Amber Riley may have been rejected when she auditioned for American Idol, but no biggie.

Riley is now one of the shining stars of Fox's upcoming new show Glee. While she admits she thought her "world was over" when she didn't make it onto A.I., she now sees it as a blessing.

"I'm kind of glad they said no, because it gave me the chance to work on my voice, to work on my craft and to work on my confidence," Riley said the other night at a special screening of Glee's first episode at Santa Monica High School.

So what is this Glee? Read on to learn more about what is sure to become the next big thing in television.


Joe Viles/FOX

Created by Ryan Murphy (the man also behind Nip/Tuck), Glee centers on a fledgling high school choir headed by a Spanish teacher (Matthew Morrison) determined to transform them into musical champions. There's plenty of singing and dancing to covers of hits like "Rehab" and "I Kissed a Girl."

Think of Glee as American Idol meets Gossip Girl with the intelligence of Juno. It premieres on Tuesday night after American Idol, but regular weekly episodes won't begin until the fall.

Lea Michele, of Broadway's Spring Awakening, stars as Rachel Berry, a school outcast with a big voice and big dreams. Things didn't exactly go so well for her, come audition time: She got into a car accident on the way to her callback.

"I left my car like in the middle of the street, like, all crashed, and I ran into my audition and I had pieces of glass in my hair," she remembered. "It was falling on the table and I had cuts on me. I was like, 'I'm ready. I'm ready.' "

Cory Monteith, who plays resident hottie Finn Hudson (he's not only the football team quarterback but he can belt out a song, too!), said he ignored the part in the casting notice about having to sing. "I sent a tape of myself acting and I conveniently ignored the part that said, We would like you to sing, because I didn't consider it a strong suit," Monteith said.

"But they said, 'We need you singing,' so I sent them the tape of me singing REO Speedwagon's 'Can't Fight This Feeling' and then drove 20 hours from Vancouver, Canada, to meet these guys down here to sing and dance for them," he added.

Producers also plan on filling episodes with cameos and guest spots from people like Josh Groban and Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth.

Jane Lynch, who plays cheerleading director Sue Sylvester, tells us she'd also love to see Michelle Pfeiffer on the show. "She was in Grease 2 and she was great. Same with The Fabulous Baker Boys," Lynch gushed. "She's got an amazing voice and she should sing more."

P.S.: Miley Cyrus' boyfriend Justin Gaston is also on the show. He doesn't have any lines, but he is shirtless in a locker room scene.

This won't be the last you'll be hearing from us about Glee. What about you? Will you be tuning in Tuesday night?


Get More Marc on Twitter @marcmalkin

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