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When Glee’s third season opens Tuesday, a familiar face from the Oxygen competition series The Glee Project will be seen — as a nemesis of sorts for Rachel.
[Warning: Spoilers up ahead.]
Glee co-creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy told reporters on Thursday that the “part had already been written” before it dawned on him that Lindsay Pearce, one of the four finalists on The Glee Project, could be a good fit for the part — a leader of another singing group.
“It was a little weird because we were shooting it before the final episode of The Glee Project aired, so we built that big conference hotel set on the stage and sort of cloaked her under a blanket — not actually, but we were nervous about that getting out,” Murphy says, “So we kept delaying it.” Added Murphy, “Once we thought of that, I made the number bigger.”
But the two winners, Damian McGinty and Sam Larsen, will be featured with major arcs. First up is McGinty and he’ll have a connection with Brittany (Heather Morris); the idea was first brought up by Murphy and company on The Glee Project.
“Damian comes in episode four, which Adam Shankman is directing, which we’re shooting right now,” Murphy says, adding that McGinty’s character is a sophomore. “He is a foreign exchange student who is shacking up with Brittany and she of course believes he is to be a leprechaun with magical powers.”
Murphy praised McGinty’s acting and singing ability. “On his first day, he was shoved into a locker 25 times, but without saying what the song is — his first take in his first song, the crew gave him a huge ovation. He did great with the acting,” he says.
The second winner, Larsen, will likely be introduced in “episode 10 or 11,” Murphy revealed, and he’ll “be a relative, I believe, of Puck (Mark Salling).”
Not to be forgotten, the other top four finalist Alex Newell, “will also be used sort of like Lindsay,” he shared, adding that he “will come in later” in the season.
But has Murphy considered expanding the runner-ups’ arcs from two episodes to possibly more?
“I have,” Murphy says of potentially seeing more Pearce, whose character will likely be seen at sectionals for her second episode. “One of my favorite moments in that episode, I love where she gets in Lea [Michele]’s face. I believe people would love to see catfights between them onscreen between Lea and Lindsay.”
When asked whether Cameron Mitchell, the competitor who quit The Glee Project in the seventh episode, could appear some time this season, Murphy said “not this year” but left the door open for next year.
Glee premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Fox with “The Purple Piano Project.”
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