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When Does It Start: Sunday June 12th at 9pm EST on Oxygen

In A Nutshell: 12 budding singing stars compete for a 7-episode guest-starring arc on the next season of Glee.

What’s It About: To be honest there’s not much I can add to the description above – the format is still under wraps!

What we do know is that Glee Executive Producer Ryan Murphy is over-seeing this spin-off (though lightly I suspect) which offers budding musical stars the chance to appear on Fox’s high school musical smash.

The contestants are the usual gamut of big voices and big egos, but in keeping with the Glee ethos there’s also plenty of hard luck back-stories. Alex lost his father to cancer, Matheus is just 4’9” tall and Hannah is plus size. But who will impress the judges and end up scooping that guest star slot?

Check out The Glee Project promo video here

Plus Points: Oxygen took a knock with The World According To Paris but I have a feeling The Glee Project may help them get back on track. Brand recognition is strong and with the original show on hiatus, now’s the perfect time to launch a companion series. And let’s be honest, The Glee Project doesn’t exactly need to rock the ratings roof in order to standout at the network. I think anything over a million is going to make the network brass happy. Surely there have to be a million Gleeks out there with time on their hands this summer?

Personally I’m confused why Project isn’t airing on Fox over the summer – but whatever the politics the show has the blessing of the Glee creative team and is also set to include cameo appearances from cast members like Darren Criss aka Blaine. Hmm, I wonder if Lea Michele will also turn up down the line?

I also have to say that the prize at stake on The Glee Project is well worth winning. A 7-episode guest arc on Glee is a good prize for any industry newcomer and better than the pointless record deals offered on several music competition shows (which invariably never go anywhere). If the show discovers a standout star like Criss it will be very much mission accomplished!

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On The Downside: Aren’t we a little over-saturated with music competition shows at the moment?

American Idol recently finished its 10th season, The Voice is wrapping up, The X Factor and The Sing Off are waiting in the wings, ABC has a karaoke challenge show coming this summer (how 1998!) and Bravo only just debuted their own songwriting spin on the genre in the form of Platinum Hit (which has so far underperformed). Is there REALLY room for another singing show at the moment, even with the Glee ‘seal of approval’?

Oxygen – for once – have done a decent job of promoting the show, but they’ve only really teased the premise rather than telling us anything about the format and how the elimination process will unfold. I have a feeling we may be in line for the usual ‘performance challenges’ in front of a trio of judges with one contestant sent packing each week, just like the much imitated Project Runway template!

The Glee brand is certainly going to help the show – without it this show would be dead in the water – but personally I wonder if the Fox show is itself past its peak? Ratings stumbled after the much-hyped Superbowl special and critics – including myself – have taken potshots at the show’s fluctuating creative quality. Is the Glee Project only going to add to the impression that the Fox franchise is over-exposed and over-rated?

Prediction: I think the Glee brand name is going to carry a lot of weight for Oxygen and give the network a very successful summer…