As the tryouts for the school’s rendition of West Side Story continue, the judges (Artie, Emma, Coach Beiste) find it difficult to choose a leading lady between Mercedes and Rachel. The decision is to have them both audition again for the role of Maria; both singing the song of the judges’ choosing. Mercedes is fed up with the way everyone gives Rachel what she wants. Her progress in “Booty Camp” aren’t making things any easier for her either. She has been coming late and not remembering, or just being able to perform, her choreography. Mr. Shuester tells Mercedes that she needs to make more of an effort to improve but Mercedes lashes out at Mr. Shuester and the Glee Club. She says that Rachel doesn’t have to work for anything, she just gets want she wants and she has “outgrown” all of them. As she is about to leave Mr. Shuester tells her that if she leaves she is done with Glee Club. She chooses to stay and audition for her chance to take on Rachel for the role. After the audition Rachel knows instantly that Mercedes is “better than (her)”. The judges call the girls into their office to inform them that they have double-cast the role of Maria so they can share the spotlight. Mercedes doesn’t like this and asks Rachel, in front of the judges, “were you better than me?”. Rachel doesn’t reply and Mercedes tells them that Rachel can have the role because “no one ever wants to hurt (Rachel’s) feelings”. She then goes to Ms. Cocoran and asks to be in her new Glee Club.
Shuester finds Emma’s secret stash of marriage magazines at home. He knows that their relationship is getting serious and marriage may be in the future. He says he is ready to meet Emma’s parents but Emma seems hesitant about it. Later, Will surprises Emma by inviting her parents to dinner. Emma’s mother constantly makes fun of her daughter’s problems with OCD by calling her “Freaky-Deaky”. Emma tells Will that her parents are “Ginger Supremacists” and that’s the reason why she was against them meeting him. After a dinner conversation that dances on the line between ridiculous and racist, Will tells Emma’ s parents that they are racist and insensitive. Kudos for sticking up for your chick Will.
Mike got an “A-” on his chemistry test and his father is convinced that Mike is doing drugs or is just preoccupied with extracurricular activities. He wants Mike to quit the Glee Club so he can bring his grade back up. Mike agrees to go to a tutor and not to tryout for the role of “Riff” in the play. On his way to a scheduled session with his tutor, Mike stops in an empty dance room and weighs his options – with the help of visual projections of Tina and his father’s opinions of him. The judges are ready to pass up Mike’s audition when he shows up. He tells the judges he wants to tryout for Riff and Emma reminds him that role isn’t strictly dancing. He says he knows and that he has been practicing his singing. After his performance the judges are thrilled with Mike’s vocal progress and his dancing is always above the standard. The next day, as Mike is practicing in the dance room, his mother interrupts him and tells him that she always wanted to dance but her parents didn’t allow her to. She tells her son she supports him in whatever he chooses to do. Mike then gives her the dance lessons she always wanted.
Kurt is sure that he has the election for Senior Class President won, since he is only running against Brittany and “no one takes her seriously”. Santana and Brittany confront Kurt and Rachel and tell them they Brittany is a better candidate because there has been no progress within the school since boys have been President for the past six years. Brittany gives a uplifting performance to pretty much guarantee the the vote of the female demographic of the school – I would, personally, vote for anything Brittany wants me to. Later, Rachel decides to join in the race as she fears that she won’t get the leading role in West Side Story because of Mercedes’ second audition. Kurt is upset with Rachel because she was his campaign leader. Rachel says she “needs something for (her) senior year to make her special and standout”. Kurt feels that she wants to be President for her own personal benefit whereas he feels he can inspire people like him to take positions of power. Looks like their new-found friendship may already be hitting the skids…
Spotlight – Mercedes
I do not like this song…at all. That didn’t really sway my opinion one way or the other, but I thought I’d put that out there. Now, RnB is Mercedes’ home court, so it was no surprise that she did well vocally with the song. Lyrically, this was just a silly selection if Rachel was the intended “target”. Spotlight is a song about a man and a woman, not two girls battling it out for the lead role in a high school musical. The song also did very little to showcase why she should be Maria, but based on the judges’ reactions, I’m in the minority with that kind of thinking.
Solid C rating…it was a very average performance that I think I was supposed to enjoy way more than I did.
Run the World (Girls) – Brittany
I LOVE BRITTANY, but I also hate this song…or rather I did, before seeing Beyonce’s video and then I began to semi-not hate it. Regardless, my girl-crush on Ms. Pierce was activated when she belted out the first “Girls!” Vocally this wasn’t as strong as the original; however, coupled with her energy, dancing and Brittany-ness….who cares?! I loved the Santana addition and seeing little Emma’s eyes light up with a spark of female empowerment. This performance really embodied the grrl power spirit of the song. More cute leather skirts for Brittany please!
Solid A rating…when you can make Sue Sylvester cut a tiny little rug in the stands you can guarantee you killed it.
Dancing/Cool – Mike
The pre-performance had Mike dance battling his father’s words, while also finding comfort in Tina’s encouragement. His moves weren’t anything different from what we’ve seen before, but now we know the emotion behind his spins and leaps. The transition to his ‘Cool’ performance was perfect and he definitely has been working on his singing. This being heralded as a huge episode for Mike Chang makes complete sense. Not only do we see heart in his audition, but also a nod to the pressures many high school students (and everyone else!) are under to be who their parents want them to be. Off-topic, but I realized while watching this that I will also think of Roses when I see boys dancing in varsity jackets.
Solid A rating…it might actually be a ‘B’ but I cried, so that added a few extra points.
It’s All Over – Mercedes and (most of) the New Directions
Mercedes finally reached her breaking point. Similar to Effie, she was sick of her star quality being pushed to the background. I enjoyed how the group was incorporated, so much in fact that I’ll look past the inappropriateness of Mr. Schue performing the Curtis Taylor Jr. parts (aka Effie’s ex-lover in Dreamgirls). Everyone sounded great and this song selection really illustrated all of the issues that have been brewing in the glee club. If the writers were using this episode as an opportunity to showcase Mercedes and make viewers understand her plight, they did a great job.
Solid B rating…I was so happy that they didn’t throw on “And I Am Telling You”!
Fix You – Mr. Schue and the New Directions
This performance was perfectly cheesy and fitting. I was a little uncertain when it was just Schue and Emma, but when I went back and watched it again, I appreciated the duality there: He was singing to her, but also to his semi-splintered club. It was a really sweet performance and definitely closed out the night on a somber note. I think we all knew that the episode’s end would find Mercedes heading over to the “other” glee club.
Solid B rating…Mr Schue’s voice was oddly Kurt-esque at the beginning.
“It’s not about doing your best anymore, it’s about doing better.” – Mr. Schue
“If you’re serious about you and me, why haven’t I met your parents?” – Mr. Schue
::sputters:: “Uh….they’re dead.” – Emma
“You spoke to them on the phone last night.” – Mr. Schue
“I spoke to their ghosts last night, I have ghost parents.” – Emma
“Mercedes don’t make this a stupid pride thing.” – Artie
“Oh, it’s a pride thing. But it’s not stupid.” – Mercedes
“I got an A- Tina.” – Mike
“You got an Asian F?!” – Tina
“…that was some really fancy footwork. Let’s hope you didn’t waste too much of your time.” – Coach Beiste
“It’s what I love to do. It’ll never be a waste of my time.” – Mike (about dancing)
“We don’t hate anyone. We just enjoy the company of other redheads. Which is why we enjoy The Red Oaks so much.” – Mrs. Pillsbury
“What’s The Red Oaks?” – Will
“It’s a ‘gingers only’ country club.” – Mrs. Pillsbury