2:48pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee's' Cory Monteith Talks 'The Glee Project's' Anti-Bullying Episode
The Glee Project Season 2 contestants will tackle an issue near and dear to the Fox dramedy Tuesday during an anti-bullying episode tied to this week's theme: Vulnerability.
During the hour, Glee's Cory Monteith will mentor the remaining contestants on the Oxygen reality series that will award one winner a seven-episode arc on the Fox series and encourage them to really commit as they take on an issue that's become part of Glee's pedigree.
"Glee has always advocated for things like this and anti-bullying is close to a lot of the people's hearts who run, produce and star in the show, myself and [co-creator] Ryan Murphy included," Monteith tells The Hollywood Reporter.
After featuring multiple story lines in which various characters experience bullying on the Fox flagship, Monteith says the change in the Oxygen series' Vulnerability episode will only help put the spotlight on an issue that impacts kids across the country.
"It's high on everyone's priority list to lend our support to make people more aware that this is happening to real kids every day," he says.
As part of the episode, Oxygen Media is partnering with the Bully Project for an on-air PSA featuring Monteith and online campaign featuring LeAnn Rimes.
Last season's episode saw mentor Dot-Marie Jones (Coach Beiste) reveal her history of being called "sir" and picked on for her size and coaching the kids to use their own weaknesses to bring out a more relatable performance. Contestants were then tasked with walking around tourist spot Universal CityWalk with a sign exposing their deepest insecurity.
Monteith revealed that it's thankful that he's never had to do that but said at one point his sign would have been something that's been widely discussed since he was cast on Glee more than three years ago.
"Once upon a time, that sign would have said, 'I can't dance,' " says Monteith, who called Jones a "beacon of truth." "Glee has been very revelatory for me the past few years and the fact that now millions of people are watching me sing and dance every week is pretty crazy. I don't know what that sign would be now, but thank God I don't have to do that!"
As for his time spent mentoring, Monteith confessed to being surprised at how well the 11 remaining contenders handled the "incredible" pressure.
"I never had to perform under those circumstances," he says. "It's hard to come out swinging like that and show up like that in front of Finn Hudson."
As for his fellow mentors this season -- including Lea Michele, Naya Rivera and the upcoming turns from Chris Colfer, Amber Riley and Jane Lynch -- Monteith noted it was important for original cast members to join the Oxygen reality competition series as Glee continues to add fresh faces.
"It's really contributing to moving our show forward in the long run," he says. "We have a rare asset in The Glee Project in that we are able to bring new people on board who are truly qualified; we had a boon with [Season 1 winners Damian McGinty, Samuel Larsen, Lindsay Pearce and Alex Newell] so it makes sense to keep moving that forward. Plus it enriches their experience."
The Glee Project airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Oxygen. Watch a preview with Monteith, below.