Not many up-and-coming singers would walk away from a chance to star in Glee, one of the most popular television shows on the planet. But that’s what Colleyville musician Cameron Mitchell did in episode seven of The Glee Project, which aired last night on the Oxygen network.
Mitchell’s father is one of the pastors of the church I attend, so I’ve gotten sucked into the reality series, which follows 12 contestants vying for a seven-episode arc in season three of Glee.
Cameron seemed to be a favorite of show judges Robert Ulrich (Glee’s casting director), Zach Woodlee (choreographer), and show creator Ryan Murphy. But the self-confessed virgin who’s in a committed relationship had been struggling with scenes that required him to get up-close-and-personal with other contestants; the theme of last night’s episode–sexuality–sent him over the edge.
After beautifully performing Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird,” Cameron was asked about his conflicts and admitted to the judges, “I’ve had a really difficult week with sexuality, I can’t lie. That’s something I’ve never been through before. But I know the beliefs that I have and it’s definitely been a real challenge … Maybe this isn’t for me.”
That seemed to pique Murphy’s interest even more: “One of the things I think that we have not done well, thus far, is represent a sort of conservative, religious, faith-based character, and you are that guy,” Murphy said.
Murphy conferred with the other judges, wondering how Mitchell could walk away from a TV show, concert tour, and recording deal, then had a private conversation with the singer, offering to respect his personal barriers. Mitchell said he had spent sleepless nights thinking about it, and was ready to go.
“I’m sad,” Murphy said. “I feel like I could have written you a role and I do think you could have gone all the way to the finals. I think you could have touched so many people.”
Mitchell, who’s apparently in California today with other Glee Project cast members, did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment. He posted a video on the topic with former castmate Damian McGinty–who was selected by the judges to be booted off the show in last night’s episode, but saved by Mitchell’s decision.
UPDATE: D intern Kelsy McCraw talked with Mitchell this afternoon. (Be watching for her story at FrontRow.) Here’s what he had to say about his decision to leave The Glee Project:
“It’s very tough because I do have beliefs and I do have my faith, and in some ways that does make me very different from other people. There are lines that other people will cross, and that’s OK to them, but to me–I’m just different, I just believe in different things. There are certain things that I’m willing to do on video shoots, but when it comes to the kissing, that was really hard for me. That’s just how I was raised, you know?
“My parents weren’t crazy-strict religious people. I won’t hit people on the head with a Bible, but I live by example and just try to be the best guy I can be. I have morals, and if it’s something that I feel like is crossing the line, then I’m not afraid to stand up. If you don’t stand up for something, then you’ll never stand up for anything. I just feel like that’s just what I had to do.”