TV

TCA 2011: Could 'The Glee Project' be a farm team for 'Glee'?

Joy Press
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — "The Glee Project" looked like a strange beast when it was first announced: a reality competition show on cable network Oxygen, created to supply the Fox hit "Glee" with a new character for next season. But the series — which featured a dozen quirky young people mentored by "Glee's" own casting director, vocal coach and choreographer and judged by "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy — slowly found its own audience this summer. Some fans like it more than "Glee" itself.

And now that Murphy has fostered confusion about which "Glee" stars will be returning to the show, there may be some reason to wonder if "The Glee Project" — with its deep well of talented, likable performers — could turn into a kind of farm team for the slushie squad.

The winner of "The Glee Project" will get a sizable story arc on the upcoming season of "Glee" (at least seven episodes, which, as casting director and "Glee Project" mentor Robert J. Ulrich points out, is more than some of the regulars get). But they won't eliminate the prospect that some of the reality show's "losers" could sneak on to "Glee" too.

"Anything is possible in the world of 'Glee,'" Ulrich says with a laugh. "I have a script waiting for me at the office for the first episode of 'Glee,'" but he says he doesn't yet know how even the winner will be woven into the Season 3 storyline.

As choreographer/mentor Zach Woodlee points out, "Everyone was fit for the show ... we had to look at this as a trial and a bootcamp to get people ready," and base eliminations on how much progress each made weekly.

And rather than just a matter of talent, there was also the matter of who Murphy felt he could use as the basis of a fresh character who would extend the show's mission of diversity and inclusiveness. Ulrich said, "They're having to make themselves truthful enough that they can be written for," which made for a very unusual situation.

Oxygen has not officially picked up the show for a second season, but executive producer Michael Davies was optimistic, "based on the ratings growth we've seen, more than 100 percent increase since we began." He referred to the series as a kind of canary in the coal mind of the TV world, noting that it has a lot of young viewers who don't watch in traditional ways: "Many many of the views are off Oxygen, they're on other devices." They also have a sizable online and Twitter presence: "You read the twitter exchanges between these kids and their fans ... We're in a new television world with younger viewers."

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

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Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.


20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta


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Film

Hitchcock, 'Psycho', and '78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene'

Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

"... [Psycho] broke every taboo you could possibly think of, it reinvented the language of film and revolutionised what you could do with a story on a very precise level. It also fundamentally and profoundly changed the ritual of movie going," says 78/52 director, Alexandre O. Philippe.

The title of Alexandre O. Philippe's 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) denotes the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts across a full week of shooting for Psycho's (1960) famous shower scene. Known for The People vs. George Lucas (2010), The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (2012) and Doc of the Dead (2014), Philippe's exploration of a singular moment is a conversational one, featuring interviews with Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, Danny Elfman, Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Neil Marshall, Richard Stanley and Marli Renfro, body double for Janet Leigh.

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Mary Poppins, Mrs. Gamp, Egyptian deities, a Japanese umbrella spirit, and a supporting cast of hundreds of brollies fill Marion Rankine's lively history.

"What can go up a chimney down but can't go down a chimney up?" Marion Rankine begins her wide-ranging survey of the umbrella and its significance with this riddle. It nicely establishes her theme: just as umbrellas undergo, in the everyday use of them, a transformation, so too looking at this familiar, even forgettable object from multiple perspectives transforms our view of it.

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Those who regard the reclusive Argerich as one of the world's two or three greatest living pianists—classical or otherwise—would not have left the concert hall disillusioned.

In a staid city like Washington, D.C., too many concert programs still stick to the basics. An endless litany of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky concerti clog the schedules and parades of overeager virtuosi seem unwilling to vary their repertoire for blasé D.C. concertgoers. But occasionally you encounter a concert that refreshes your perspective of the familiar. The works presented at The Kennedy Center on 25 October 2017 might be stalwarts of 20th century repertoire, but guest conductor Antonio Pappano, leading the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, reminded us how galvanizing the canonical can still be. Though grandiose executions of Respighi's The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome were the main event, the sold-out crowd gathered to see Martha Argerich perform one of her showpieces, Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto. Those who regard the reclusive Argerich as one of the world's two or three greatest living pianists—classical or otherwise—would not have left the concert hall disillusioned.

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