June 05, 2012 8:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Glee Project' Season 2 Premiere: Who's the Early Favorite?
[Warning: Spoilers ahead.]
Oxygen's The Glee Project returned with its second season Tuesday with 14 wannabe Gleeks vying for a role on Fox's flagship series.
While the format is the same, the series has grown to feature two additional contestants, with 13 singers to be eliminated in 11 episodes -- also up one from last year.
Here are five highlights from Tuesday's premiere, which featured guest mentor Lea Michele overseeing an "Individuality" theme.
1. After all four Season 1 finalists -- Damian McGinty, Samuel Larsen, Alex Newell and Lindsay Pearce -- earned roles on Glee last season,co-creator (and Glee Project exec producer) Ryan Murphy vows there won't be multiple winners. "This year is going to be much, much, much harder because we're only choosing one person," he says.
2. The homework song is Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," with Michele impressed by former America's Got Talent contestant -- and early fan favorite -- Dani but encouraged her to let more of her individuality seep through in her performance. Ultimately she picked the very humble and sweet Shanna as the winner.
3. The group video was White Snake's "Here I Go Again," that saw several contestants flounder during rehearsals. Among them: transgender contestant Tyler, who struggled with dance as he continues to adjust to his new body; and Taryn feeling insecure as she's overcome by nerves and turning in a lackluster performance in the recording studio and newcomer Maxfield practically vanish behind the microphone.
4. Homework winner Shanna, meanwhile, blew vocal coach Nikki Anders' socks off and has the early front-runner status going into Week 2. She also ranked first on casting director Robert Ulrich's call-back list.
5. The bottom three: Aylin, who lost her personality during the music video, Maxfield and Tyler were tasked with last-chance performances in front of Murphy, Ulrich, choreographer Zach Woodlee and Anders nearly sending both Tyler and Maxfield home. Murphy put it bluntly that he wasn't terribly impressed by Tyler's vocal skills and narrowly sent both Tyler and Maxfield home. Ultimately, though, Maxfield didn't prove interesting enough earn a call-back.
What do you think of the new Glee Project contestants? Hit the comments with who your favorites are. Would you have voted to send Maxfield home? The Glee Project airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Oxygen.