July 18, 2012 1:49pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Glee Project's' Eliminated Contestant: 'I Was a Deer in Headlights'
Oxygen's The Glee Project eliminated one of its best and brightest contestants this week when Nellie Veitenheimer was sent home after struggling with her ability to show up in group performances.
After being given the same note for multiple weeks, the contestant was assigned to portray Britney Spears during this week's Theatricality theme in which she struggled yet again with her confidence, which came through in a somewhat subdued impersonation of the pop princess.
"I instantly thought of her more provocative videos where she's dressed as nothing and I was nervous again to be wearing next to nothing," Veitenheimer told reporters during a conference call Wednesday.
During Veitenheimer's last chance performance for Ryan Murphy, the Glee co-creator questioned whether or not she really wanted to win the seven-episode arc on the Fox series or if she was purely interested in being a performer. Veitenheimer struggled to come up with a suitable answer.
"I was a deer in headlights during part of that," she said. "I wasn't thinking about what character I'd play, I was trying to embrace what I was given. It's unfortunate I couldn't find the words to express myself in that situation."
"The comments they made were fair based on what they saw from me," she continued. "It showed me I hadn't been expressing myself well enough to show that I really wanted it. It was the most frustrating part of the exit; this is something that I wanted for a very long time -- I've been trying to audition for the showever since it was allowed."
The aspiring singer-songwriter-actress -- who noted she moved to L.A. to continue to pursue music and acting -- acknowledged her rapidly growing fan base, with her name trending on Twitter twice during the show's run, including after her exit Tuesday.
"I didn't realize that my story, because it's more broad, it would be as touching," she said. "The fact that I'm relatable has touched a lot of people and it's really amazing. I've been trending twice on Twitter, which is ridiculous. The fan response to me and what I represent has been really exciting and inspiring."
Veitenheimer -- who first ignited Twitter after a last-chance duet with Blake to "Waiting for a Girl Like You" -- said she had no immediate plans to follow up the viral performance with him, but is open to working with everyone from Season 2.
"I'm always writing; I have to figure out my game plan and my strategy for what I want to pursue. I want to do a little of both the next few years," she told THR.
Noting that she didn't realize Melissa Etheridge's "I'm the Only One" was a gay anthem when she sang it for Murphy and company as her last-chance performance, Veitenheimer said her only concern was to display her confidence.
"What I've taken from [The Glee Project] the most is a new level of confidence, reassuring myself that I am going to do this for awhile," she told reporters. "I want this to be part of my career. I'm always going to be pursuing music, it's my passion and I love writing."
While her chance of appearing on Glee may have been dashed, Veitenheimer ultimately seems to have heeded the judges' advice in the long run. "My comfort zone has been expanded to something it never would have been," she says.
Given the chance to respond to Murphy's questioning about who she could potentially play on Glee, Veitenheimer has it figured out now that she knows what she represents.
"A more introverted girl who has a lot to offer but has to be given that chance first," she says. "I'm not the person to stand on a table in the middle of the room and yell for what I want. [I'd play a] tomboy introverted character on Glee."
Do you think Nellie should have been sent home? Hit the comments with your thoughts on who should win.
The Glee Project airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Oxygen.