Criss goes from guest to heartthrob on ‘Glee’

Darren Criss

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ALICIA RANCILIO | Associated Press

NEW YORK — Darren Criss isn’t even officially a full-time cast member on Glee, yet he’s one of the most popular stars on the Fox TV show.

The actor made his debut last fall as Blaine Anderson, a gay student at Dalton Academy where Chris Colfer’s character, Kurt, transfers after being bullied out.

Criss performed a version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” that quickly became one of the show’s most popular performances to date. Viewers were smitten, and the 24-year-old was quickly written into most of the season’s episodes.

Now, fans can get an extra dose of Criss on the new album Glee: The Music Presents The Warblers.

The Associated Press: Your performances are so popular on Glee. What’s it like to be on an album?

Criss: They’re all incredible songs, so I really enjoyed them all. I worked superhard. If people are enjoying them I’m glad because it’s not something that I took lightly, so I’m really happy.

AP: What would you like to see on Glee that hasn’t happened yet?

Criss: I would really love it to start in the summer because I want to see what these kids are up to when they’re not in school. … I just want to see a little bit of summer jobs and it kind of opens up a whole lot of things. I always joke that everyone in Glee is like family-less. No one has parents, no one has brothers or sisters … like any time they have a concert or something, the parents never come, I guess. No one really cares. No one’s driving them home afterward. I don’t know how they’re gettin’ around. They’re like 15, 16 years old (laughs).

AP: When did you realize your first appearance on the show was a big deal?

Criss: I don’t watch a lot of TV. I’m really busy so I wasn’t really feeling it. I was living in my little … apartment. It was really dirty. Nothing really manifested itself in an immediate way. I still had laundry to do, bills to pay. … Any successes it may have garnered it didn’t hit me (laughs) at all so it was this very intangible thing. People were like, “It’s doing really well” and I was like, “OK, great.”

AP: Are you getting recognized a lot?

Criss: It depends where I go. … If it happens, I’m happy to address it, because I consider myself very fortunate. You know, at least I didn’t release a — that you know of — a sex tape, or I haven’t done anything illicitly terrible where you know, I’m sort of cowering in shame. It’s something that I’m really proud of and I should be so lucky and if someone wants to talk to me about it, “Hell yeah.”

AP: Do you have plans to release a solo album?

Criss: I was kind of at a crossroads right before I started Glee. I was literally about to throw in the towel with acting because music was proving itself sort of more mentally, spiritually and financially lucrative. I started a theatre company in Chicago, Team StarKid, and my EP “Human” started doing really well (it charted on Billboard) and that was gonna be my life. … Glee has both empowered and complicated that whole process. Whatever album I was about to put out got put aside for a little bit. … It’ll happen eventually.

—  John Wright