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September 1, 2014

'The Glee Project' Judge Zach Woodlee Is Looking for the 'It Factor'

by Rae Votta, posted Jun 17th 2011 2:00PM
Zach WoodleeWhen 'The Glee Project' premiered last week on Oxygen, the 12 hopefuls were thrown head first into the hectic world of 'Glee.' The contestants' first task was to prepare a big song and dance number for the judges, with Zach Woodlee, 'The Glee Project' (and 'Glee') choreographer, on hand to guide them through the preparations. We caught up with Woodlee to talk about working with the new crew of hopefuls and what we can expect from the reality show.

The choreographer told AOL TV that dancing is just as much a part of the total package he and his fellow judges -- casting director Robert Ulrich and vocal coach Nikki Anders -- are searching for as singing and acting.

"It's not just the best voices that make it through, it's 'it' factor," Woodee said. "We had phenomenal dancers who had voices that were up to par, but a lack of vulnerability. We need someone who views want to keep watching through the journey."

Once the cast was assembled, Woodee had to work with them to get their moves up to speed and gel the entire group into a unit, something he said they have had years to work on for 'Glee' but just days for the reality show.

"The guys [on 'Glee'] are now adequate in knowing their bodies, but the contenders are just now getting comfortable in their own skin," Woodlee said, noting that the guys in general have more difficulty moving than the girls. One contestant, Damian, who was in the bottom three last week, was outspoken about wanting to hide during dance numbers.

"I had to explain that with cameras you can't hide!" Woodlee laughed. "The whole dancing aspect was more of a shock to the scripted cast, but the contenders have been aware of what they're signing up for. I was surprised when male contestants were surprised -- don't you know what you're getting yourself into?"


While Woodlee was tight-tipped about what kind of character he says will eventually be cast on the show, he did note that as the season progresses, 'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy gets more vocal about what he envisions for the contestants.

"Ryan does become vocal about who he sees the contenders as, what kind of flavor he wants more of and starts to cultivate them into characters as the show goes on," Woodlee admitted. "In turn each of the contenders starts to communicate to Ryan 'I'm the type you don't have.'"

Even when pressed to give his personal take on what character he'd like to see on 'Glee,' Woodlee diplomatically said he can't pick anyone. "We have so many colorful characters on 'Glee,' I don't know what we'd be missing."

While the show faced low ratings in its first week, Woodlee said the appeal of the show is watching the contestants "going on such a journey" to the eventual spot on the scripted series.

'The Glee Project' airs Sundays at 9PM ET on Oxygen.

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