'The Glee Project' scoop: Meet the season 2 contestants -- EXCLUSIVE

Andrew Eccles/Oxygen Media

One of the best new reality shows from last year, The Glee Project, is returning for a second season this summer. The series, which grants the winner of an arc on Glee, saw two victors from last year, Samuel Larsen and Damian McGinty, who both have since appeared on the Fox hit. Once again, Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy will evaluate the contestants along with the series casting director Robert Ulrich and choreographer/co-producer Zach Woodlee. Plus, vocal coach Nikki Anders will now officially join the judging panel.

This year, a new crop of singer/actor hopefuls are headed to the Oxygen series and EW has the EXCLUSIVE cast reveal. The Glee Project‘s inspiring 14 contestants includes a 24-year-old paralyzed from the waist down, a transgender 21-year-old, and another 24-year-old who’s been blind since the age of 9. Meet the rest of the hopefuls after the jump…

The Girls
Dani
Age: 23
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.Dani has been performing since she completed her very first talent competition in fifth grade and won second place.  At age 16, after attending a theatre magnet program in high school, she started teaching herself how to play the guitar and write original songs, and has since written and independently released four albums and two singles. Dani made it on to the Top 48 of America’s Got Talent season six last year (2011), and gained a devoted following of online fans from doing so.  She loves to mix up her acts with bits of comedy, rap, and audience participation. With such an independent attitude, Dani has expressed that she would want to play an androgynous female who bravely walks away from her Mormon upbringing if she ever got the opportunity to be on Glee. Dani originally auditioned for The Glee Project at the Nashville open casting call.

Nellie
Age: 19
Hometown: Tacoma, Wash.

Nellie has been performing for eight years and is a vocalist for a local swing band – the youngest member by 20 years. Aside from singing, she also plays piano and guitar, and she writes her own original songs. She works as a barista and her favorite performance space is in a small, cozy coffee shop. Nellie has a strong love for the arts, especially photography, and can often be seen at photo shoots on her weekends off. Nellie was discovered for The Glee Project through an online video submission.

Aylin
Age: 19
Hometown: Chicago
Aylin has been an active singer for the past 10 years. She started the first female a cappella group at Loyola Academy, and is now currently a student at Roosevelt University majoring in vocal jazz performance at their music conservatory. Aylin comes from a very traditional Turkish family and, being Muslim, she has had trouble balancing who she is with who her family expects her to be. She constantly pushes those cultural boundaries in her life and music. Aylin originally auditioned for The Glee Project at the Chicago open casting call.

NEXT: Four more girls

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