Previously on Glee: Yes/No
With Sebastian’s Warblers focused on “doing Michael” for the upcoming regional performance the New Directions are out to prove they are better suited for the task. In between all the impressive performances we had: blossoming love, college acceptance letters, an engagement (that may be called off), and rock salt…? I was worried that the show was just going to focus on the musical numbers and there was going to be no real progression in the storyline but, thankfully, I was wrong.
Sebastian v Santana: By now we all know that Santana is the obvious choice when it comes to leading the charge to conflict. Now we know that Sebastian can be just as aggressive on his side. From Santana calling Sebastian “twink” (HILARIOUS) at the coffee shop, to their spirited duel during “Smooth Criminal”, we got a glimpse into just how similar the two characters are. Even though I’m always going to side with Lima Heights Adjacent’s own “Auntie Snix” in a head-to-head battle, Sebastian was a worthy adversary. Also, underboob. Thank you.
Let That Boy Dance! I’ve said it since the day I saw his Safety Dance performance: Artie is the best dancer on the New Directions roster (Sorry Brit and Mike). Earlier in the week I was asking for Artie to just do some variation of the moonwalk in his wheelchair but what I got was him and Mike Chang gyrating those hips like the sexual dynamos they are. I understand I’m only going to get around one standing dance scene from Artie per season and this one may have been my favorite to date.
Trouty Mouth Kiss: Since returning to McKinley, Sam hasn’t tried to hide feelings for Mercedes – even though she has a mountain of a boyfriend at the moment. Mercedes had done a decent job at keeping Sam at bay…but you heard that boy sounding like Michael during their duet! She didn’t have a chance! The relationship they had was veiled by summer vacation but it would be nice to see how they interact with each other as couple, if only for a few weeks.
NYADA or Nothing: After Rachel finds out that Kurt received his finalist letter to NYADA, when she hasn’t, she goes into a panic. I understand that she has put all her eggs in one basket, so to speak, but don’t make a life-altering decision while you’re in the moment. I never thought she would agree to marry Finn but that temporary unexpected plot twist ruined that. I just don’t think Finn will be able to handle Rachel’s antics anymore when she tells him that she just agreed to the marriage as a band-aid to her not getting into NYADA at the time.
Musically, this episode completely surpassed my expectations, which I based on last year’s Britney/Brittany as a remote indication of how well Glee was going to pay homage to the ‘prince of pop’. They picked all the right songs from Michael Jackson’s massive catalog and paired them with the best performers…and moments…and even singers. It’s impossible to give any of the performances anything less than an A, and believe me, that’s even after adding/deducting points like crazy.
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – Blaine
I loved this as an intro.
Blaine’s usual showmanship was at the top of its game and his Michael mannerisms were amazing. The tempo of the song was a little different, which Glee does from time-to-time, I just hope MJ-enthusiast weren’t too annoyed by that. The outfits were fun, although Finn’s sequined football jersey confused me a bit (maybe it was a nod to the Thriller performance from last year?) and Santana actually favored Michael circa the early 90s. Definitely a fun way to start the night.
Bad – The New Directions v. The Warblers
I loved this as the moment when things got ‘real’.
Kurt has the best MJ vocals of anyone on the cast. And yes, I fully stand by that statement. Santana was really the only other person, outside of Puck, that could have helped him pull this song off in terms of “badness”. The choreography here was amazing, even if one moment reminded me of this Save the Last Dance scene. Sebastian, who I know I’m supposed to hate now, should lead musical gang fights all the time. I hate to nitpick, but I did wish they’d followed the Bad music video a little closer.
Scream – Artie and Mike
I loved this for being relevant to Artie’s turmoil.
OMG. Not only did they succeed at copying one of the most expensive videos ever made, but Artie danced. Anytime Artie gets to sing AND dance, it’s going to be a winning performance. The minor revisions they made to the iconic choreography and the spin on the brother/sister dynamic by going with Mike and Artie, both of which could have ruined this if done wrong, was so perfect. The only thing missing was Santana, or perhaps even Quinn or Brittney, in some of Janet’s costuming from the video.
Never Can Say Goodbye – Quinn
I loved this for being unexpected.
Quinn looked gorgeous. Not only was she saying goodbye to all of her high school sweethearts (Sam being the hottest), but it was Dianna Agron’s swan song to the show, as well as the fans. Quinn has been annoyingly immature this season, but this performance really redeemed her…at least for me. Her voice was soft and understated, which is a great example of how well they did with picking the songs. Better to leave the grandstanding to the other cast members.
Human Nature – Sam and Mercedes
I loved that this was so incredibly romantic.
I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but anytime a song is done acoustically, it has a good chance of being the better version. I’m not saying they did this one better than Michael, but it’s definitely my favorite rendition. Ever. We never really got to see this couple actually be a couple, so I’m hoping this amazing duet is just one of many moments we’ll have from them for the remainder of the season. The chemistry was great, both musically and visually. The kiss at the end left much to be desired, but it can be excused since everything leading up to it was so perfect.
Ben – Kurt, Finn, Rachel and Blaine
loved liked the tender moment between this foursome.
With the show’s power couples and fan favorites all singing a ballad to each other, I probably should have swooned and/or melted. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Nothing against the song, or even the characters, but I felt that this was one of the weaker performances of the night. Blame the soft-tempo performance that came before it for setting the bar so high.
Smooth Criminal – Santana v. Sebastian
I loved this for being a duel.
This wasn’t a diva off…but it felt like one. Also, there were cellos and those cellos were dueling too, which was the most amazing thing of the night. Given the background of both characters, the ad libs (“Do you want it baby?”) shouldn’t have made me think these two were going to end up mauling each other in a nearby motel post-performance, but it did. Everything about these two was hot. They circled each other like wild animals and attacked with song. I’m not sure there will be another reason for them to face-off musically again, so I’m content with rewinding and re-watching. This was my Toxic of the night.
I Just Can’t Stop Loving You – Finn and Rachel
I loved that this was Rachel’ ‘Yes, I’ll marry you.’
Of course Rachel would realize how much she loves Finn while they’re doing the one thing she loves the most. It was nice that they didn’t send them off into the school or outfit them in something ridiculously out of the New Directions budget, but instead did it “old school”, in the room where there love blossomed. When Finn sings it reminds me to like him, which I haven’t had the easiest time doing this season, so bonus points for that.
Black or White – The New Directions (and a few dancing Warblers)
Cool as a closer.
Lyrically, this was a tad of stretch. The Warblers don’t hate the group because of race, gender, orientation, class or any of the other usual reasons for -isms, they just want to win. But there was no way they could do this episode without throwing this in, so I respect the loosely tied relevance. I never was and will never be a fan of Bill Bottrell’s rap on the original, but only Artie could have pulled that off without adding to its corniness. Although there wasn’t any smashing of cars, they did do the other most memorable part of this video: morphing of faces from various genders and races.