This week, Oxygen’s The Glee Project welcomes Kevin McHale, who of course plays Artie on Glee, to mentor the remaining contestants. Their lesson this week? “Adaptability,” which required the contestants to think on their feet. EW spoke to McHale about tonight’s episode — and didn’t hesitate to grill him for scoop on season 4 and even his thoughts on a Quinn/Artie romance.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Your theme is adaptability. What song did they have to do?
KEVIN MCHALE: They had to do Alanis Morissette… What Alanis Morissette song was it? The one about [oral sex] in a theater.
“You Oughta Know?”
“You Oughta Know” — that’s what I thought! My intention was to be as cruel as possible to them.
That doesn’t really sound like you.
Well, when it comes to those things like music I can be very blunt. I was like, “I’m gonna go all Simon on this and they’re gonna have to deal with it.” But when I got there and they told me what the assignment was and what they had to do, I felt so bad because if I was in their shoes I’d be crying. Like I wouldn’t know what to do.
So what does “adaptability” mean in terms of this show?
The whole show is about learning a whole new different genre of music that you’re gonna have to sing or dance to, or do a comedic scene next to a crazy dramatic scene. The show makes you do a lot. It takes a lot. Your learning curve has to be exceptional.
So they were told that they were going to learn the song and there wouldn’t be any choreography. So they performed all that for me, but the actual assignment is that you each have to sing the full song to me and you can’t look at the lyrics. It’s not like that song is easy. It’s a lot of fast singing. It was crazy.
I’m impressed with this crop of kids though.
Yeah, they’re talented. They’re fighters. They’re not just there to be on TV. They really love it. The 10 I met were great.
Ali, one of the contestants, is in a wheelchair and I’m sure Artie means a lot to her. Did you have any interaction with her?
There wasn’t really an opportunity for that. But she was just so brilliant. Her talent alone was just remarkable regardless if she’s in a wheelchair or not. She was just phenomenal.
How does it feel going into season 4 knowing that some of your castmates have graduated?
Um, I don’t know. We still don’t know exactly how everybody will work and the format of everything. I don’t think anybody’s not gonna be on it in some capacity. We’ll see what happens. It’s exciting and these are my best friends — we’re a family now. I prefer them there, but the show’s gotta go where the show’s gotta go. If I don’t see them everyday, I still talk to them outside of it.
Were you disappointed there wasn’t a Quinn/Artie romance? I thought that’s where it was going.
So did I. I was hoping for it. Before the third season, I kept doing it as a joke. I was like, “Quinn and Artie — let’s make that happen.” I never get scenes with Dianna and I was really excited.
Damn that Samuel Larsen!
I know. Damn you and your dreadlocks.
How did you feel about The Glee Project contestants working into the show this year? Was it a success?
I think it was. It was natural to have new people on it anyways, and I guess that’s the whole point of it because people are going to graduate and people are going to move on. I got really close with Damian because Sam came on later. It was just great. They were both super nice and worked hard.
Do you know anything about Artie next year? Is he gonna rule the school?
Well, if I wrote it, yes. I would be in every scene and sing every song. No, I don’t really know yet. Because the format is going to be a little different obviously. It’s like doing a new show, but you have to keep what made the show what it is so it’s definitely a balancing act.
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