Monday, March 30, 2015

Glee Wrap-Up: 35 Best Performances

Glee was the out-of-nowhere underdog when it debuted in 2009. A cast of unknowns - most of them shockingly normal looking - in a musical series was such crazy idea to begin with. I mean, it was something that hasn't been successful since, umm, never!! But for whatever reason, this scripted series just became one of the most highly talked about show in its first two seasons and I'm not going to deny that I was obsessed about the show since it's pilot.

I wrote episode reviews until Season 3 and posted the music as well. I even made a separate page for the show because it came to a point where Glee had more views in DAM NATION than American Idol. It had everything going for them until they messed up the storyline as the show eventually became too preachy and came off like a constant public service announcement.

Fast forward to 2015 and Glee aired it's final episode last week. It's bittersweet. While I did stop covering the show at the middle of Season 3 - though I came back to review The Quarterback in Season 5 -  Glee will always be part of DAM NATION. Thank you!

And now that the series came to a close with 728 musical performances under it's sleeves, it's just about right to take a look back at some of the most unforgettable interpretations of classics, showtunes, pop hits, and even obscure songs

So for the last Glee post, here's the All-Time 35 Best Performances of Glee.

35. Wide Awake
Kitty, Jake, Tina & Unique
Season 5, Episode 4

I'm a sucker for stripped down Glee versions of pop songs and this was no different. This rendition was simple, honest, and unexpected from a group of people I didn't necessarily think would work. 

34. Mine
Season 4, Episode 14

STUNNING! Not entirely fan of this Taylor Swift song, but Santana turned it around for me. The acoustic arrangement is fantastic, she sounds sublime and I feel her in this song. Oh, and that bridge, awesome. Possibly one of my favorite Santana solos EVER.

33. Time Warp
Glee Cast
Season 2, Episode 5

From the costume to the whole production value, this performance just stood out. It was fun to watch and listen to. True, there was no plot development or point being made in this number, but it was still pretty sensational! Also, Quinn and Kurt rocked it!

32. Halo/Walking On Sunshine
Glee Cast
Season 1, Episode 5

While I equally adored the guy's mash-up of Confession / It's My Life, I thought the girls had the better vocals and crazy choreography. Haha. When I heard the song prior to the episode, I wondered why it was so manic and now I know why and that made it hilarious. Oh, and how I love Rachel on drugs! She talks 2x faster than she normally does. Haha. 

31. Shake It Out
Mercedes, Santana and Tina
Season 3, Episode 18

Mercedes, Santana and Tina sounded sublime on this quiet version of Shake It Out, but it was the brilliant scenes of Coach Beiste and her husband interspersed in the number that made this both powerful and painful.

30. Pompeii
Glee Cast
Season 5, Episode 20

While the intent of this performance wasn't exactly the actual meaning of Pompeii, the whole vibe was uplifting, easy, and relaxed, and the tempo made this the perfect season-ender.

29. Thriller/Heads Will Roll
Glee Cast
Season 2, Episode 11

EPIC! Sure, I got kind of dizzy with the camera work during this number, but everything else was excellent. The make up, the set design and the choreography. Great performance.

28. I Dreamed A Dream
Rachel and Shelby
Season 1, Episode 19

I thought that this performance was surprisingly breathtaking. I mean, there goes all the naysayers thinking that Lea and Idina can’t top Susan Boyle. Well, Susan Boyle can bite me after this episode’s phenomenal version of that song. Haha. And although how they set this up was a bit lame, I didn't really care. The vocals were fantastic and it really showed the value of using Broadway songs on this show.

27. Cell Block Tango
Mercedes, Tina, Sugar, Brittany & Santana
Season 3, Episode 18

Just terrific! It seemed that this song served as the catalyst for Coach Bieste to realize that she can't cover up her situation and the sensational choreography and stellar vocals of Tina, Sugar, Brittany and Santana made it all the more compelling.

26. Me Against The Music
Brittany & Santana
Season 2, Episode 2

Really. Brittany + Santana = Incredible. Not only have I put this song on repeat on my playlist, but I've also played that part of the video - and Brittany's monologue directly after it - over and over again. The choreography was ridiculous and the way they recreated the music video was just as good. Of course, Britney Spears appearing at the end of the number made it so much better, I suppose.  

25. Valerie
Glee Cast
Season 2, Episode 9

Fan-freakin-tastic! I think Santana, Brittany and Mike killed it. Oh, and the background dancing was excellent too. Again, it was a pure, sheer, unadulterated awesomeness from New Directions. Great energy and this performance alone made them more than deserving to win Sectionals outright. Enough said.

24. Umbrella/Singing In The Rain
Glee Cast
Season 2, Episode 7

At first, I didn't enjoy the mash-up as I felt the key change on the song made the mash-up a bit weird.  But in hindsight, it what made this a lot more special. The choreography was awesome and the set design made this performance very memorable. 

23. Keep Holding On
Glee Cast
Season 1, Episode 17

Keep Holding On seemed like the point where the whole glee club was telling Quinn, "We'll be there for you!". A pivotal moment in the show and a touching one at that. Quinn, to me, just brought her character to a new level.

22. Bust Your Windows
Season 1, Episode 3

This was Mercedes' first solo on Glee and it was fabulous. I personally didn't like the episode at all, but this number almost made up for it. Who would've thought Mercedes can even dance? Not me. Oh, and I really liked how they made this a dream sequence.

21. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Season 3, Episode 7

Still say one of Finn's best vocal performances. This stripped down version was poignant and lovely. Who knew this song could actually be an ode to girls? Good job.

20. All That Jazz
Cassandra and Rachel
Season 4, Episode 9

As much as I love Rachel, Cassandra beat her to the punch. Her opening intro was solid, her dance choreography was really fierce, and there's fire in her eyes that wanted to prove that she has better skill sets than Rachel. The editing was impressive and while Rachel sounded just as good, Cassandra was better. 

19. River Deep, Mountain High
Mercedes and Santana
Season 2, Episode 4

Fierce! I thought both of them performed the crap out of that tune. The vocals were great and the choreography was very Tina Turner. Oh, and I love the fact that Santana was able to sing and dance more on the show and act because she can do all three. I was very impressed.

18. The Scientist
Glee Cast
Season 4, Episode 4

I was worried that this will be the biggest mess with all four couples singing in this Coldplay ditty - I love this song, mind you! - but I find it rather lovely. Everyone sounds amazing and the harmonies are gorgeous. I like that every single one has a different sound and it makes their cover surprisingly interesting. Plus, Brittany and Kurt sound exquisite in this song.

17. We Are Young
Glee Cast
Season 3, Episode 8

This made me feel weirdly emotional in ways I've forgotten that Glee could do. It had that Season 1 feel - you know, that no matter how dramatic the episode was, it still ended on a high note. They haven't done a rousing upbeat closing group number in awhile and this just had me smiling like a dork. One of Glee's best performances to date. No gimmicks, just pure classic performance!

16. New York State Of Mind
Rachel and Marley
Season 4, Episode 1

So, Marley was the new Rachel? This duet by Marley and Rachel was, arguably, the strongest number in this episode. As usual, Rachel sounded phenomenal, but I think Marley held her own in this song as well. Oh, and I liked how their voices were totally different from each other. Beautiful.

15. Bohemian Rhapsody
Vocal Adrenaline
Season 1, Episode 22

Say what you want about Vocal Adrenaline being soulless but one cannot deny the fact that it was technically the best performance on the show. The choreography was excellent and the singing was good. Yes, the cover on its own failed to capture the intensity and passion of Freddie Mercury but it was a good attempt nonetheless. But what made this exceptional was the idea of putting together the song and Quinn's screams on this number. It was absolutely genius! No doubt in my mind that this scene sequence was done so masterfully. Obviously, the intercut of Beth's birth just brought this performance to another level. 

14. Defying Gravity
Kurt and Rachel
Season 1, Episode 9

So which version do I prefer? Well I'd say there's not a better version.. both were just different. I did like Kurt and I did want the lead vocals to be spread out more but this song was one of those that just made sense for Rachel to sing. That said, I could feel Kurt's passion a bit more. While I think Kurt did a lovely job, I can't deny Rachel's voice. So, whatever. Haha.

13. How Will I Know
Rachel, Santana, Mercedes, and Kurt
Season 3, Episode 17

Gorgeous. The storyline on the show was dead for a long time already, but the music makes this show a lot more tolerable. The arrangement was genius, the staging looked divine, and they all sounded fantastic. Simply beautiful. 

12. I Want To Hold Your Hand
Season 2, Episode 3

Beautiful! This made me bawl shamelessly. That little montage with little Kurt and Burt was a nice added touch to the scene and it was spectacularly executed. Bravo!

11. Seasons of Love
Glee Cast
Season 5, Episode 3

Perfect song to open the show as this sounded more like a prayer than anything else. I liked that the performance opened with the sophomores and then the seniors and the graduates. The solos were great, but when Mercedes started hollering, the whole thing brought this to something more fantastic, especially when they turned around with Finn's picture at the wall.

10. Don't Rain On My Parade
Season 1, Episode 13

Beyond amazing! Rachel’s Don’t Rain On My Parade brought the house down. Seriously. This was perhaps the best cover rendition on Glee all season. Now, ignoring the singing itself for one moment, which was spectacular, the use of coming in from the audience and singing amongst the crowd I thought was brilliant! Then having the rest of the group walk in at the end was a nice touch. Amazing.

09. Teenage Dream (Acoustic)
Season 4, Episode 4

I've had my heart ripped out of my stomach and torn into a million pieces by just watching Blaine perform this. This acoustic version killed us all! Haha. Yes, I adored Glee's original version of this Katy Perry song as an introduction to Blaine's character in Season 2, but I love this as well. The piano arrangement serves well with Blaine's melancholic delivery of the words. I really appreciate the emotional depth he gives to it. It broke me and I died. 

08. Somebody To Love
Glee Cast
Season 1, Episode 5

This episode finished with the showstopping Somebody to Love. Honestly, I was disappointed that the song was cut so short, but it was definitely good, and I totally loved how they set it up. Rachel was brilliant in the song, Finn was surprisingly good and Mercedes' line gave me chills. Now, this girl can belt out a deep note better then anyone. Really. She sang the very last note, and the roof of McKinley High School nearly blew off. Ha.

07. Smooth Criminal
Santana and Sebastian
Season 3, Episode 11

Sensational. Everything was AMAZING from the arrangement to the incredibly palpable chemistry between these two characters and even the cello players. Dare I say, one of Glee's finest! Enough said.

06. Journey Medley
Glee Cast
Season 1, Episode 22

I was stupidly grinning when New Directions sang a Journey medley at the Regionals. It was like coming full circle from the first episode when Rachel, Finn, Mercedes, Artie and Tina sang Don’t Stop Believin'. Sure, the regionals version didn't clearly trump their original take on the Journey ditty, but I loved the fact that the minor characters got some solo lines in it. And although New Directions would have done just fine with just Faithfully and Any Way You Want It/Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin', this medley just brought out the crazy fanboy in me.

05. Make You Feel My Love
Season 5, Episode 3

This song seriously changed the entire tone for me. I was able to separate the characters from the actors up until this moment. I somehow felt like the casts' reaction during this performance was how they felt exactly during that moment. It's them crying for Cory and not anymore to Finn the character. Rachel's voice was beautifully raw and I admired her for having the courage to even do this. Thank you!

04. Forget You
Holly Holiday
Season 2, Episode 7

Possibly the most fun performance of the season without all the theatrics and whatnot. Somehow, it had that Season 1 feel to the musical performance. Now, a lot of people I know - including me - didn't like the idea of Gwyneth on the show because she "can't sing", but I have to say her rendition was amazing. If I'm being honest, I've been listening to it non-stop. Ha.

03. Rumor Has It/Someone Like You
The Troubletones
Season 3, Episode 6

This mash-up was by far the best, and not just of this episode, or even of the season. I dare say, one of the best covers the show has ever done, period. The vocals sounded sensational, I thought the arrangement was pretty clever and the choreography was top notch. There was a MASSIVE difference between the New Directions performance compared to The Troubletones. Maybe it's the coach? This was just epic. Enough said. 

02. Teenage Dream
Season 2, Episode 6

THE performance that made Blaine a star! Yes, this was my favorite musical number of the season. I've gushed enough about this song since the preview came out a few days before it actually premiered, but crap! The fact that it was a capella really made me happy since that's VERY glee club. It sounded spectacular, and this made me a Blaine fan. Seriously. Haha. He's just freakin' adorable. 

01. Don't Stop Believin'
Glee Cast
Season 1, Episode 1

The one that started it all! To me, no matter how many great musical performances the cast gives, Don't Stop Believing will always be their signature song that's associated with the show. This defines Glee! Seriously. Everytime I listen to the song or watch their performance, it just brings me back to the day I learned about Glee. Who would've thought that this little show would invade my life. Haha. There's no doubt that this version is just amazing and it still makes my stomach twist with excitement. Thank you, Glee.

Glee: 35 Best Performances by damthenation


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me, but I was hoping to see Get It Right on this list. And I personally love As Long As You're There. I don't know. I was just expecting to see one original song on here.

NuyKU67 said...

I stop watching glee for almost a year, i have my own reasons not glee's fault, now, i'm catching it up again. btw, i already seen your 35 best performance in the episodes, seem like no epsodes later than i've watched have a good performance.

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