Glee exclusive: Interview with Lauren Gottlieb on Vocal Adrenaline
By Fred Topel
HollywoodNews.com: You’re going to see a lot of Lauren Gottlieb on Fox. On Glee, she plays a member of the rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline. She also returns to So You Think You Can Dance this summer as one of the All Stars dancing with the new contestants. She was a finalist on the show’s third season.
Things are going really well for Lauren Gottlieb. This interview took place by phone after Gottlieb finished another audition, which surely went well. It also found her finishing work on some other projects, which she told us about in part one of our interview.
Q: When will we see you on Glee again?
LG: I don’t know when the episodes come on. Anything Vocal Adrenaline, I’m in. So I know in a couple weeks, I shot a fun scene where I threw eggs at Lea Michele. We threw eggs at her so they’re going to be coming on in the next couple weeks. I just don’t know exactly when it is.
Q: So far you’ve only been in the first one.
LG: Oh yeah? And actually they didn’t even show us. It was more like a quick rehearsal shot. I was kind of bummed.
Q: So there’s a lot more where we see you up close?
LG: Yeah, I hope so. It kind of all depends how they want to edit it together. I was a little bummed with the first one just because the number that we put together was a lot longer than what they showed. They stopped it right at the really cool part.
Q: Do you get to sing the songs too?
LG: We sing while we’re dancing but we’re not recorded as we do it. What we do is so crazy that there’s no way that we could sing with it, but to get into character and what not, we have to move our mouths so we’re all yapping up there.
Q: Have you gotten to work with Idina Menzel, who plays Vocal Adrenaline’s coach?
LG: Actually, it’s been really cool to be on set because we’ll be around them. Idina actually, this next one we do is like a Lady Gaga inspired one and she kind of yells at us and tells us to sit down. Then we have to see her perform. I don’t know how many takes we did, probably a good 20 takes of it. It was a pretty cool scene and we always get to see everyone up close do their scenes and stuff so it’s pretty fun.
Q: Is there a big dance off coming for the season finale?
LG: Oh my God, we just shot the finale. It’s a six minute long number, like six minutes and we had to shoot it for 12 hours. So during shooting, we had one broken pinky, one sprained ankle, one concussion. Someone’s head whipped into a steadicam. People were falling off like crazy. So bad that the director came up and said, “I have a little something for you guys. I know what you just did was so crazy.” So he called for somebody and she came over with a big bag of all these first aid kits with a little vodka bottle attached to it. So everyone’s a jokester on set. Everyone gets along. It’s such a great environment.
Q: Were any of those injuries yours?
LG: You know what? Crazy enough, I didn’t get hurt that day but it was the craziest thing. To see what we had to do, everyone was laughing at us because we have this stage and it’s a much more elaborate stage than we’ve ever had. It’s like the finale so they had these stairs going back from behind the stage so when you went down those stairs, if you were to stand up you’d still see your head. So every time we went down those stairs we had to get on the ground and crawl to get off stage. If you were back there and saw us, we were like monkey crawling.
Q: Have you been able to adjust your style to Glee or whatever show you’re working on?
LG: I’m really happy with where I grew up in Arizona. I studied at this dance school and from a very early age they ingrained in us that when you go to these auditions, you’ll never know what’s going to be faced in front of you so you have to be ready. So from a really early age, I went into every single kind of dance class. No choreography was bad choreography in my mind. Everything is something. A dancer has to make everything look good. So it’s just been kind of how I train, so it’s been really nice and really easy. Like today I had a last minute commercial audition, so you’ve got to snap the fingers and just go into a totally different mind frame. I really love that I train that way because it makes everything a lot easier.
Q: Is this all a result of So You Think You Can Dance?
LG: I give So You Think so much credit. I don’t know where I would be right now without it because there’s nothing like being on a hit TV show in front of millions of viewers a couple nights a week and stuff. So that was such a huge blessing because it gave and it still is giving all these dancers that room to grow and stuff and be something, because dancers work so, so hard. I had only moved out to LA six months prior to auditioning for the show, so I had done a couple things. I had worked with Shakira and did a Nike and a Macy’s job. I would start to work, but since this it got me into so many different elements of the entertainment business. I’ve fallen in love with hosting and acting and doing all these different kinds of things. I give the show so much credit for that.
Q: Do you turn a lot down now?
LG: Sometimes. You’ve got to look at what’s smart and what works for you. It’s really nice when you get to turn stuff down because it’s like okay, you have options. It kind of sucks at the same time. I just got offered the other day to go on the Glee tour. They’re doing like a four city tour all of May. I turned it down which I’m so bummed about because it won’t work out with my schedule, but I just have this feeling I should be in town. It’s one month before So You Think starts and that’s like the biggest challenge and boot camp of your life. So I just felt like going on the road and that whole road life isn’t where I should be. Yeah, you kind of do sometimes but you hope you make the right decisions.
Q: What other cool things are you working on?
LG: I’m getting together music. I want to create an album and I’ve been working with this producer Ty Stevens. He started Hilary Duff and Mandy Moore and Aly & AJ. He’s a really good guy so we’ve been working on stuff. My ultimate goal is to be that performer. I always wanted to be Britney Spears when I grew up. To put on shows like that and have them be the show that I create and have my dancers and just have that good time, that’s what I eventually want to do.
Q: When were you chosen as an all star to come back this season?
LG: I got a call, I think a month and a half ago. We all ended up on the phone on a conference call. We had no idea. We got a text message. It was like, “Call ASAP.” So as soon as we called, I was on the phone with a good 10-15 people and stuff. We had no idea. They were just telling us we had to be by our phones. This was on a Friday and we had to be by our phones on Monday at like noon. So we had to go from Friday all the way ‘til Monday. I didn’t sleep much. I’m like, “There’s something major that’s about to happen.” We just had no idea. We had to wait. It was crazy.
Q: Had you been fighting for a slot on the new All Star season?
LG: No, that was the first anyone knew. We knew before choreographers knew and everything. We actually knew before it was even a done deal. I think they were kind of seeing if it’s possible. Everyone that was chosen this year, the 12 of us, were all of their first picks they said. So that was kind of cool but we had no idea. It just came out of nowhere. How he started on that Monday when he was talking to us and we were calling in not really knowing now what exactly is about to be said to us, he started out as the producer talking to us. Jeff Thacker was asking us all these trivia questions and stuff about the past seasons and what not. Then the last one that he said was, “How many contestants have ever been on the show?” Someone yelled out, “136.” So that was his in. He goes, “Out of 136 contestants, we picked 12 of you guys to be our all stars.”
Q: What lessons do you have for the new contestants?
LG: For the new contestants, it’s kind of cool because usually they do 20 contestants. Now it’s just straight down to the top 10. I went to Vegas a couple weeks ago to help out Tabitha D’Umo and do stuff with her hip choreography round so I got to see them, but when there’s only 10 of them, it’s like five guys, five girls. They’re going to be the best of the best so there’s going to be lots of moments and it’s going to be really cool because when I was on the show I was 18-years-old and you’re thrown into this. You’re learning as you go so it’s going to be really cool that they get all of us in that experience and get to tell them to calm down. There’s all these little things and what not so there’s going to be so much I think we can share with them.
Q: Have you met the one you’ll be partnered with?
LG: Actually, it’s kind of cool. I won’t be specifically partnered with one person. It’s going to be more like they have their 12 all stars and we’re all in specific categories. For example, I will never be doing something that’s not my specific profession. I won’t be doing ballroom, so my categories are hip hop, contemporary, jazz and Broadway. So within that, we’ll always be in those categories so I could potentially be dancing twice a week but it could be with different people. It’s always going to be interchanging.
Q: Are you ready to face Adam Shankman?
LG: [Laughs] Actually, yeah. I saw Adam last night. I’ve been working with Katie Holmes the past week getting her ready for this benefit show and I think he’s directing it, so he came in last night. He came in and he was like, “Gottlieb?” So he’s crazy but yeah, the cool part about it is we don’t get judged. So once we dance, I think they’re going to say thank you and we leave. So we don’t get judged or voted off.
Q: They might still have notes for you.
LG: I hope so. They always do.
Q: And Mia’s a judge now. Are you prepared for that?
LG: I love her. Actually, I kind of wish she wasn’t because I wish she’d be choreographing.
Q: Have you started rehearsing yet?
LG: No, I don’t think we start until the end of May. I think the first actual live show is June 16 but I think we’d be starting to rehearse the end of May for it and we may do a “Meet the Top 10” or “Meet the Cast” or something like that.
Q: Sounds like you’re still busy anyway.
LG: Yeah, it’s been good.
Q: What were you choreographing for Katie Holmes?
LG: She’s doing a number, it’s a benefit show. We’ve been getting her ready for that and then been working with Tom as well for something. So kind of been doing the whole dancer/choreographer/assistant thing the past couple weeks.
Q: That was for the Motion Picture & Television Fund last weekend. Is Katie Holmes a trained dancer or was it like starting with the basics?
LG: She’s not a “trained” trained dancer but Tyce Diorio and I have been working with her for a good year or so. To see a development in her, it’s especially hard to learn the older you get, but just to see her from day one and look at videos of now and see her dance now, it’s so crazy. She’s there, doin’ good. She sounds amazing. She’s singing and she sounds so good.
Q: So you’ve already been working on this for a year?
LG: Yeah, like off and on. I’ll kind of come in and help out every now and then but specifically for this, it’s been the past two weeks every day.
Q: Do you ever get star struck when you’re working with really famous people?
LG: I try not to. I really try not to. I have been working closely the past couple weeks with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I think I was more starstruck seeing Suri than anything. She was amazing. But, it’s really nice to see a lot of them really humble as well and look for your advice. They’re kind of stepping into our world. I try not to do it but deep down inside I always am, but I try not to show it.
Q: What are you working on with Tom Cruise?
LG: It’s not announced but you’ll hear about it.
Q: When you go to a party or wedding, do people form a circle around you and expect you to put on a show?
LG: No, I think I eventually just do anyways. Like I went to my brother’s wedding recently and I’m that kind of person. I love to watch people too. Lots of people go, “Get up and dance” but I love to watch and laugh with and at people as well. So I did that but then you just have to get up sometimes. Yeah, we have fun.
Q: Did you always know you were going to make it? Did you ever have a fallback plan?
LG: I actually never had a fallback plan. I graduated on my 18th birthday and moved to LA like two days later. I had known I was going to move for a good five, six years since I was in like seventh grade. I just knew I was going to do it. There’ve been many setbacks. I think everybody goes through setbacks and what not, but I always say moving out here, I didn’t come out here having a job or having a lot of money under me. I just knew that it was my passion and drive for it. I was going to make it and there was no other. So I think keeping that in my head the whole time, nothing can really set you back that much if you keep going forward like that.
Q: That’s a story a lot of successful people share. They never had a backup plan. They just went full force with their passion.
LG: It’s tough. You’ve got to have faith. I believe, like there’s been lots of things like when I got off So You Think I had booked the Mariah Carey world tour. At the time I was so stoked because my boyfriend at the time was going to be going on it as well so that stuff was so great. It ended up we were on our first stop, we did Good Morning America and we put together a whole 90 minutes show. We were going to go to Dubai and Japan and everywhere. We were in New York for our last little set of rehearsals with the band and her manager came on and said that the whole tour was cancelled. It was right at the moment she was getting married. I thought I was set for a year. It was my first really big job where you know you’re secured for a long amount of time and it’s just done like that. It’s hard to realize at the moment and stay focused and know that everything happens for a reason. Everything I did that year, I wouldn’t have been able to get into. It’s pretty crazy.
LAUREN GOTTLIEB ON “SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE”