How It’s New York:  Celtic Thunder is playing New York’s Beacon Theatre on September 24!  Get tickets here.   If you’re tristate, not NYC, you’re in luck:  there are dates in the tristate area that week.  Check the tour schedule here!  OK but… Damian won’t be there, you say?  It’s true, I just realized that myself.  But it’s where he got his start, and it shows support to go anyway.  Who knows, maybe he’ll get up and do an encore.  Anything could happen!

How It’s Irish:  Damian McGinty is from Northern Ireland, and sometimes has to be subtitled on the show.

“Damian has come so far and he is so lovable.  Will it be enough?”

“Nobody’s that nice in Hollywood.”

“Maybe they are in Ireland.”

Ok, Thunderheads and Gleeks.  By now you know that 18-year old Damian won The Glee Project.  He didn’t win alone, and he didn’t win first, but he WON.    I finally watched the episode and I do have to say, he gave the best performances of the season tonight– hew as ON, he was real, he was happy, and boy he was indeed lovable.  Is there a woman out there who doesn’t want to pat his head and give him a cookie?  Or a girl who doesn’t heart him?

If you missed the epi, you can watch it on The Glee Project site.

Here’s what he had to say:

 “After the start I had in the competition, I really struggled and struggled to fit in. I fought and I battled. Everyone expected me to go home and I turned it around. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine this happening. I mean, I have always wanted to reach the top, but there are millions of other people in the world who want to be there too… so I don’t understand how I have struck so lucky. I have just won a role on Glee, the biggest TV show in the world. It is a HUGE step in my bid to be a successful recording artist. I am joining such a massive force. I feel honored, I feel amazed, I just feel incredible,” says Damian.

Below is my recap and analysis of the Finale.  But before I do– WATCH THIS SPACE for an exclusive interview with Damian, who will also be on an upcoming podcast.  If you have never listened to a New York Irish Arts podcast,  you’re missing out!  You can subscribe on Itunes or download them here.


Kevin May from Guggenheim Grotto (a Dublin folk-rock duo, with Mick Lynch) talks about moving to Brooklyn and songwriting (they’re playing at New York Irish Center August 27); Maire Clerkin insists that Irish Dance is as rich as any other form, following her New York fringe production of The Bad Arm:  Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer; Brendan Gleeson  and Don Cheadle talk about their roles in the fab film The Guard.   Tune of the week, from The Guard, from CalexicoThe score is available now from Itunes!

But now– Damian on The Glee Project!

The final four laugh when they see the final song will be “Don’t Stop Believing.”
They all give talking heads about how they want to win.  Damian talks more about how close they are and how he wants it.  He doesn’t say the word “win.”

The guest is Ryan Murphy.  “Oh for god’s sake,” Damian says, while the others pretened to be thrilled.  You hardly ever see Damian show annoyance, so it’s really kind of fun.  And you know what? It’s got to be more sincere than the other three working hard to show delight.

What is it with judges being guests?  Last week Nina Garcia was the client on Project Runway.   And on Master Chef they had to cook for– ta dah– Gordon Ramsay.  I mean seriously, it’s really silly.

Damian opens the song.  And Ryan stops them immediately to ask if they worked on choreography or movement.  It seems flat, he says.  Damian looks crushed.  Ryan goes to get them some help and brings in the rest of the kids.    They’re all wearing red too.  Kind of cute fakeout.  It’s also a reality show cliche to bring on past contenders, but at least in this case it makes sense, since they can sing in the chorus and appear in the video.

Cameron says as a talking head he ahs some “hesitance to be here.”  That is not a word.  I know he is popular, but shut up, Cameron.

Damian is really happy to see Hannah and Cameron.  We see him giving Hannah a big hug.   “The threesome’s back together,” he says.  They put up subtitles for him again.

So now they are singing with the rest of the kids doing backup.  Marissa, in a red tube top, looks amazing.  I have to say Damian is all kinds of adorable in that letter sweater they put him in, with his pink cheeks.   “That was awesome,”: Damian says as soon as it ends.  He couldn’t stop himself!  I have never seen him look so UN-selfconscious, happy and real.

“That was amazing, and pretty awesome,” Ryan says. When someone mirrors your words back at you, it means they’re into you, so this is Good For Damian.  There won’t be any homework  winner today, but just a final Glee Project group number.  All  12 of them will be going to the top of a skyscraper to perform Pink’s “Raise Your Glass.”  It  is all a last chance performance, Casting Director Robert Ulrich says.  Ryan tells them to be vulnerable, emotional and inspirational.  And they get to choose their own song in their final performance.

So we see the kids in the booth, singing for Nikki.  Damian sings with a lot of conviction and Nikki says “nice, well well well.”  He sounded like he was having fun, he’s dropped the need to please, and boy rocks out!  Whoo!   Damian says “I’m having the best time of my life, you know that?,” and Nikki says he’s making her have it too.  “Thanks guys, cheers!” he says.   “Nobody’s that nice in Hollywood,” says someone there, maybe her husband Adam, who is the executive music producer of glee, and Nikki answers, “but maybe they are in Ireland.”  Heh.

Samuel warns Alex that he got cricized for the “come on in,” and Alex snarks “maybe it was just you.”  But he clearly took the note, because in the booth Adam tells him he did them better than anyone else today.  Oh Alex.  That defensive put-down thing?  It’s ugly.

Man, they are on top of a skyscraper on a helipad and it is damn scary up there.  Watching them jump around I am getting butterflies!  Nikki, Zach and Robert discuss the final 4 and their weaknesses. Damian has come so far and he is so lovable.  Will it be enough?

Damian looks happier and more believable in this too than he ever has before.  Part of it is I think he’s really relating to others.  In the booth I think he was still happy because his pals were back.  In the long shot I can see that the helipad isn’t really at the edg and there are guardrails and I feel a little better.
It’s a great number.  I am distracted from time to time by the awesomeness that is Marissa.  And the cuteness that is Hannah.  This video is realty making me smile.  I’m going to rewind and watch it again.  When marissa flips her hair she looks like an Irish setter in teenage form.
After the video, the Final Four talk about their nerves.  “Tomorrow I have to bring it.”  There’s another shot of him hugging Hannah.  Did he hug anybody else?  He walks off with his arm around her.

Before they announce their songs, Robert gives them a “pep talk” which could be renamed an “intimidation talk.”  He tells them there were 40,00 auditions, then down to 12, and now it all comes down to the 4 of them.  One of them will win a 7 episode starring role on Season 3 of Glee.  Which starts September 20t!

Lindsay’s going to do “Gimme, Gimme” from Thoroughly Modern Millie, because she wants to show vulnerability.  I think the “wanting to show” language is a mistake.  Damian has chosen “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darrin.  Nikki tells him he is not the best singer, dancer or actor, but it’s about finding the person Ryan and the other writers want to write a role for.  Jeez.  Samuel has chosen “Jolene.”  A little weird, as it’s from one woman to another, but OK.  Personally my favorite version is not even Dolly Parton’s (who wrote it) but the way the Screaming Orphans, the Diver sisters from Donegal, cover the song when they sing it at Tir Na Nog in NYC.  They haven’t recorded it so you’ll have to take my word for it.  Alex is going to do another song from Dreamgirls, in drag.   Just because it’s called “I am changing” doesn’t mean you’re not just doing more of the same, so I’m not thrilled with the choice.

In the boys dorm Cameron talks about how blessed he is.  And gives Damian a hug.  And in a promo, we learn he’s the Bing fan favorite.

As they come on for their last chance performers, not only the judges and writer Ian Brennan are there but also the other contenders, and cast members from Glee.  Lindsay does well selling it, though her voice actually sounded a little raggy.  Ryan liked it the best.

Damian crosses himself as his talking head tells us it’s his sixth time singing for Ryan.  When he comes on, he gets a standing ovation– the only one who does.  And he dedicates “Beyond the Sea” to Hannah and Cameron which is just too adorable.  And he seems to be enjoying himself as he sings with his bowtie undone and a corduroy blazer.

“Let’s go boys,” he says to the band.
His little Irish brogue makes “ships” into two syllables,” “she-ips”.  Nikki looks really happy as he kicks the microphone and picks it up. On the line “we’ll kiss” the camera looks at Hannah who has a little shy smile. On  the word “sailing” his eyebrow wiggles around.  It’s a cross between looking really polished and looking like a kid fooling around.  And it’s endearing.  I think if he actually pulled off the smooth thing without looking like a kid trying to look smooth it would be annoying, but there are elements of Tom Cruise in Risky Business which make it really cute.

In the discussion Ryan says he likes his youth, answering someone who said he’s like an old man up there.

Samuel’s voice sounds very good on Jolene.  He does it very soulfully, never rocking out.  A smart choice.  Alex sounds great, as always, on his song.

 Dot-Marie Jones, who plays football coach Shannon Beiste on Glee, comments.  Darren Criss says Lindsay would be a great foil for Rachel.  And Harry Shum Jr. thinks Sam could give Puck a run for his money.   Max Adler thinks Alex just fits on Glee.  Obviously this was edited so all four contenders would have a comment in their favor.  Nikki stands up for Damian with his underdog, magnetic personality.  Asked who the best actor is, Erik says Lindsay, because she took every note and nailed it.  REALLY SHOW?  You’re going to pretend they know how they “act,” without ever showing them, actually, acting?  Just emoting?  Can they read lines?  Whatever.

Robert loved Alex in drag.  So I guess it was a smart decision after all.

When they come back Ryan says nice things to all of them. He tells Damian he was the whipping boy of the competition but he kept going with a smile on his face and a great amount of humility.

He tells Alex he has a great future.  This is almost always Reality TV speak for “but not here.”  And no, Alex is not the winner.  Neither is Lindsay.

He says that everyone on Glee wants Damian in the room.  And that they also say Samuel is a star.

He announces that SAM is the winner of The Glee Project!  There’s jumping and hooting and hollering.  Then he tells Damian it was really hard.

Damian says that it’s hard getting so close but Samuel deserves it so.  That’s “so” with a period, not “so…” ellipsis as if it’s another thought.  It’s the Irish “so.”   Ryan says “the thing that I want to tell you is… you have also won the Glee Project.”  Damian grabs his head and literally flies backwards.

More leaping and jumping!  Damian leaps higher and I just know y’all are thinking “leprechaun.”  Hannah cries.

And… there’s a big consolation prize…. because Ryan tells Lindsay and Alex that they will get 2-episode arcs.   Some people will find that shenanigans but I think we always knew they would do this.

I’m betting right now we will see appearances from Matheus and Marissa this year.  Possible Cameron too though in the end it might be better for his career NOT to.
And yeah, I guess I’ll be tuning in to watch my boy Damian!
OK, some people will say this decision was influenced by Damian’s popularity with fangirls.  Some will say he got the “underdog edit,” such as when they tried to make us think Cameron “saved” him, just so this would be more dramatic.  And that he was in the bottom so many times so we’d keep watching and made good television.  Some even wonder whether Hannah’s crush is real.

I’m not saying any of these things, thoug.  Because… aw, Damian, he’s just such a cutie.  if anything was manipulated, I don’t think he was in on it.

What do you think?  was it fair?  are you happy?

Follow HIm on Twitter:  @DamianMcGintyCT
Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.


  1. Avatar
    Anonymous / August 24, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Very satisfied–but I’d be more satisfied if just Damian had won!

  2. Avatar
    visa vietnam / August 25, 2011 at 7:13 am

    To doing a visa vietnam and travelling to vietnam.

  3. Avatar
    Anonymous / September 12, 2011 at 3:55 am

    I’m so happy that Damian won, but I was wondering why they never had them read a scene too. I mean the whole show isn’t one big music video. When I used to hold auditions, the scene reads were extremely influential in my decisions.

Comments are closed.