The television gods giveth shows, and the television gods taketh shows away. Only a couple months after the very gleeful news that "The Sing-Off," a show starring real-life glee-club types, was getting another chance from NBC, it is now official that "The Glee Project," another talent show inspired by "Glee," is being canceled by the Oxygen network.
The Wrap reports that "Glee" star Cory Monteith's tragic death this week did NOT play a factor in Oxygen's decision. (Cory was actually a mentor on Season 2 of "The Glee Project," on its "Vulnerability" episode, and several of the series' contestants took to Twitter this week to share their Cory memories and condolences.) In fact, the decision to shut down the show was made weeks ago.
"We are extremely proud of this series which launched the careers of several talented individuals. The show had so much heart and we thank Ryan Murphy and all of the creative talent who helped make the series a critical darling," Oxygen said in a statement.
"The Glee Project," a talent show created by "Glee's" Ryan Murphy to scout potential new "Glee" cast members (it launched the careers of regulars Blake Jenner, Alex Newell, and Samuel Larsen, as well as recurring "Glee" actors Damian McGinty, Lindsay Pearce, and Ali Stroker), was always one of my favorite talent competitions. I actually liked "The Glee Project" way more than "Glee" itself. I truly felt the groundbreaking series elevated the reality-TV singing show genre to an entirely artier level and even discovered some talent that put hopefuls on bigger singing shows to shame — including Season 2's winner, breakout star Blake.
The best part of "The Glee Project" was always its music video challenges, during which the contestants would apply the specific skill they'd learned that week to the small screen. Some real TV magic ensued. To say goodbye to this beloved show, below is my list of my top five "Glee Project" music videos ever:
5) Believability challenge: "The Only Exception" (Season 1)
As the J. Geils Band once sang, you love her, but she loves him, and he loves somebody else, you just can't win. But the Season 1 cast sang Paramore's "The Only Exception," not J. Geils's "Love Stinks," thankfully...and the result was absolutely heartbreaking. And totally believable.
4) Danceability challenge: "U Can't Touch This" (Season 1)
Two minutes and six seconds of unabashed early-'90s nostalgia — complete with Dwayne Wayne flip-up shades, piles of gold(-plated) chains, retina-searing flashes of neon, lots of cabbage-patching and running-manning, and, of course, droopy-drawer Hammerpants — the show's cover of the Hammerman's Rick James-sampling mega-jam was more fun than anything I saw on any other reality show back in 2011. I still wish the "American Idol" Ford music videos could be this rad.
3) Vulnerability challenge: "Everybody Hurts" (Season 2)
This one almost hurts to watch. The second-season cast of "TGP" hopefuls were arguably better actors overall than Season 1's bunch, and their talents were on full display in this haunting depiction of school bullying. I'm still shocked that Ryan never cast Lily in a guest role as a mean girl. Maybe she was just so convincing in this, she scared Ryan too much.
2) Theatrically challenge: "We're Got Gonna Take It" (Season 1)
Keytars, Bowie facepaint, Townshend-style guitar-smashing, and rawkin' anti-bullying messaging…what wasn't to like about this tour de force? "The Glee Project" became "The Glam Project" for a day, and it totally rocked.
1) Actability challenge: "Perfect" (Season 2)
With this episode, Ryan made it clear that wanted an actor who sings, not a singer who also happens to act — and he got his wish, five times over. Seriously, all five of these contestants needed to win Emmys — or even Oscars — for their stunning star turns in this fake movie trailer for a coming-of-age film. I honestly do not know how Ryan decided to only crown one Season 2 winner (in Season 1, there was a two-way tie for first place), but I knew after this video that Blake, who fantastically transformed from cute boy-next-door to scary egomaniac in the time it took to slick back his hair, would ultimately win. Well-deserved. But Ryan STILL needs to make a real movie called Perfect with all five contestants.