Last night, Glee Project judge and executive producer Ryan Murphy surprised everyone, including the contestants, by announcing that there were TWO winners of the reality competition: Samuel Larsen, 19, and Damian McGinty, 18 both won seven-episode arcs this season on Fox’s hit series. But Murphy wasn’t done with the twists: runners-up Lindsay Pearce, 20, and Alex Newell, 18, would ALSO receive two-episode arcs during Glee’s third season. Says McGinty, “For the four of us, it’s an amazing feeling knowing that as a group and as a unit we have all basically got ourselves a part on Glee. So in many ways all four of us won at this point.”
EW talked to Larsen and McGinty about their big wins last night.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Take me through being named the winners last night.
SAMUEL LARSEN: I think the best way to describe it is I basically forgot how to function as a human being. It felt like I was floating or something. I was flipping out! It felt like I couldn’t do anything.
DAMIAN MCGINTY: Ryan said great things about us. But then he said,” Samuel, you’ve won The Glee Project.” For me, it was very much a sinking feeling.
My heart sunk. I felt like I got so close but I was a million miles away. But I congratulated Samuel because he deserved it and he worked hard for it and he was consistent. But then Ryan turned around and said, “Well Damian you don’t have to worry because you also won.” Seeing my reaction, I nearly killed myself. I nearly hit my head off of a piano. It was just ridiculous.
What made you both choose your respective songs, “Jolene” and “Beyond the Sea?”
SL: I remember being 11 or 12 and seeing a video of Jack White sing that song and I remember thinking, ‘Whoa I totally forgot this song was from the point of view of a woman. I totally forgot it was a Dolly Parton song. I totally forgot it was a country song.’ I knew if I could get close to that kind of performance for Ryan that it would be risky but I might be working with something. It’s a great tune.
DM: I wanted a song that was lively. Ryan told me that he had seen me as a lead man so I wanted to show him I could own the stage. I wanted to show him that I was strong and a good performer and that I could have fun.
Damian, you dedicated your performance to your fellow contestants Hannah and Cameron. Why?
DM: We just had such a great friendship, the three of us. We really bonded. There were times when we really pulled each other through because it got quite hard. I didn’t plan it. It was in the heat of the moment. It just felt like the right thing to do.
Damian, last night Ian Brennan said you were kind of an old man trapped in a young guy’s body. Do you think that’s true?
DM: [Laughs] I have been told that for being 18 I look very young, but I am quite mature. Being with the group Celtic Thunder and touring since the age of 14, you don’t really have a choice but to grow up quicker. You’re touring the world at such a young age and you don’t have your family with you. So it doesn’t give you much leeway to kind of be a kid. So I just had to grow up quicker.
Have you heard anything about your characters?
SL: I mean every time we’d go sing for Ryan he would kind of spitball at us any ideas he had. But nothing is set in stone. Ryan is a very busy guy. He has created an entire empire of the greatest show ever so I’m not worried it’s going to suck or anything.
For more with the winners of The Glee Project, including what type of character they’d like to play on Glee, pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, Aug. 26.
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