'Glee' Newcomer Darren Criss Reflects on His 'Dream' Week
It's been one hell of a week for Darren Criss, whose debut on "Glee" Tuesday (Nov. 9) has been followed by Internet adulation, rumors of becoming a regular character on the show -- and his rendition of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" is on track to becoming the show's top-selling first week digital release to date.
"When it rains, it pours, man," Criss says, laughing. "'Glee' stuff aside, I'm playing a show on Saturday [at The Mint in Los Angeles] so I'm rehearsing with my band, I'm playing host to a friend this weekend and there's laundry and food and stuff and a lot of shit is going wrong with my apartment."
We are, honestly, keeping Criss up from a nap, so let's address those rumors one at a time: He's not a regular cast member on "Glee" … yet.
"Of course I would love to be on the show as long as possible," he says. "I do love working with everybody and he is a wonderful character. I love what the show stands for and the place it fits in our social pop consciousness. And the end of the day, I trust the creators and I'm happy for the time I've been given. Whatever happens, happens."
And yes, Criss did first audition for the show 2.5 years ago: For the role of Finn, now played by Cory Monteith.
"I was pretty new to Hollywood and they didn't really know my type, but I could have told anybody -- I'm not a football player," he says. "And they were like: 'But you can sing, right?'"
The role of dreamy Blaine -- a gay student at a different school who forms a bond with McKinley High's Kurt, played by Chris Colfer -- was the role that stuck. The fact that the song the character sings in his debut was "Teenage Dream," thrilled Criss.
"I freaked out. I mean, I freaked out," he says. "As a pop writer, I'm a big Max Martin/Dr. Luke guy and if I'm writing for mainstream pop, I use them as reference points, for sure."
Criss's rendition of "Teenage Dream" isn't the first time he's been on the Billboard charts; Criss co-wrote the music and lyrics to "Me and My Dick," a production of the theater group at the University of Michigan, which entered Top Cast Albums at No. 11 earlier this year; his "Human" EP debuted at No. 30 on Heatseeker Albums, and "A Very StarKid Album," named after Criss' production company, debuted at No. 19 on Top Compilations.
"I'm sort of a musical mercenary," he says. "I have a musical theater background, but when I write for myself, I'm a guy with a guitar so I sound like that guy. And my brother is in a really killer band in New York called Freelance Whales and when I play with him. It's our own little electro indie thing."
So at the end of a chaotic week, has Criss had a chance to stop and reflect?
"I attribute the success of the track to so many factors other than myself," he says. "I was the lucky son of a bitch that got to be a part of it."