Well, Robert arrives to reveal this week's theme as if he's delivering some seriously heavy news - it's "vulnerability". Everyone immediately starts cheering and clapping, and Robert genuinely looks really confused at why they're happy about this. Anyway, homework time - Kelly Clarkson's 'My Life Would Suck Without You'!
Charlie's not impressed with the choice of song - "you can only be so vulnerable to a bass line that goes boom boom boom" - but Robert leaves the group to split up their lines and get to work. Easy, right? Except Mario and Michael have a minor disagreement about who gets to sing a certain line, and Lily and Aylin make things even more tense as they disagree. "She's getting on my nerves," Aylin grumbles, eventually conceding the battle and making Lily smile in triumph.
Before they perform, of course, Robert has to introduce this week's guest mentor - Cory Monteith, aka Finn Hudson! "Cory Monteith is a lot more attractive in person than I thought," Lily giggles. But Cory advises them all to tap into what makes them "feel uncomfortable" in an attempt to show the audience their vulnerability. They have to expose something important to them.
The actual performance is a little flat, but Robert describes it as "incredible". Still, Cory has some notes - Abraham's voice is great but he's reaching for the emotion; Lily has a great voice again but was bringing it to a "sexy place" with her hand gestures; Ali needs to push less (and Ali agrees, admitting that she struggles to tone things down because of her theater background.)
Cory praises Shanna's "truthful performance" but the winner of the challenge this week? It's Nellie! She seems genuinely surprised and bashful, which is kind of sweet ("I thought everyone else was doing a better job than me," she admits.) So she'll get one-on-one time with Cory and a stand-out moment in this week's music video... 'Everybody Hurts'!
The Bullies and the Bullied
There's no choreography this week (sorry Zach) - instead, Erik wants to put together some vignettes based on the contestants own experiences of bullying. Tyler admits that he felt kind of isolated as a "half black Jewish transperson", while Shanna admits that she was really bullied - a group of girls discovered her mother was involved in drugs, told her, and taunted her by calling her a "crack baby".
Elsewhere, Abraham admits that he was teased for his feminine attributes - though he's straight, he grew up with two women - while Blake reveals that he was bullied in junior high because he was "super skinny" and "short". But things get really emotional when he admits that when he was in high school he saw a kid getting bullied and wanted to help, but was too "weak" to do so. "I was so p*ssed off with myself," he admits sadly. "I want to be the guy I wish I had around when I was a kid."
But Lily reveals that she used to be a bully - she was the "queen bee". She admits that things changed when she watched Mean Girls and she called one of the girls she'd bullied to apologise. Blake suggests that her story is as strong as hearing about someone who was bullied. Erik's pleased anyway as he has lots of ideas for his video! "It's going to be intense," Aylin admits.
Nikki's back to lay down the vocals with the contestants, and she's pleased to begin with. We get to see Nellie's time with Cory, as she opens up and reveals that the day before had been the ten-year anniversary of the death of her sister. Cory advises her that she has to feel the emotions and it seems to work, because Nikki says Nellie's work is "awesome".
But it's not all going well - Ali struggles because she's so used to being professional and keeping things "positive and happy". With help from Nikki, though, she seems to manage to tap into something a bit sadder. Elsewhere, Mario finds the pitch difficult - Nikki says he's a "little flat" and asks if he's finding the emotion tough. But Mario says he doesn't think he is struggling in terms of the performance. Eek!
At least we end on a high with Aylin - after her vocals and after Aylin admits that she was called a "terrorist" a lot because she's a Muslim, Nikki reveals that she made her feel the emotion. Aylin's pleased and decides that she needs to stop putting up walls and acting like nothing bothers her.
Robert thinks this shoot is pretty difficult, as the contestants have to act (oh, and lip sync in slow motion. No biggie.) Nellie does well, but Robert wonders if the other contestants are overshadowing her in their roles as bullies! But Lily struggles more - she can't get the lip syncing right. And when she asks for the other people in the scene to be a bit quieter as they're distracting her, Zach does not look happy ("everything's not her fault").
Everyone's impressed with Blake's acting skills, though, and they agree that Michael's learning how to act really quickly too. But things get awkward in a scene with Mario. Charlie reasons that he has to find a way to "find joy" in being a bully, but when he decides to take Mario's stick without it being discussed beforehand, it doesn't go down well. Zach and Robert agree that it was scary (and could be dangerous), while Mario admits he was startled. Charlie's a bit worried now...
Still, Abraham does well, and when Lily's asked to be the bully she used to be, Robert and Zach are both convinced! "The kids rose to the occasion," Robert says. "Now it will be really telling whose emotions truly translated to the screen." Then we get to see the 'Everybody Hurts' video (which, um, includes Charlie taking Mario's stick)!
Last Chance Performances
Crunch time - who's going to have to perform for Ryan? Not Blake - the mentors unanimously agree that he "hit it out of the park", and he's been called back for next week. He's obviously pleased, as he feels like he's on the "right track" now! And he's soon joined by Abraham, Michael, Shanna, Aylin and Tyler. Shanna walks off with a happy sigh and her nose in the air. I think I love her.
We're down to Nellie, Lily, Ali, Mario and Charlie. Zach explains Nellie sounded amazing on the track, but needs to commit a little more and a teary Nellie admits that she always get embarrassed in improv situations because she doesn't want to make a fool of herself. "You have to feel like you can make a fool of yourself," Robert replies. "That's the whole thing." Nice.
Then it's on to Mario, and Nikki asks why he thinks he struggles with his pitch, but Mario replies: "I typically don't struggle with it." And when Nikki suggests that he needs to retrain his muscle memory, Mario replies: "That would suggest I'm not ready. I've been classically ready." Can we say awkward? Nikki tells the contestants that none of them is ready yet - this is a boot camp as well as a competition.
Let's just move on swiftly to who'll be coming back to perform for Ryan - Lily (singing Duffy's 'Mercy'), Mario (singing 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow') and Charlie (singing 'Fix You' by Coldplay). Charlie thinks that's a great song to perform right now as he feels a "little bit broken", while Mario admits it would be an understatement to say he's shaking in his boots. And Lily is upset - she thinks she did well in the group number but the mentors didn't see it.
So who's going home? Ryan thinks it was the "most intense bottom three ever", but he soon comes to a decision. Backstage, though, Mario's rubbing the other contestants the wrong way by saying that he thinks other people were off pitch than he was. "I love you Mario, but that comment was totally unnecessary," Aylin tells him. Mario suggests that his feelings are never taken into account, while Aylin says he never listens to them. And Lily suggests that she's the same - things they say come off differently from what they mean. But Mario says he's "offended" that what he's said has been misunderstood! Yikes...
The Call Back List
Robert puts on his serious face to pin up the call back list, and it's time for the contestants to discover their fate (as they walk towards it, obviously they talk about how much they want it.) Charlie's safe... and so's Lily! Mario drops his stick on the floor and looks upset... but wait! He's through too! Yes, no-one's going home this week. What a nice way to end this episode... but let's wait and see what happens next week!
The Glee Project airs Tuesdays on Oxygen.