Tony Lowe/PR Photos
Sandra Gonzalez
August 11, 2011 AT 09:25 PM EDT

First we learned LaMarcus Tinker was taking his game from the football field to McKinley High as Mercedes’ new boyfriend, and now American Dreams alum Vanessa Lengies is headed to Glee as well, Fox confirms to EW.

I was thrilled when I heard Tinker was joining the cast, as he was a joy to watch on FNL for such a long time, but when I thought about him replacing Sam in Mercedes’ heart, my ticker twinged just a little. Oh, what could have been a lovely romance…

And now there’s another new cast member (plus, keep in mind, a yet-to-be-named newbie from the Glee Project). Lengies will play Sugar, a tone-deaf, wealthy new girl. There’s no telling where the character will go or whom she’ll slushie, but I can’t help but think the show is looking for a clean slate after this mess of a summer. (And, admit it, it’s been extremely jarring for a show to be more controversial while it was off the air than while it was on last fall.) This whole “back to basics” approach the showrunners have been talking about? It thrills me.

You can’t blame them for wanting to do away with all the bad juju. But here’s hoping these new characters aren’t going to be brought onto the cast only to fall victim to Sam Syndrome — meaning they have all the character potential in the world and nothing to do. (Am I still bitter? Yes, a little.) Let’s hope they do them right. I’d hate to fall in love with them only to have my TV heart broken again.

What do you think about the new characters, PopWatchers? Promising? And are you hopeful about the new season?

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