Photo Credit: Courtesy of Oxygen
Three weeks ago, Glee creator Ryan Murphy hinted at who had won season 2 of The Glee Project. "The person that we ended up picking is not who you would expect," he said, ever-cryptically. "The person who wins is not necessarily the best singer or the best dancer. It’s the person who can serve Glee best."
On Tuesday night, the person who won Oxygen's reality show was revealed to be…Blake Jenner, the 19-year-old Floridian who's been called a ringer (and thus possible replacement) for Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith). The heartthrob bested Aylin Bayramoglu and Ali Stroker to take over the jock-sized space in the New Directions rehearsal room, which he'll fill for at least seven episodes during season 4 (which returns Thursday, Sept. 13, at 9 p.m. on Fox).
Check out this clip from episode 5 where he's practicing for a duet he sings with fellow contestant Nellie, and you'll see the likeness between him and Monteith:
And did we mention that Jenner is the sensitive type? The underdog -- who told Entertainment Weekly that he was "so excited and so thankful" about his win -- delivered his last-chance performance during the finale and followed it up with a poem -- awww! "I just figured it was my last chance to show what I hadn't shown yet," Jenner told EW. "I just wanted to show my poetic side."
Just before Jenner -- who TVLine's Michael Slezak calls, "the competition's second most consistent-player" -- was revealed as the victor, Murphy cleverly rustled up some excitement with this tweet: "Who will win THE GLEE PROJECT 2? Writing such a great role for the winner! And just wait until you see who they are dating..."
Jenner himself has a girlfriend -- click here for a photo of the couple -- so Murphy's obviously referring to his character's love life.
Glee's producers will fill out the New Directions (a complete glee club at McKinley is 12 kids) with new hires and possibly some of last year's Glee Project winners. Though Damian McGinty's character, Irish exchange student Rory Flanagan, isn't set to return, co-creator Brad Fulchuk has hinted that some of the other season 1 winners might. "We're talking about some of the Glee Project kids from last year," he told Zap2it. "We love Alex [Newell] and we love Samuel [Larsen], but there are no guarantees about that."
He didn't mention Lindsey Pearce, The Glee Project season 1 runner-up who appeared in two Glee episodes last season (as the lead singer of a rival show choir). But Pearce has also been busy with lots of theater work since her season ended. Fact is, success on The Glee Project has worked out quite well for several people. Jenner's one lucky -- and of course talented -- guy!