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Hey, is Chris Colfer really a lead actor on 'Glee'?

March 23, 2011 |  2:04 pm

During the first season of "Glee," Chris Colfer was nominated for best supporting comedy actor at the Emmy Awards. He had a great chance at winning due to his episode submission, "Laryngitis," in which he had some powerhouse scenes opposite his dad (Mike O'Malley) and he performed a show-stopping rendition of "Rose's Turn" from the musical "Gypsy." Alas, he lost to Eric Stonestreet ("Modern Family").

Chris colfer glee tv news

Chris Colfer then went on to win the supporting race at the Golden Globes in January and was nominated at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which combine both lead and supporting performers into one category that's usually dominated by the leads.

During this second season of "Glee," Colfer has had significantly more screen time in many of the episode storylines (school bullies, relationships, father's heart attack, father's remarriage). Most important, he's essentially had his own show-within-a-show since he has transferred to a private school and joined its a cappella group, the Warblers.

At the Emmys in the past, the only two actors submitted by "Glee" producers in the lead races have been Matthew Morrison (the glee club teacher) and Lea Michele (glee club member). Everyone else in the regular cast has been considered supporting.

At the next Emmy Awards, four of last year's nominees in the comedy lead actor race have strong chances of returning (Alec Baldwin, Steve Carell, Jim Parsons and Morrison).  The other two nominees from 2010 will not be back (Larry David's show had no episodes this season and Tony Shalhoub's show is kaput).  That will leave two wide-open slots with very few strong contenders -- maybe Joel McHale ("Community"), Matthew Perry ("Mr. Sunshine"), Matt LeBlanc ("Episodes"), and Danny McBride ("Eastbound and Down").

At 21, Colfer would be one of the youngest lead actor nominees in the comedy category, but he wouldn't set any records. Frankie Muniz of "Malcolm in the Middle" and Fred Savage of "The Wonder Years" were teen nominees in the same category.

With the drop in competition and his increased screen time/relevancy to this TV season, Colfer might be wise to take a shot at the lead actor race.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Chris Colfer leads the Warblers in song in a recent "Glee" episode titled "Original Song." (Fox TV)