'Glee Project' exit Q&A: 'The pressure took a toll on all of us'

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Image Credit: Andrew Eccles/Oxygen

Is there anything more Glee-esque than a slushie? Last night’s Glee Project  treated the remaining contestants to slushies in the face for “Fearlessness” week. In addition, the whole gang filmed in bathing suits and had some drama in the recording studio.

For 23-year-old Charlie Lubeck, last night also meant the end of his Glee journey after being in the bottom three for the fourth time. Lubeck talked to EW today about his romance with fellow contestant Aylin, disagreeing with the judges and what an ice-cold slushie in the face feels like.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me about getting hit in the face with slushies.
CHARLIE LUBECK: Well, it’s funny. Being slushied once per take, is actually pretty easy. It’s cold for a second, it’s sort of like fighting a revolution. You’ve got the gun, you shoot, then you’ve got a minute where you’re reloading and getting ready, so you have time to collect yourself. And the thing that actually hurts more is the thing in the episode with Ali, with people throwing a bunch at once, we all had to go through that, and it was probably one of the worst things I’ve ever felt in my life. It presses down on you, it freezes you from the outside in and you can’t breathe. It’s pain and sadness, really.

They’re hazing you guys!
Yeah, you could say that. [Laughs] Man, it was rough. We actually had a joke going around that week. Our song was “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” so one of the jokes we had going around was “Hit Me With Some Work Comp.” That was our joke, even though we didn’t actually receive workers’ comp. [Laughs]

Robert seemed to disagree with some of your acting choices in the video shoot.
Well, I don’t think he disagreed with my acting choices. He went up to me and said he didn’t like my approach to it. I said OK. I took what he said into consideration and I think the acting choices got better. I started out on the wrong foot, but one of the things I’ve tried to maintain from my time on the show was I should be as coachable as possible. I don’t think I ever got a big ego or attitude about it.

It seemed like you guys get so much thrown at you, you’re adjusting to one criticism and then get something else thrown at you right away.
Yeah, that’s very much the case. Because here’s the thing, any one of the 14 of us would absolutely shine on the scripted series itself. Because in that kind of environment it really is a working environment. What happens behind the scenes stays behind the scenes and when you’re on set and working, you have the freedom to approach the director and ask them questions without the fear that you’re going to lose your job for doing so. The pressure took a toll on all of us…. And not only that, but when you leave work there are cameras following you and you’re evaluated for how you handle yourself in the privacy of your own home….I have no regrets about anything I said or did there, it was a wonderful experience.

Speaking of behind the scenes, what was going on with you and Aylin?
During the show was just as undefined and weird and unable to be labeled as now. I do know that she’s a wonderful person: She’s strong and confident and in many ways complements the areas in my life where I may be lacking perception. And I think sometimes I can do good things for her too…. Do I know whether or not we’ll be in a long-term relationship or anything like that? I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow, much less what this thing with Aylin is. But I know she’s going to be in my life for a long time, whether it’s as a friend or something more.

So you guys are keeping in contact?
Oh yeah, I saw her like last week. We talk all the time. It was definitely not just like an on-screen fabricated thing. But the thing is, all 14 of us have kept in close contact. We text each other all the time, and the majority of us are already out here in L.A. I went with Blake and Abraham and Nellie and like Hannah and Lindsay from season one roller skating the other day. We go bowling all the time. For all the quirkiness that it implies, we’re a family. And that’s not going to change anytime soon.

When you found out you were in the bottom three, you chose to do a risky performance of “It’s Not Unusual,” going into the audience and singing next to the judges. What was the thought process behind that?
That decision was like every decision I made: I’m going to do what I do, and if you hate it, I’m going to do my best to make you like it; If you like it, I will try to give you more. This was the fourth time I’d been in the bottom three, and the only other contender who’d been in the bottom three that many times was Alex from season one. I just knew if I had any chance at all of staying, I had to swing for the bleachers. I had to be fearless, and I think it came across this week. And I think if there’s anybody who’s been fearless to the point of reckless endangerment it was probably me. [Laughs] I left on such a positive note though; the fans have been so good.

What’s next for you? What’s the dream?
I used to have this idea of the dream, and now it’s not as clear anymore. I’m starting to realize that most people with the best careers, they’re doing it as they go along. I think it’s the same for me. I think I’ve shown over my time on the show I’m a versatile performer, and I can make something happen for myself, given the right work ethic and the willingness to do everything it takes. … [If I had just had a regular audition for Glee, I would have probably not heard anything] just because in this industry even if they like you, nine times out of 10 they still don’t call you back. Instead, I got to have my personal journey and the things that make me “me” on nationally syndicated television with overwhelming fan and critical response for six weeks in a row. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Read more:
The Glee Project’ exit Q&A: ‘I am not the villain’
‘The Glee Project’: Kevin McHale talks tonight’s episode and season 4 of ‘Glee’
‘The Glee Project’ exit Q&A: ‘I was worried about how to pull sexuality out of thin air’

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