10 Numbers from Glee’s Previous Season that Remind Us, “It’s Not So Bad”

So, Glee is…uhhh….yeah...

With its last season roundly criticized (and rightly so), I can’t imagine many people are excited for the season premeire that airs tonight. Me? I will be enjoying the angelic voice of Ramin Karimloo and then hit up my DVR later. I do have my girl, Caroline, in tow writing-up a play-by-play to be included in my formal review…it wouldn’t be a Glee-Cap without her.

I am mixed though – mostly because I can count on Glee to be utter nonsense and there are worse things in the world then that. Just about every new casting and plot spoiler is a big ole “whatevs” to me, but the music has and always will be where it is at. I give you…10 musical performances from last season that kept me from reaching for the Advil on a regular basis.

"Somewhere" - Episode 2, "I am Unicorn"

As you can tell, staging was a pretty big criterion to make this list. Because Glee has a decent batting average of 2-3 good, great or sometimes fabulous songs per episode, it is legitimately hard to pick out 10 from the hundred plus of the season. They have a far greater ratio then Smash, which only had, like, 2-3 great songs all season.

And any doubts of Shelby's return early last season go up in smoke with this reinterpreted West Side Story duet, pairing Idina Menzel's diva voice up with Lea Michele's. The result? Stunning, really. The song works surprisingly well; instead of star-crossed lovers yearning for a future where they can love, we have a mother-daughter combination hoping to be reconciled. Even if the context was a little iffy (hint: it wasn't), these two have such a convincing performance chemistry and always homerun their duets.

"Cool" - Episode 3, "Asian F"

Cathartic doesn't even begin to cover how awesome this song turned out. After two full seasons and then some of no Mike Chang solos (less "Sing" from season 2, and then was hardly what I would call 'singing'), we have a song and choreography combination right up his alley. It was the perfect character and audience moment - we are having fun just as much as he is on stage. Props must be paid to Harry Shum Jr. for selling this performance like donuts.

"It's All Over" - Episode 3, "Asian F"

Now THIS was a flat out staging masterpiece and probably my favorite song all season. I said at the time that it was highly entertaining and it still is to the day. The song edits work, the Dreamgirls character alliteration are not THAT forced, the out-of-scene staging with the costumes are fab, Kurt's falsetto is hilarious and it advanced the plot forward. In short, this is the quintessential musical number Glee should deploy on a more frequent basis.

"Rumor Has It/Someone Like You" - Episode 6, "Mash-Off"

This being the 300th song on Glee, it starting accumulating a buzz long before the episode aired. Having seen a clip in advance, it was a knockout without the context as the mash-up worked and Amber Riley and Naya Rivera's vocals were fantastic (another one of the show's best vocal pairings). Put it in context - Santana playing off her cray cray emotions after Finn 'outed her' (if you can call it that) - and it comes together nicely. This song is one of the few that is 'listenable' without the visual - it's fun to sing on car rides to work (guilty as charged).

"We Are Young" - Episode 8, "Hold on to Sixteen"

This performance just barely made this list, but what sets it apart is the song selection itself. After winning sectionals, Glee, in all 3 seasons, has its "we're going to have fun" number. It didn't take long to convince me that this was the right song and the fact that it was reinterpreted to include a solo scatter throughout the reunited New Directions, only made it more fun and awesome in a nostalgic sing-a-long sort of way.

"Smooth Criminal" - Episode 11, "Michael"

FIERCE AS FU**. Enough said really...that dance-chase trope was one Glee killed with the endless Rachel/Finn duets of yesteryear, but this was beautifully done with energy, tension and sex appeal brimming at every cut and edit. And speaking of, those editing gremlins knocked this one out of the park. And obviously, Rivera and Grant Gustin brought their 'A' games and in an episode filled with some great Michael Jackson numbers, this was the best, hands down.

"Not the Boy Next Door" - Episode 18, "Choke"

I think I said it all in my original post of the episode. In what was clearly one of the most fabulous things to ever wrap earth's space time continuum, CHRIS COLFER prances around and gyrates in GOLD LAME PANTS to a Peter Allen number. Bow the fu** down everyone; Colfer was serving up some flamboyant thespian realness for lifetimes. I have still not recovered and I probably never will.

Flashdance (What a Feeling) - Episode 20, "Props"

Obscure choice, I know, but Glee has its way with 80's cheesefest numbers and even if the actual song choice is questionable, how much fun was this performance?! Um, a lot I would say...two Broadway BFFs exhausting their lady sass and looking fabulous doing it. There is a charm to this performance and a "finally" moment as Michele and Ushkowitz share the spotlight. I dig it.

"It's All Coming Back to Me Now" - Episode 21, "Nationals"

Sure, the sum total of thought put into this song is, "Rachel needs a diva ballad - CELINE DION BIOTCHES. And there we go"...but who cares when the final outcome was fabulously belted and epic?! I don't; it is just a damn impressive performance from a technical and emotional standpoint from a performer who really kicks it up a notch when her character's back is up against a wall.

"Paradise by the Dashboard Light" - Episode 21, "Nationals"

And I have no idea how this song even came into the equation - probably some stoner dude in the back of the writing room with a hard-on for Meat Loaf - but put simply, it is a wonderful group number bringing high-energy and entertainment value courtesy of the entire ensemble hauling ass like this show choir competition is the musical version of "The Hunger Games." Need I say more?

Video Credits: OnMusicGlee YouTube
Video Credits: OnMusicGlee1 YouTube

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