Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Most Notable Season 3 Glee Moments (Part 2)

Part 1 was written back during the show's Christmas break and can be read here.

Most Ridiculous: "We Found Love"
Will proposes to Emma in a hugely over-the-top manner which includes the Glee kids singing this Rihanna song as they also perform elaborate synchronized swimming routines. I'm pretty sure if someone tried to propose to me like that, I would laugh.

Best Tribute Episode: Michael
Worst Tribute Episode: Saturday Night Glee-ver
The show did three tribute episode this spring (the unmentioned middle ground one was a tribute to Whitney Houston), but the standouts were clear. Michael was surprisingly entertaining and, fortunately, jam-packed with songs (NINE of them) instead of plot. Although many of the songs didn't get super creative or wander too far from the original, they were all well-performed and I liked all of them.

Let's compare that to the week when Will Schuester decided that not only the theme going to be disco, but that it was ONLY songs appearing on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. WORST. IDEA. EVER. A couple good dance numbers, but the singing was weak and the songs are just not that interesting. I could go my entire life without ever again hearing Cory Monteith attempt to sing a Bee Gees song and be more than happy.

Most Surprising and Awesome Guest Performance: "Smooth Criminal"
The 2Cellos guys who did the cover of Smooth Criminal on YouTube showed up to play along with this version, which was a pretty entertaining singing showdown between Santana and that evil guy from Blaine's old school.

Worst "They're Really Going To Sing That?" Song: "Sexy and I Know It"
I was already not super psyched about Ricky Martin as their guest performer, but then when his big opening number was THIS, I thought, "Wow, this episode is going to suck." Thankfully, it picked up from there.

Most Awesome "They're Really Going To Sing That?" Song: "The Rain in Spain"
The lead-in to this is hilarious. All the guys are helping Puck study for his geography final, and one of the things he just happens to need to know is where Spain gets the most rainfall. He suddenly finds he's able to remember the answer and everybody jumps into a rock version of this Lerner and Loewe showtune. It is hilarious and ridiculous and completely awesome.

The Episode That Kept Making Me Yell, "I DON'T KNOW ANY OF THESE SONGS": On My Way
I usually enjoy the competition shows because they're music-heavy, but this one was frustrating. Out of eight songs performed, I knew one of them, and another one slightly. I like discovering new songs on Glee, but it's so rare that ALL of them are new to me that it threw me off when it actually happened.

Best Mercedes Performance: "I Will Always Love You"
I have never been crazy about this song or about Mercedes, but she blew this song out of the water. Nicely, nicely done.

Best Kurt Performance: (tie) "I Have Nothing" and "Not the Boy Next Door"
My favorite Glee boy. I am going to miss him next year. I was going to give this award to I Have Nothing because I was surprised by how lovely it was to hear him sing something big and belty like Whitney Houston, even if he sang it *nothing* like Whitney Houston... but then I remembered how awesome his NYADA audition was. It was interesting and fun and he sounded and looked (dancing-wise, not like... cool outfit) awesome. So he gets a tie.

Most Disappointing Darren Criss Number: Everything in the Big Brother episode
I love Darren Criss, but then he got three songs in this episode and they were all extremely boring. No more deep subplots for Blaine, please. He is most fun and interesting when he is upbeat.

Best Group Number: "Paradise By the Dashboard Light"
I didn't know this song at all, but I LOVED the New Directions' performance of it. It was crazy entertaining. My attention had wandered significantly during Rachel's technically good but boring rendition of It's All Coming Back To Me Now, but this rendition pulled me back and made me pay attention.

Worst Audition Choice: "Don't Rain On My Parade"
For being someone who claims to know everything about Broadway, Rachel makes terrible choices. Even if she had sung this flawlessly and not forgotten the words, it still would have been a terrible choice. Does she sound great on it? Yes. But she broke a cardinal rules: Don't sing a song that's consistently associated with a specific performer - in this case, Barbra Streisand. You inevitably get compared to them and Rachel is not good enough to compare to Barbra. At all. On top of that, her version is very similar to Barbra's in style and phrasing - but it looks incredibly weak in comparison to the real thing.

Performed Better Here Than On Smash: "Shake It Out"
This was the only song both musical TV shows performed this semester... and the point here goes to Glee. Shake It Out was performed by Katharine McPhee on Smash as part of a wedding singer gig she had. There was no plot context to that song being performed - it was there solely to make us go, "Oh, Katharine McPhee has an amazing voice!" (And even then she delivered an incredibly generic version.)

Compare that to the Glee version, where it's used to comfort someone who has just left an abusive relationship. The song becomes very moving. The singers can sing it with passion and intensity. The lyrics *mean* something. I paid attention to the song in a way I didn't during Smash.

This song is too interesting and too well-written to just toss in at a random place in the story. Ryan Murphy knew that. The people planning Smash didn't.

Sounded Most Exactly Like the Original, Leaving Me To Wonder What the Point Was: "Love You Like a Love Song"

Song That Made Me Go, "Wait, They Rehearsed It Like That?": "Take My Breath Away"
The Glee kids get a gig to perform at prom. The song used for the prom king and queen dance is performed by... Santana and Quinn? Two of the three nominees for prom queen? They rehearsed two of the nominees to perform a duet when one of them would probably have to be out there? Was Will counting on them to lose when he assigned who was singing what? Or were those solos assigned to someone else but Santana and Quinn just decided to sing them anyway? That's pretty jerky of them. I DON'T UNDERSTAND. GLEE YOU DO THIS TO ME EVERY TIME.

Most Inspiring: "Mean"
Two of the most oddly inspiring characters in the show (Puck and Coach Beiste) sing this song together about eventually triumphing over the people who cut them down now. It's a very touching rendition because these are two characters who are very tough on the outside - not the ones you'd think of as being vulnerable or hurt easily.


  1. Glee's songs are always just placed in a scene! NO LOGIC AT ALL so I totally disagree with you on placement of songs SMASH DID IT BETTER!!!!!

    1. Nah, I'm pretty sure Glee only ignores logic about half the time. And for me to agree with you on that last bit I'd have to not hate Katharine McPhee.