TV review: The Glee Project; The Apprentice

Watching these young Glee hopefuls is almost enough to make you stop believin'

I like Glee. But I'm worried it's taking over the world. My world anyway. I don't just watch it, I live it. I go to Glee Live shows, and Glee Live 3D shows, I buy the music, my phone plays Don't Stop Believin' by Journey when it rings, I sing Don't Stop Believin' by Journey when I wake up in the morning, dancing on my bed, which has a Sue Sylvester duvet cover. What started as a TV show has turned into a global phenomenon. Now this: The Glee Project (Sky One).

It's a talent contest; the prize is a guest spot on the TV show. When it was announced, 18 billion teenagers immediately gave up their studies and started believin'. Me too, if I'm honest; I hoped they wouldn't notice my age on the online video I posted, but the call never come. I'm taking a lot of positives out of it though. Hey, you have to be positive; this is Glee. Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo (that's the Glee music).

The casting people are relentlessly positive about everyone. "I love him," they say. "She sounds spectacular"; "He's so special"; "She is the best"; "He's awesome". Really? And I'm thinking some of them are average at best, but what do I know? I also find myself missing Simon Cowell, a bit of British realism. Weird huh? But at least he tells it like it is.

They have actual casting sessions, where these kids get to turn up in the flesh, and they break into song in the queue, and dance spontaneously. "You're one of my favourite people, period," says Robert, the head of casting, to pretty much everyone. Not everyone can go to the next level, though, but even that isn't a problem. "People seem to have left feeling very satisfied whether they made it through to the final step or not," says Robert. That's brilliant, because you might have imagined that the ones who didn't make it would feel a bit down, dejected and rejected, their dreams of stardom shattered.

Twelve get to the final, where they are treated to some hands-on inspiration by some awesome people – choreographers and voice coaches and all that. It's all about individuality, they're told, of being who you are. Glee glorifies individuality, celebrates the underdog. But one more has to go. It comes down to three of them who have to do another song in front of big Glee jefe Ryan Murphy to see who he could most write for. Then the list goes up – not called back for the next show (there are 10 more): Ryan. It's not so much about Ryan's singing or dancing, it's more that he had some attitude problems when he was working with the choreographer. Perhaps he took the individuality thing a tiny bit too far. Everyone fits in to Glee then, except for Ryan. And someone else next week. Don't stop believin' though.

Yay, it's the restaurant round in The Apprentice (BBC2), takeaways this time. And what a gem of an episode. We're down to five, the very cream of this country's entrepreneurial youth, and a chance for them to show what they know.

Susan and Natasha's team opt for a Mexican theme and are brain(!)storming some ideas for names.

"Do you know much Mexican?" asks Natasha.

"Literally nothing," says Susan.

"Arriba, arriba, does that make sense?"


"It's a struggle, isn't it? It's difficult to think of Mexican names."

"They always have like el something, don't they? What does el mean?"

"I have no idea"

Yeah, what could el possibly mean? In the end they name their Mexican restaurant after the capital of Venezuela, with an apostrophe for good measure. Caraca's. Maybe I'll open a German restaurant, and call it Pari's.

Meanwhile Helen and Tom are going British, mini pies because ladies don't like big pies. They decide to name their pies after great figures in British history. Which ones though? "Was Byron the guy who was writing at the same time as Shakespeare?" asks Tom.

"Erm, there was, erm . . ." says Helen.

"Was Byron a vegetarian, do we know?"

Helen's not sure about that either.

"What about . . . we had all the explorers," says Tom. "We had William Drake."


"Christopher Columbus. Didn't Columbus discover the potato in America?"

"Yes he did!"

In the background Nick Brewer is doing his cat's-arse wince, to show he knows better. In the end they settle for the Drake, Nightingale (Annie?) and Columbus, after the well-known British potato discoverer.


Sam Wollaston

The GuardianTramp

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