Paradise By The Dashboard Light
This is my favorite Glee performance of them all. They absolutely deserved to win Nationals for this and it's genuinely MILES ahead of their season 2 Nationals performance. This is one of the few songs where we actually got to see the entire song being sung. Some people theorize that it's because this was the 400th musical number in the show, but I personally think they just couldn't cut anything out because it's all so good. The vocals, choreography, everything is on point. Even Lea's oversinging works well here. I've always been surprised that this isn't a more popular cover. Meat Loaf WHO? I don't know her.
Dancing With Myself
Kevin McHale had the best voice of the original male cast members and I will absolutely die on that hill. This was the first solo he got on the show and it remains one of my favorites.
Run Joey Run
Yes, I'm serious. This performance is iconic. It's terrible but it's supposed to be terrible. Even then, the vocals aren't awful and the visuals are incredible. Brittany and Santana as angels? Stephen Tobolowsky's character as Julie's dad? The "Bang" gun? Cory Monteith's facial expression as he sings about his hands being red? This was before Glee started taking itself way too seriously. It's by far one of the funniest and most memorable performances from the series. Additionally, the song was continuously brought up by multiple characters throughout the series, bringing a rare continuity nod to the show.
I Feel Pretty/Unpretty
A great performance all around. This, along with the original DSB and the Adele mashup are probably the 3 most popular performances of the entire show. Dianna Agron and Lea Michele's voices blend together surprisingly well. The song suits Dianna's higher-pitched voice well and Lea is not overdoing it.
And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going
Amber fucking Riley, everybody. She killed this song and it isn't hard to see why she later went on to have success in Dreamgirls on stage. Mercedes was supposed to sing this song at Sectionals, but Sue leaked the setlist so we got Rachel doing Don't Rain On My Parade instead (because of course we did) and everyone instantly forgot about this amazing cover. Tragic.
Anything Goes/Anything You Can Do
I included this at the end of my previous post as one of my favorite Glee songs and I had to put it here too. Harmony (whose name I had to Google) only appeared in two episodes and performed two different songs, and she absolutely killed both of them. Her actress, Lindsay Pearce, was one of the runners-up on The Glee Project (which is absolutely laughable because she was miles better than both of the winners). Now, I'm pretty sure I can guess why she was the only one of the five Glee project contestants who made it on the show to not get an extension beyond her original intended arc. (That reason rhymes with Nea Richele). In her two appearances, she outsings 97% of Glee's regular cast members. She had personality, stage presence, and incredible vocals. That said, she was probably too good for Glee, and the actress now appears on Broadway. Good for her. (Her cover of Buenos Aires is amazing as well, but I didn't want two performances from the same minor character on the list)
Getting Married Today
An unusual choice, but Amber Riley and Jayma Mays absolutely slay this song. Matthew Morrison is there too, but he manages not to ruin it. Glee songs were the best when 1 - they were included because they fit the storyline and not because they were popular and 2- when they utilized the strengths of several cast members. Mercedes nails the opera/gospel style parts and Emma spits out words faster than I knew was possible - in fact, I found out while compiling this post that the Glee version was actually made to be faster and higher-pitched than in the original Company musical.
(Also, Emma, girl, I don't blame you for running but you shouldn't have come back)
Toxic (Season 5)
The season 2 version of this song was absolutely terrible and doesn't exist. I said what I said. I mentioned in my "Worst Of" list how Lea Michele should not have been given ...Baby One More Time to sing in the original Britney tribute episode, as she oversings and just can't nail what made Britney Spears so successful. However, Quinn, Santana, and Brittany show us how to do a Britney Spears cover the right way. A fun, poppy cover with a little choreography and no overdoing it.
Up Up Up
Quinn and Artie had two duets during the series and they were both in the same episode. I mentioned Up Up Up as one of my favorites in the last post, but I also wanted to put it here. It's a genuinely fun number. I'm not going to get in to the weird Quinn-in-a-wheelchair plotline, but I always enjoyed when we got a duet beyond the usual Rachel/Finn, Kurt/Blaine, Rachel/Kurt pairings. I liked their duet of "I'm Still Standing" a lot as well.
I Will Always Love You
Much like I didn't intend the Worst Of list to be so Blaine-heavy, I didn't intend to have this list be so Mercedes-heavy, but I guess I'm not too surprised. The episode this song was in notably aired less than a week after the tragic death of Whitney Houston and, as a result, this particular cover got a lot of attention. As a result, Ryan Murphy rushed into making a full Whitney Houston tribute episode that aired four episodes after this one. (Annoyingly, that episode did not give Mercedes a solo, but we did get to see Kurt and Blaine desecrate her memory)
Like A Prayer
The Madonna episode had several great covers, but I think this is probably my favorite. I do wish Rachel's part had been given to Mercedes, but the inclusion of the gospel choir was a very creative idea and put a whole new spin on the song. While compiling this post, I found out that the gospel singer that Mercedes is dancing next to for part of the song is actually Amber Riley's mother. Adorable!
Losing My Religion
While I don't really understand why Ryan Murphy thought Cory/Finn had the voice to back up being the male lead, when he was given a song that actually fit his voice, it turned out very well. Probably the most common example is "Jessie's Girl", but I think Losing My Religion is probably my favorite.
Rumour Has It/Someone Like You
Never Can Say Goodbye
I love the whole lounge singer-vibe this song has. If you would have told me back in season one that the show would do a Michael Jackson episode and one of the best songs would be done by Quinn, I would have thought you were joking (I love Quinn/Dianna but she needs to be given the right songs). Human Nature and Smooth Criminal are also very good, but I chose to put this one here because there's a lot of Mercedes already and while I like Smooth Criminal, I've never loved it the way most people do. This song fit both Dianna Agron's voice and Quinn's character arc.
It's All Over
Now, this is a good example of a song where including Will with the students works very well. This is a different style of song than the ones Glee usually did, and I think it shows that the cast had fun with it. Although I really freaking wish they would have given Kurt's part to someone else, because dear Lord.
I Can't Go For That/You Make My Dreams
As I mentioned in the last post, this is often overshadowed by the amazing Adele mashup from the same episode, but it's still very good. With Mercedes, Santana, and Brittany defecting to the TroubleTones, you'd think Rachel would be given parts in every song, but surprisingly, Quinn and Tina take the lead here. I always found Quinn and Tina to be even more underutilized than Mercedes and Santana, so it was nice to see them get some attention here.
Take My Breath Away
This song is one of the few Glee covers that I think is better than the original version. I never cared for the original song, but here, Dianna Agron and Naya Rivera's voices blend together so well. It's a very chill song - the kind I can imagine listening to while driving home late on a warm summer night. And that is my favorite kind of song. I wish these two had gotten another duet at some point.
It's My Life/Confessions
This is just an absolute bop. This was, I believe, the first mashup in the series, and it delivered. These two songs are complete opposites but they work so well together. Artie's facial expressions during his solo are hilarious as well.
We Are Young
Glee actually covered this song before it got popular and it's an incredibly fun (get it?) cover. There's no choreography, but you can tell the cast is having fun shooting it. From Finn and Rachel's opening, Santana taking most of the second verse, and Quinn taking the "Carry me home tonight" background vocals, this song managed to exercise the strengths of multiple cast members.
The first season of Glee actually saw Artie and Mercedes taking the lead in group numbers semi-frequently. I like this cover a lot because the vocals are pleasant, the wheelchair choreography is interesting, and it also doesn't try to be exactly the same as the original version. Are they Creedence Clearwater Revival or Tina Turner? No, but they're not trying to be, unlike in later seasons where you can tell they're trying to outdo the original artist, rather than simply covering them.
Yeah, I put all three Mercedes Dreamgirls performances on this list, because they're all great. It really is not surprising Amber Riley went on to star in the musical on stage.
Another One Bites The Dust
I had to stick at least one Groff solo on this list, and I think this one is my favorite. Bohemian Rhapsody is the more popular one, but I hate every version of that song. It's a good thing Groff and Lea were such good friends, because I don't think he would have continued to come back otherwise. I think Rachel gets egged after this performance too, which is always fun to watch.
Don't Stop Believing
You can't really have this list without some form of Don't Stop Believing, and I've always liked the original best.
From one Journey song to another. I did not like Finn and Rachel as a couple, nor did I like the majority of their duets. This one, however, was great. It's emotional and sweet. Lea overdoes it in a few parts but not so badly that it ruins the song.
This competition was strange. Due to Mercedes, Santana, and Brittany competing as the Troubletones, as well as Rachel being disqualified for...I think rigging the school election, Tina and Quinn were the only girls on stage for New Directions during this competition. Tina takes lead, Quinn gets a couple solo lines, and
Back to Black
I figured it was appropriate to end with a Santana song, and this one has always been my favorite. Not everyone can pull off Amy Winehouse, but Naya Rivera does a good job here. Most people like to talk about Valerie, which is admittedly very good, but I've always thought the slower pace of Back to Black suited Naya's voice better.
Now, for my two honorable mentions, which I made honorable mentions because I know they won't be popular choices, but I wanted to include them anyway.
Kurt, you might have gotten in to NYADA if you would have performed this. I think this and I Want To Hold Your Hand are by far the best solos Chris Colfer had on the show. I also like how they switched names around from the original, which they didn't always do.
Over The Rainbow
This here is the only Will solo from the whole show that I actually like. While compiling this post, I found that Matthew Morrison actually auditioned for the show with this song and I can see why he got the part. This song is soothing and the whole scene is just a mood-booster. This was a great way to end the first
All but two of these are from the first 3 seasons, oops.
Anyway, what songs did I miss, ONTD?
How bad is my taste?
(Be on the lookout for another original Glee post I plan to make soon - Why Will Schuester was the Biggest Creep on TV)
My eyes and ears
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