By Lanford Beard
Updated November 15, 2011 at 06:56 PM EST
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Tonight’s episode of Glee is going to be “quite a big episode for Rory” Flanagan, said Damian McGinty, the winner of The Glee Project who plays Glee‘s own Irish exchange student. Before this past weekend’s auditions for season 2 of The Glee Project, McGinty sat down with EW to preview tonight episode, “Mash Off,” and share what’s to come for the rest of the season. See what he had to say after the jump.

We already offered a sneak peek of tonight’s amazing mash-up of Adele’s “Rumour Has It” and “Someone Like You” last week, but that number is just one piece of the puzzle, said McGinty. The episode centers around a competition between the New Directions and Shelby Corcoran’s ever-growing girl group, the Troubletones. According to McGinty, “Finn kind of [enlists Rory] to lead the New Directions in the mash-up competition, so it’s kind of like a duet between Finn and Rory.” It’s a chance for the crooning Irishman to prove himself to Finn and the New Directions before Sectionals, explains McGinty: “Rory’s getting this opportunity because… Finn said, ‘This is a good chance to give Rory a solo to get him ready for when the big time comes.'”

Elsewhere, Santana fans will be happy to know that the drama doesn’t end with the singing. “There’s an interesting storyline between Finn and Santana,” teased McGinty. “Rory’s trying to be Finn’s right-hand man” through the drama, and he’s “shocked watching it all.” Added McGinty, “It’s quite a big growing-up episode for Rory.”

He also spilled that there’s a great number from Hall & Oates, though he kept mum on which of the ’80s icons’ hits would make it to air. Could it be the Santana-appropriate “Maneater,” an upbeat tune like “You Make My Dreams,” or something sultrier, à la “Private Eyes”? Place your bets, Gleeks!

As for the rest of the season, McGinty revealed that Glee is in the midst of filming both the Christmas and Sectionals episodes, which will be his fifth and sixth. Since he won seven episodes on The Glee Project, it looks like we’ll be seeing more Rory in 2012. “My end goal with Glee is to get a full-time role,” said McGinty. If he does get picked up for more episodes, he might even cross paths with fellow winner Samuel Larsen, whose seven-episode arc begins around episode 11.

If, however, the new year sees Rory leaving McKinley and heading back to Ireland, McGinty plans to “keep chasing my dream,” which will eventually include recording an album. For now, he says, “The whole thing has been a whirlwind. I could do this forever, I really could. I’m not expecting anything. I’m just going with it, seeing what happens, and having the time of my life.”

Are you excited to see more of Rory tonight, Gleeks? Are you hoping Glee‘s Powers That Be will extend McGinty’s contract? What about tonight’s drama between Finn and Santana? She did compare him to “a sweaty, out-of-breath sack of potatoes that someone soaked in body spray” last week, and them’s fightin’ words. Who do you think will win the mash off between New Directions and the Troubletones?

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