One of the key ingredients to the success of the show is Lea Michele's voice, Ryan says. "It sort of cuts through you. It pierces through you. It's incredibly moving and soulful beyond her years," he says. "Like that next sort of Barbra or Patti LuPone or just that great, big, universal talent that is so inclusive to people."
Another vital part of the Glee mix is having real people portray the characters. "Usually when you do TV, you cast in two weeks and you're shooting," he says. "We took three or four months and we went all around the country and we wanted unknowns. ... We encouraged people to just come in off the street. I think Chris had to drive down from where he lives and walked into the room and sang and was so unique and we're like, 'We've got to write a part for that guy.' And we did. That was the spirit of the show. New voices, new talent, fresh faces."