Last night’s episode of The Glee Project focused on sexuality, which naturally brought its own share of drama. Charlie got called out for flirting with Aylin, and Michael got lost in his own head and wound up forgetting the lyrics. But at the end of the hour, it was 21-year-old Florida native Tyler Ford whose Glee journey came to an end.
Tyler spoke with EW about making friends, his struggles with displaying sexuality, and why he decided to audition for The Glee Project less than a year after transitioning from being a woman.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you see the episode last night?
TYLER FORD: Of course. I watched it with Abraham, as usual. [We didn’t know each other before the show but] we live together now.
You mentioned last night that the whole sexuality thing was kind of new to you. What did you think when you heard this week’s theme was sexuality?
I was definitely nervous, because I’m not the typical… we have Blake and Michael who are more the typical American dream. Meanwhile, I’m over here, like 5’ 4” transgender weird kid, so it’s definitely like, ‘How am I going to stack up against these other people?’ And I’m definitely not typically sexy in a way that a lot of people are. I’m not overt about it. I’m interested in people’s brains, and how they work. Are they creative? Are they funny? And the most important thing, do I have a connection with them? So I was definitely worried about how to pull sexuality out of thin air and channel it in ways that I don’t even channel it in my life.
You were in the bottom three a couple of times before, but the judges always seemed to love you and give you another chance. What do you think happened this week?
Honestly, I don’t know, because I thought it was my best week so far. [Laughs] I was definitely surprised when I was in the bottom. Robert said that I was kind of fading away, and I didn’t see that. Obviously, I can’t see it from the outside perspective, so I had no idea. I was trying my best to stay in character the whole video shoot, and I was having a great time and I thought I was doing a great job, but apparently not.
It seemed like other contestants had more obvious mistakes this week, like with Michael messing up the lyrics. Viewers didn’t see you particularly struggle this week.
Yeah, I didn’t see it [either].
Can you tell me a little bit about your audition process?
I decided to audition because I love performing so I’ve always wanted to do that as my career, and The Glee Project came along and the audition was five minutes from my school, so why not? I hadn’t seen The Glee Project before, but I did know I wanted to be on Glee. I went to the open call in Nashville and waited for four hours with like 500 other people and got to Robert. It’s crazy to think this all happened because of an open call.
Were you concerned at all timing-wise after going through so much stuff recently in your personal life?
I’ve always known this is what I wanted to do, puberty aside. I’ve been working for this my whole life and even though I’m kind of starting from scratch [this year] because I’ve been transitioning, it’s always been what I wanted to do.
What was your favorite part of The Glee Project experience?
I really loved working with the mentors and getting feedback and improving as both a person and a performer. I’m very much about personal growth and always being better than myself. And I also really loved being surrounded by so many supportive people who have the same dreams as I do. We’re all in the same boat, starting our careers and going after the same thing. And it’s just an experience that could never be described accurately to someone who wasn’t immersed in in. Everything is amazing. Stressful, but amazing.
What’s next for you?
I don’t know yet. Obviously, I’m going to keep on keeping on, singing and pursuing my career. My first goal is to be on the Ellen show — I love Ellen. And really keep on doing my thing, writing and collaborating and making lots of music.
Dream scenario: Do you want to be a musical theater performer, or go into more strictly singing?
I’m interested in every aspect of performing and music. I want to sing. My dream has always been to have a record deal and go on a world tour. I definitely want to improve my voice because I’m only one year on testosterone, so it’s still doing its thing. I also want to get into speaking, and sharing my story and [helping] a lot of people. As long as I get to help people and do what I love, that’s what I want.