. Ryan at least seems game to consider Samuel for the role formerly assigned to Cameron, but Samuel still has to prove that he can express his soft, vulnerable side..
And then there’s Hannah rounding out the bottom three. She gave a wonderful performance of “True Colors” during the homework assignment, and she won. It’s really too bad Ryan didn’t see that performance instead of her last chance performance (Taylor Swift’s “Back to December”), which was – honestly – dreadful. Still, Ryan rightfully declared Hannah the one person out of the bottom three who an audience would root for, saying “you are the show.” Lindsay and Samuel didn’t strike him as under dog material, and, after all, “Glee” is a show about under dogs. Ryan did tell Hannah, frankly, that she was up against two people who are better singers than she is, and tonight they really were, especially Lindsay. So which prevailed ability or believability?
As Ryan put it, “At the end of the day — it’s always who’s the most talented,” and Hannah went home. We’ll miss her cheerful face and pleasant demeanor, but the show must go on. And now we have, perhaps one more clue about what Ryan is really looking for. Who do you think will be going home next?
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