Ellis Wylie of Grayslake is singing to land the opportunity of a lifetime on the new competition series, The Glee Project.
She is one of 12 contestants selected from the 40,000 people who submitted audition tapes or went to open casting calls in Chicago and Dallas.
The winner of The Glee Project gets a guest starring role in seven episodes of the Fox television series Glee.
The Glee Project, airing Sundays at 8 p.m. CST on Oxygen, mirrors the Glee television show in promoting the idea that everyone can be a star.
In the first episode last night, Wylie said it was "surreal" to watch herself on TV.
"I always use the word surreal to describe everything to do with this," she said in an interview Monday. "It was very interesting to watch myself cry. But I was so pleased with how it turned out."
In the first episode, the judges said that Wylie looked young for her age and she ended up in the bottom three contestants for a last chance performance. But they were very impressed with her rendition of "Big Spender" and she made it through.
"I bring my voice and a stage presence that a lot of people don't have," she said. "It is much bigger than I am."
Wylie said it was great to work with stars from Glee.
"We met Darren Criss who plays Blaine," she said, of the television star who helped mentor the contestants on the first week's show. "He is such a nice guy, very down to earth."
And the stars will just keep coming to The Glee Project. The show announced that the second guest mentor for the contestants is Idina Menzel, a singer who is also known for her roles in the musicals Rent and Wicked.
"Wicked was the reason I started to perform!" Wylie said.
She participated in musicals Peter Pan and Kiss Me, Kate! at Grayslake Central High School before graduating in 2010. Now with The Glee Project, her stage has suddenly gotten a lot bigger.
She said the experience with The Glee Project has been amazing, from the casting call in Chicago, to callbacks in California, to the taping of the show from February to April.
"We just got back from the New York premier of the show, and everyone here has been really supportive," Wylie said. "I'm glad Grayslake is proud."
For more information, go to: