The second season of "The Glee Project" kicked off Tuesday night, and country crooner Maxfield had the unfortunate honor of being the first "Glee" hopeful to be eliminated.
The 22-year-old singer/songwriter from Nashville just didn't have enough personality for "Glee" showrunner Ryan Murphy. However, Maxfield says he is still grateful for his "Glee Project" experience -- and at least he got to meet Lea Michele before getting the boot.
HuffPost TV chatted with Maxfield, via phone, about his short-but-sweet "Glee Project" experience, meeting Michele, not knowing Lady Gaga and singing in front of Murphy, who Maxfield says is kind of like "an onion."
It's never easy being the first one to go, but at least you got the added bonus of meeting Lea Michele, right?
She's definitely not the hardest person to look at!
Were you shocked that Lea was the first guest mentor of the season?
I didn't have any expectations going in, but when Ryan [Murphy] walked out, I thought that he was the guest mentor. So when Lea walked out, I just thought that was awesome. You have the creator of the show and you have a drop-dead gorgeous girl, so that was an incredible experience.
Were you nervous?
I was pumped. I was like, "Let's go for it. Let's do it." I was more nervous about singing Lady Gaga and making sure that I had my lines right -- and getting the dancing right. I was definitely nervous about that. [Laughs.]
I loved how honest you were about your ignorance of Lady Gaga's music. I think you said that you had never listened to one of her songs all the way through before.
I really haven't! They didn't show this, but I remember that exact moment when my jaw dropped and Nellie looked at me and started laughing. She was like, "Max, are you serious?"
At the time of filming, you had only started singing six months ago, and you were competing against all of these kids who had been performing their whole lives.
Right. I always sang, but it was one of those things where everyone told me to shut up and stop singing, so I never actually thought that I could do it. When I started writing and singing again, I went out and performed somewhere and an accomplished singer/songwriter said, "I really like you voice." That was when I really thought that I could do this professionally.
Why did they tell you to shut up?
I'm not sure, but I know that after speaking with family members and friends, they've said that I've grown tremendously in the last few months. Now, looking back, I feel bad that they had to listen to me. I can't even imagine.
You had a hard time in the vocal booth with Nikki Anders.
Yeah, that was tough. I've always been on the other side of the booth engineering, so this was my first time in the booth. I don't know what happened. It all just happened really fast. If I could go back, I know I could have killed it. For the love of God, I could not sing on key.
What happened during the video shoot? They said that you were hiding in the background.
I forgot to smile. I didn't know that I was supposed to smile during the thing! I was having fun, but I forgot that I was having fun. For me, it was just one of the those moments where I had never been in that situation before. I never had to perform with 13 other people before. I was having fun, but I just wasn't showing it.
Then you had to sing in front of Ryan Murphy for your last-chance performance. Now, I'm going to be honest. When I think of Ryan, the first thing that comes into my head is Lord Voldemort from "Harry Potter."
[Laughs.] I agree! That's awesome! Yeah, he's kind of scary, but then there are these layers. When you start to peel away the layers of the onion ... you know, you can't really peel, you just have to use a knife and cut right through.
I'm glad we're on the same page. Last season, Ryan made a comment about how he's always wanted a country singer on "Glee." Did you go into it thinking that could have been you?
Definitely. I think that's something that "Glee" needs, someone to break up those generic, pop Top 40 songs. I think it could have been awesome. If I had another chance to audition for that role, I'd love to be that character.
You and Chord Overstreet could have done a country duet.
Right? Us Nashville boys need to stick together.
What did you think about your last-chance performance song, "You Were Always on My Mind?"
I thought that was a great pick, and I really love that song by Willie Nelson. But in the back of my mind, I was kind of hoping for something more upbeat, something that I could rock out to on stage, like a Jason Aldean song. I really wanted to show Zach that personality that he was looking for. It was just meant to be. I think it's really awesome that Tyler was able to stay. He has such an inspiring story that really deserves attention.
Right, and "The Glee Project" is not really a talent competition. It's a personality competition. Last season's winner Damian McGinty wasn't the strongest singer, but he had a charming personality, and it made Ryan want to write for him.
I loved how they played his character up [on "Glee"]. They really made him a leprechaun! When I started the show, I remembering thinking, "Man, if I won this thing, I could see [Ryan Murphy] putting me in a cowboy hat with a big belt buckle, and then I'd be riding into the school on a horse. He would totally do something crazy like that.
Please tell me that Zach Woodlee is that awesome in real life.
He's the greatest. He's so awesome. My favorite dance move is the Pretzel, and I remember him telling me that his favorite dance movie is the Pretzel, so that just made everything awesome-er. He's just a fun guy. I don't know if he knows what's going on while he's doing it, but the choreography always comes together really well.
"The Glee Project" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Oxygen.
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