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The Glee Project Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with Damian McGlinty, Samuel Larsen, Alex Newell and Lindsay Pearce on August 22, 2011 about the show The Glee Project.

Damian McGlinty, Samuel Larsen, Alex Newell and Lindsay Pearce

Question:
At that moment when you're waiting to find out who's going to win, who did each of you think was going to win?

Samuel Larsen:
I thought it was going to go to Alex. That was my guess.

Damian McGlinty:
I think all three are more than worthy, but I thought it was between Lindsay and Samuel. I thought Lindsay.

Lindsay Pearce:
I thought it was going to be Alex or Damian. I wasn't actually able to listen totally to everyone's performance. But after watching last night it came to my opinion.

Alex Newell:
I thought it was going to be one of the three of them.

Question:
Damian, how shocked were you when you thought Samuel had won, and then they announced that you won also?

Damian McGlinty:
It's really hard to explain but it was a huge shock to the system you know. Like standing there with Samuel, and when Ryan announces that Samuel has won the Glee Project it's a real sinking feeling thinking that you've got so far yet you're still a million miles away. But then when Ryan told me I had also won it was just like Samuel has said a few times today "You do forget how to function," and you lose all sense of reality and you forget where you are. And it was just the craziest feeling and the best; it was a phenomenal moment in life you know.

Question:
How hard has it been to keep the result a secret?

Samuel Larsen:
Nearly impossible.

Lindsay Pearce:
It was really hard.

Alex Newell:
Pretty easy.

Samuel Larsen:
It sucks, but I think when you have that kind of a lawsuit that could potentially be against you if you say anything, it gets in your ears.

Question:
Because you guys you got to work with a lot of mentors, I want to know who are you most excited to meet that you haven't yet met from the cast?

Lindsay Pearce:
Chris Colfer.

Samuel Larsen:
Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch, it's a tie.

Damian McGlinty:
I have to admit I'm very excited to meet Matthew. It's like the really experienced professionals knowing that we're all going to be working with them pretty soon is a real "Pinch me," moment.

Alex Newell:
I want to meet Lea because she is the epitome of what I want to be for a Broadway actor.

Question:
Damian the entire world melted when you dedicated the Last Chance performance to Hannah and Cameron. But how do you guys all think that the return of the former contestants affected your performances?

Damian McGlinty:
It was at the beginning of the week I think the four of us were talking because the four of us had come so close, we were talking and we felt a little bit of envy there and a bit of jealousy from a few of the contestants. But as the week went on they released that this was the biggest week of our lives and then they quite quickly rallied behind us and gave us a lot of support. And you know, walking out on that stage for the finale, I think we all agree that it was really like it was really flattering seeing the cast of Glee and then the rest of the contestants cheering you on.

Question:
Can you tell us anything, have you talked to Ryan or Ian about who you guys might be playing or kind of what your role would be for your special appearances?

Samuel Larsen:
All we really have to base, like what our characters might be like, is whatever Ryan spitballs at us when we would sing for him. I know for me personally, he's kind of considering me being that Indie rocker guy that you don't expect to be a Christian but is. Which is really, really cool and I hope he follows through with that. But at the end of the day they're incredible writers and they've created the best show ever so it's just whatever they want.

Damian McGlinty:
For me I it's interesting because Ryan we don't really have any idea of what character we're going to be playing. But you know, what we picked up was always on the show. And Ryan said to me that he sees me going into the school as an Irish exchange student who starts off very lonely, very vulnerable, but you know, ends up kind of growing. I'd suppose a little bit like the way in the Glee Project ends up growing becomes a kind of leader of the Glee Club kind of thing. So you know it's interesting to know that Ryan is planning out for you in his head on the biggest show in the world. It's it's really crazy. But it's crazy in a good way. I think we just can't wait to get started. You know right now it's a waiting game and we're just waiting for an email to come through to say, "You begin work on such and such."

Lindsay Pearce:
I don't really know what else to add. They kind of honestly said pretty much what I'm thinking. I don't really know much at all, but I'm really excited to see what they're going to have me sing, and what they'll have us do and who we'll be working with. And, I mean, regardless, it's all going to be incredible and it's going to be a pleasure and an honor and a fantastic ride.

Alex Newell:
I don't know anything, but as long as I get to sing with Amber Riley I'm alright.

Question:
Alex I was going to say that you could be like Amber's brother or cousin or something like that. That would be a really cool angle I've always thought.

Alex Newell:
Yes honey, yes. I mean great. I'm the lookalike. I met her at the 3D premier and we took the picture. And as soon as I Tweeted it to a family member and I got this immediate response of how much we looked alike down to the smile and the nose and everything. I would love to play her counterpart. She's so fierce and I know any song that they threw at us we would absolutely merger the song.

Question:
You guys could all be mentors for the next season of the Glee Project. What advice would you give new people that are going through the same experience for the next season?"

Samuel Larsen:
If there is a Season 2, I think my advice to them would just be you know, "Get out of your head and don't try to please Ryan, just try to top yourself, be the best You you can be. If he likes it, it will work, if he doesn't it's not your fault. You just got to be you that's what it's all about."

Alex Newell:
Ditto, just be yourself. I think that's it.

Damian McGlinty:
I would say don't watch any of the drama that surrounds you. Look at the girls in particular. Girls are like us, very dramatic.

Question:
Since everyone knows that Glee likes to get involved in affairs of the heart, if you could pick your love interest during your time on the show, who would you pick and why?

Samuel Larsen:
Just based what Ryan has already spit-balled to me about my character I think it just, with the storyline, makes sense that I would end up with Quinn because she's like the church girl that was kind of really obsessed with that in the beginning of Season One so I think I like the idea of that so.

Alex Newell:
Karofsky, Karofsky, Karofsky, Karofsky, because he's so adorable and I just want to be with Karofsky. Yay.

Lindsay Pearce:
Alex says that I'd be paired well with Artie, but I don't know. I have no idea. Maybe Jesse St. James can come back from college again.

Damian McGlinty:
I've got asked that question a few times today, I came to the realization earlier, and it was quite upsetting, but if they bring me in as a freshman, which is what they've talked about, then me being with like Rachel and Quinn is like them pushing a pram, which is kind of weird.

Lindsay Pearce:
Then pushing a stroller.

Damian McGlinty:
Like it's incredibly upsetting because I was really looking forward to that bun. You know the only one that would possibly work would be Brittany I suppose, which has been talked about. So maybe that might happen.

Question:
I'm curious exactly how you handled that in the competition. Did you ever just want to say to Ryan, "I can act whatever you want me to act?"

Samuel Larsen:
Yes definitely.

Alex Newell:
We wanted to, but we were all scared to.

Samuel Larsen:
I think when I was thinking about like going up for the role I went up for two years ago, like the Sam role, it was different because it like, he knew what he wanted the character to be like. And obviously I'm sure recorded in that way in real life, and that's just in his character. So it's really weird going into a role that is tailor-made for you. I hope that they keep it relative enough that it's like easy to relate to but I want there to be some freedom to play around with it and actually act it out. I don't just want to be myself completely, you know. But definitely I would say that, "Yes."

Damian McGlinty:
I'd have to say for me, I think Ryan's so interested in personality because personally I think Glee - Ryan casts people because of who they are and the way they're acting is 90% of them. You know I think some of them aren't really acting they're being themselves. And I think that's why he gives interest. I also think that's why there was kind of just the few acting challenges on the show, is because maybe they have clear plans in their head that we are going to be our personalities on the show.

Question:
Now that you've had a chance to watch the whole season back on TV and you've gotten a lot of notes, do you have any sort of things that you've realized about yourself that you want to work on for the future and once you get on the show?

Samuel Larsen:
I think the biggest bit of advice I kept getting was just to get out of my own head, because I do tend to think too much. And I think it's because I care a lot, but I think you have to learn to be carefree in order to perform to your best. I think you do your best when you're not thinking, there's nothing wrong for preparing for a scene or over-preparing for scene, I just need to learn to completely get out of my head when I'm doing so.

Alex Newell:
For me it was more of learning how to be more subtle because I am a stage actor and I know how to fill a stage with just my personality and what I'm doing. And I could get the contrast of you have to look natural when you're on television or on screen or on film. And I find myself doing that now on stage, and directors yell at me for it. But at the same time they commend me on it because it shows me embodying the character more than trying to be the character.

Lindsay Pearce:
I definitely feel that I really had to get out of my own way, just like Sam. I had to learn that it's okay to not do everything exactly right. You know sometimes the flubs are the best things. And definitely, yes, learned to get out of my own way and learned how to act in front of the camera. It's definitely different. Yes.

Damian McGlinty:
I would just echo Alex to be honest, I didn't really realize that didn't work on TV until we did fireworks. And then from there it was just how to strip down the performer I'd learned the last four years and build up a new one, whilst saving my rear end every week. So you know, definitely subtlety is something that I still have to work on.

Question:
Damian, how do you feel about representing the United Kingdom on Glee?

Damian McGlinty:
I feel great. It's definitely a privilege because obviously nobody has been on Glee from the UK, nobody has gotten close. Like, I mean, we're looking at it like going on night. She hasn't gone it yet, so it's just great, it really is. It's a real honor and like I was doing this competition once it got down to the death I was thinking, "Well you know I'm doing this for Ireland, I'm doing this for the UK." And that's what I done and I'm very proud of it.

Question:
Have you heard about when you're supposed to start filming with Glee and what episodes you'll start appearing in, what number episodes?

Samuel Larsen:
It's really up in the air when we start filming. They're talking about bringing our characters in not right at the beginning. So I mean, I know they're still working on the first few episodes. And really I think it's just going to be like, "All right here's your script so you tomorrow," kind of things so we're just waiting in limbo pretty much. But I mean we're obviously excited and we can't wait.

Question:
Is there anything you would change about your journey on Glee Project?

Samuel Larsen:
I think with the outcome I personally would not change anything.

Lindsay Pearce:
Honestly no. It's honestly like I feel, and I don't know if the rest of the Top 4 feels this way, but I look back and I have no regrets because every single speed bump and every single rollercoaster ride of the show created what we are right now. And so I can't say that I would change anything at all.

Damian McGlinty:
As for me it's interesting because between the four of us I feel like there's just a very mutual feeling of, "Congratulations guys we all did great."

Damian McGlinty:
I think we seen the performance last night and we realized, "Ryan's just going to pick who he wanted." >You know every performance was worthy or whatever, and Ryan was going to pick who he wanted. And we realized that the four of us hopefully will have huge careers. And you know, it's just a great feeling to win and that's a good thing you know.

Question:
What are you most looking forward to about starting on Glee?

Samuel Larsen:
Getting some real experience on my favorite TV show ever and the best TV show in my opinion. Just the character that Ryan kind of spit-balled to me, that I could potentially play like a character that I've always wanted to see on Glee so I'm really honored to be able to embody that. I'm just excited to do that.

Alex Newell:
Mine would probably be getting to start and work with everyone and whatnot.

Damian McGlinty:
Yes I feel getting to work with all those professionals that's incredible. Not you know, not many people at all get to do that. But I think all four of us are just looking forward to we all have a chance get a fulltime role on Glee. We all have this big chance and we all grab it. And that's what we're excited for. It's a challenge and we're under no illusions that the hard work starts now.

Lindsay Pearce:
I'm excited to work hard and it's funny that people are so excited about us because we're excited. We're Gleeks. You know, we're such big fans of the show and so to meet the people that we've been looking up and watching week by week on this incredible television that Ryan created, it's just a complete honor and it makes me wonder what the heck we did right because it's awesome. I can't believe it.

Question:
Alex, was the drag character some character that you've done prior to the show, or is that something that you possibly might want to do again in the future?

Alex Newell:
No I've never played Effie White, but if I ever get the opportunity to play Effie White I would murder the show, it's so good. And it's something that I probably do look forward to doing because I don't want to like sound mad, whatever, but I do it well. I do play a good female. It's not like I'm doing a drag character, I think of the physical mannerisms of a woman and stuff like that.

Question:
Have there been any particularly memorable fan encounters for you guys already?

Alex Newell:
I was coming here from Boston and the TSA lady recognized me, and they were just about to like pat me down for some strange reason, and then she was just like, "You know what, go ahead." She might lose her job for doing that, but she just let me go through, and so I loved her for that.

Lindsay Pearce:
Hannah, Karen, Damian and I were at Universal City Walk, and the fan that I'd been that I had tweeted, and I'm following her. She's French and she screamed and we turned around, because I mean she screamed at the top of her lungs and ran towards us and was taking pictures of us as we walking, with her camera. And she ran up and was trying not cry and she was just so excited. And I've never seen such exuberance from a fan before. It was really, really sweet. And she was just overjoyed to get a chance just to say, "Hi," and tell us how us how much she loved the show.

Samuel Larsen:
The other day I was Barnes & Noble picking up a new Moleskine planner and I was getting bombarded by like a bunch of kids. It was really, really cool just like I didn't think I'd see kids at Barnes & Noble. But there was a crowd of kids like taking pictures of me and I was with friend and he was like he had to like yank me out of that store, because there were just so many kids. It was crazy.

Damian McGlinty:
I was at Universal Theme Park at the weekend. There was a lady who was working there and she spotted me and she wanted a picture. And she seen me queuing in line. And she was like, "Why are queuing in line, you should not be queuing in line." And she gave me like six express passes." I was like, "Yes."

Alex Newell:
Use it now.

Damian McGlinty:
Happy days, it's all paid off.

Alex Newell:
Express passes at the Universal.

Question:
Damian, do you have any project plans with Cameron?

Damian McGlinty:
That's actually an interesting question. There actually have been a few approaches actually for different things for me and Cameron. The way it is that we can't, as they say, "Don't anything at the minute," because you know, legal issues and the contract we signed with Glee and the Glee Project. There have been a few offers, which is interesting. And we're going to live here in LA. You know, we'll see what happens there could be partnership, but who knows.

Question:
When you started the show were you surprised by the amount of work that went into those numbers, and what that experience of rehearsing was like?

Lindsay Pearce:
I definitely wasn't surprised. You can't watch Glee and not think that they don't work their butts off, you know. But it was kind of awesome to kind of get the feel of what it would be like to work on the show and the blood, sweat and tears that kind of goes into it, definitely surreal.

Samuel Larsen:
I think at the beginning and obviously throughout the competition we knew it was a reality show to get on Glee. But I think after a while it just kind of felt like our own show. There's moments that it just felt like we were making our product as opposed to just try to get on someone else's. And I think that kind of translated into like the pride we took in songs and whatnot, so.

Damian McGlinty:
For me like I'm under no illusions, I know it's probably incredibly hard work on Glee. I do not believe for a split second, that you know, it's going to be as hard as what The Glee Project was. I really don't. I mean, four or five days was an episode on The Glee Project. Like four or five days. And like we had to learn the homework assignment, we had to learn the music video, Last Chance performances the pressure, dancing. Like I know Glee's going to be hard but I don't think it'll be that hard. I really don't believe that.

Alex Newell:
I can't imagine it being that hard. Like hours upon hours upon hours of filming and then trying to make a finished product out of - because we're filming everything and then we're - we're filming everything we're doing and then putting something on. They're just rehearsing the whole entire time and then putting on a finished product. But it's going to be the same, but not as hard as The Project was.

Damian McGlinty:
And they're going home to TVs, computers and phones.

Alex Newell:
Yes, they have constant connection with the outside world, whereas we didn't at all. Worth it though. I'm never going to say it wasn't worth it.

Damian McGlinty:
Oh yes, absolutely.

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