Let’s just get one thing out of the way. Season 2 of Glee was just a mess.
But still, I keep following every episode
like a fool. I still love it like a dumbass. Why? QUINN FABRAY. One, the Quinn+Santana+Brittany trio are surely shaping into a favourite among my female ensemble (still way short of the One Tree Hill trio of Peyton+Haley+Brooke of course). Two, I still cling on to the hope that there will be another good episode since Furt. Three, why, the music obviously. It’s really always the music isn’t it?
It’s time to vote people. If Brittana does not work out…
Would you go for a Quinntana?
Or a Quinntany?
Shit that hair is hot.
Answer – neither. I want a threesome in Season 3!
So, Glee has just wrapped up Season 2 with an episode that doesn’t feel like a finale, but I guess it’s Season 1’s fault for setting the bar so high with that climatic combo of New Directions’ Journey medley & Vocal Adrenaline’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”+Quinn’s delivery. Once again however – even with Quinn’s superb hair cut – New Directions lost, this time ranking 12th in the nationals. They blame the kiss, I blame the poor original duet by Rachel & Finn. But hey, just like the lovable (& now, smart?) Brittany said, we have another year together with the people we love, so let’s move on shall we?
Let’s get another thing out of the way. None of the Season 2’s music comes quite close to Season 1’s epicness. Still, music is still music. I’ve done this pointless list for pointlessness for Season 1 (+ 3 songs for Season 2) before here, so in line with that, these are what I personally feel are the best 25 performances in Season 2. Drum rolls…again.
25. “Landslide” by Holly Holiday, Santana & Brittany (S2E15 – Sexy)
My list kicks off with a love-hate song. This quiet, stripped-down performance was gorgeous. The only problem is, what is Gwyneth Paltrow doing barging in the middle annoyingly singing the lead, ruining this..um, “lebanese” love song? This really should have been a Santana-Brittany duet. Ahhhh, the frustration hurts!
24. “One of Us” by New Directions (S2E3 – Grilled Cheesus)
A very very tricky episode on religion was concluded very appropriately with Joan Osborne’s “One Of Us”, reflecting Glee’s tackling of religion in a gentle & open-minded way. I only wished they made it longer on the show.
23. “Tik Tok” by Brittany & New Directions (S2E14 – Blame It on the Alcohol)
What? Brittany’s vocals were heavily auto-tuned? Sounds exactly the same with Kei-dollarsign-a’s original? I have no idea what you are talking about, my mind went blank the moment my eyes were hypnotized completely by Brittany’s choreography execution. Those shoulder humpings. The split. Everything was sublime…up till the throwing up of course.
22. “Welcome Christmas” by New Directions (S2E10 – A Very Glee Christmas)
So heart-warming, even Sue could not resist. Now that’s saying something. With Becky closing the sequence with some “it’s beaauttifull~” sigh-words, & the surprise gift for Artie, you have yourself a merry episode. Ok I still can’t get over the fact that they intentionally left this song out of the Christmas album, instead selling it as a single. Where’s the spirit of giving eh?
21. “Thriller/Heads Will Roll” by New Directions & McKinley High Titans (S2E11 – The Sue Sylvester Shuffle)
Whoever decided on mashing these two tracks up deserves a colossal hug from Lauren Zizes. Dig the whole costume & performance setup too. Michael wouldn’t have complained for sure.
20. “Isn’t She Lovely” by Artie with Finn, Sam, Puck & Mike (S2E20 – Prom Queen)
So what if this song was about a baby. When sung so sweetly by Artie for a girl so endearing like Brittany, this becomes top 20 material. It gets better when the guys join in to support Artie. This is old-school bro style. Brittany’s smitten reaction sealed this for me.
19. “Get It Right & Loser Like Me” by New Directions (S2E16 – Original Song)
Being Glee’s first foray into their own original music, at a stage like Regionals, it’s an accomplishment enough that the tracks didn’t suck. “Loser Like Me” was harmless bubblegum pop, & in “Get It Right”, you can’t go wrong with a power ballad sung almost too easily by Rachel. The reality is, competition song choices are supposed to blow your mind, not just sound average. Fortunately in some way, after their Nationals originals, you will feel this was way better. However, compared to Rachel’s solo stunner at Sectionals & the epic medley at Regionals last season, this is really miles off. Heck, you know something’s wrong when the best things from this season’s competitions are not the songs, but those enduring moments of Rachel & Kurt supporting each other from the stands for each other’s performances respectively.
18. “Just The Way You Are” by Finn & New Directions (S2E8 – Furt)
This episode was about Finn’s redemption in some ways, & he really shone through with moments like this. An odd choice of song as a dedication to Kurt, but still, who are we to complain when there’s just so much to love about everything in this performance, & episode as a whole, topped off with a special moment when a radiant Rachel pushed Kurt into Finn’s hands.
17. “Telephone” by Sunshine & Rachel (S2E1 – Audition)
The first of many toilet dates/duels between the two, this set the bar really high when Rachel decided to take on Sunshine with a Gaga number. Their facial expressions during the square-off were just top-notch stuff, culminating with Coach Sue storming in to stop everything with a bang…or rather, a “shut up!”.
16. “Stop! In the Name of Love/Free Your Mind” by New Directions Dudes (S2E6 – Never Been Kissed)
I always like it when Glee does mash-ups, & just like in Season 1, the mash-ups by genders did not disappoint (even without any performance-enhancing drugs this time around). The guys however scored big time here – they had every of the girls screaming & Beiste smiling at the end.
15. “Forget You” by Holly Holiday & New Directions (S2E7 – The Substitute)
Ahhhh, Gwyneth Gwyneth. This track made it to 15 simply because she completely surprised me with this. Extra points given because the whole Glee club chipped in to make this an extremely joyful sing-&-dance-along performance. Now if only Gwyneth stuck with this & didn’t continue to sing like another 1000 songs on the show, even daring to attempt Adele along the way.
14. “Raise Your Glass” by The Warblers (S2E16 – Original Song)
They f*cked the whole Kurt-Blaine first duet by choosing Hey Monday’s “Candles” (come on, that is so NOT the song for them!!!). I still cringe at the very thought of the whole fiasco. So, thank God when Blaine kicked The Warblers back into gear with this energetic Pink number. “Teenage Dreams” introduced us to Darren Criss, “Raise Your Glass” confirmed that he is a star.
13. “Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again” by Kurt & Rachel (S2E4 – Duets)
Rachel & Kurt together really is the mother of all duets. They don’t always bounce off each other so effortlessly (listen to their unspectacular “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”), but here, the two were just so natural that I felt like I was just seeing a Lea Michelle & Chris Colfer performance. Shucks, they got carried away with themselves, & yes, I got carried along too.
12. “Don’t You Want Me” by Blaine & Rachel (S2E14 – Blame It on the Alcohol)
Put the lead singers from opposing schools together, & a 80’s track modernized with synthesized beats, & you get a show-stopper. Make Blaine go all drunk & goofy-faced, & have Rachel prancing violently around in a horrendous-looking dress, & you get a surprisingly superb cover. Of course, it also helps that Blaine & Rachel share some awesome chemistry, vocally & physically.
11. “Valerie” by Santana, Brittany, Mike & New Directions (S2E9 – Special Education)
There are 3 things that were truly signified for the rest of the season in this particular number; 1 – Santana owned the season & Winehouse with her vocals. 2 – Brittany owned the season & the stage with her stunning dance moves. & 3 – you can never go wrong with a Mike Chang dance number too. Seeing Brittany & Mike flipping off each other on stage is almost better than a Brittany-Santana sex scene (I said ALMOST), & Santana nailed it with her raspy, edgy chops to save their Sectionals after Sam-Quinn’s feeble opener.
10. “Friday” by Puck, Sam & Artie (S2E20 – Prom Queen)
Now you know what happens when an excruciating, horribly-written song is done by Glee with less sound engineering – a really good song! They actually successfully gave enough credit to Rebecca Black’s original & mocked it simultaneously. It’s so brilliant that you could be forgiven for thinking that Black’s version was a parody of this instead. Besides, there are too many classic, memorable scenes in between this song – Santana’s animated expressions throughout, the crowd doing all the “Yeah!”s, the cute choreography, Brittany dry-humping a shocked Mike – but above all else, Puck’s “Whoa, WTF, seriously?” face expression when Sam sang about “tomorrow is Saturday, & Sunday comes afterwards” just killed it for me.
9. “River Deep, Mountain High” by Mercedes & Santana (S2E4 – Duets)
Santana & Mercedes, now what took them so long to put these two together? The two looked like they were having the f*cking time of their lives, singing the shit out of Ike & Tina Turner’s classic. You’d be left breathless & all sweaty after this fiery performance!
8. “Sing!” by Mike & Tina (S2E4 – Duets)
Mike Chang needs no auto-tune in this, winning everybody’s hearts with such an appropriately honest performance about not being able to sing. Of course, who better to complement him but Tina. Talk about playing to each other’s strengths! Hilarious & sweet at the same time, this was the true winner of the duets competition. This was no. 24 in my previous list.
7. “Sing” by New Directions & Sue Sylvester (S2E13 – Comeback)
I know I’m gonna get some real flak by saying this, but this MCR chorus anthem would have always sounded better with a full choir rather than just Gerard Way’s solo vocals. Glee really nailed this with their blazing energy & effort put into each line, & not even Coach Sue oddly appearing alongside New Directions & a misguided choice of outfits could stop this from becoming the epic anthem that it is. Not with Rachel looking freakishly possessed like that.
6. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by Kurt (S2E3 – Grilled Cheesus)
Tissues out. Beautiful, melancholic, & sensitively performed by Kurt, this could make any grown man tear up. Interface it with flashback scenes of a young Kurt with his dad & at his mom’s funeral & you’ve got one of those rare Glee jackpot moments. I couldn’t believe the young kid in the video was not Chris Colfer as a child! This was Kurt’s Golden Globe moment, & he seized it, & totally owned it.
5. “Teenage Dream” by The Warblers (S2E6 – Never Been Kissed)
The song that introduced us to those way-too-happy-&-gay-looking dudes of Dalton High, & the unstoppable charm of Darren Criss, who’s Blaine is actually that happy & gay. Strangely though, I don’t enjoy the song as much in its full single form compared to their shorter cut in the show. Still, the way they turned Katy Perry’s dull original into a sparkling refreshing cover deserves accolades. Quite the stroke of brilliance, really.
4. “For Good” by Rachel & Kurt (S2E22 – New York)
Can I just state the obvious? The best chance of winning any competition for New Directions is not another bloody Rachel+Finn duet, it’s putting Kurt with Rachel! These two are obviously the best match-up in New Directions! Are they all pucking blind (I mean deaf)?! Anyway, this was the sole winning moment in the season finale. It was just simply great to see Rachel & Kurt singing another Wicked epic, especially on an actual Broadway stage, hinting ever so obviously that the two are destined for so much greater things ahead. The moment Kurt starts singing, I had chills, & the closing was just incredible. This was the closest they ever got to their defining “Defying Gravity” spectacular.
3. “I Feel Pretty/Unpretty” by Quinn & Rachel (S2E18 – Born This Way)
The first duet between Quinn & Rachel turns out to be one heck of a genius stroke. It’s not easy to place Quinn’s vocals, which I call oddly-sweet, while my better half just labels it a stuck-nose voice. But TLC’s number (with a little help from West Side Story) served as the perfect platform suited for Quinn’s understated vocal uniqueness & Rachel’s brilliant restraint on her part. Yes Lea Michelle, I actually prefer you in this controlled, constraint mode; it resulted in the most outstanding duet performance of the season. Well, what are the odds that this is the best mash-up by Glee too, with the song’s lyrics providing personal meaning to Quinn & Rachel’s opposing side of their stories. Quinn’s “oh oh oh ohhh..” in the bridge still gives me goose bumps. FYI this is the most played-&-replayed Glee track on my iTunes. Fact.
2. “Dog Days Are Over” by Tina, Mercedes & New Directions (S2E9 – Special Education)
Glee’s first step into the indie world, & what better choice than Florence & the Machine. There are just so many great things about this performance. I always love it when the solos go to Tina, & she really seized it. Alongside her, Mercedes is as dependable as always. Then you have the whole New Directions crew jumping in & raising the roof with such enthusiastic, energetic, heart-felt singing. Now that’s the truly great thing when these things happen; when New Directions goes berserk & lets everything out – no robotic choreography, no audience being forced to clap, no Finn being forced to dance – just the members joining hands doing what they love most. After all the drama in this episode, the dog days may not have been over for them, but it was just a triumphant way of closing with this exceptional performance.
1. “Marry You” by New Directions (S2E8 – Furt)
This is no.1 simply because there was completely nothing missing in this, everything was perfect to the detail. Every Glee member took turns & had the chance to shine, Quinn outshone everyone with a flawlessly sweet section, the song choice was a fresh Bruno Mars track, the whole dance routine was adorable, the girls looked beyond beautiful in their red dresses, & I just love Kurt’s dad & Finn’s mom. Everyone was jovial & honestly, there was so much drama in Season 2, it’s just a relief that for once we could see New Directions truly having fun while performing a number with no pressure or burden hinging on their shoulders. Indeed, they really did look like they were having a jolly good time didn’t they? This momentous scene in Furt capped their best performance of the season in what was also among the season’s best episode (along with E18 – Born This Way & E20 – Prom Queen). You know they did their job well when you can’t even walk into a wedding without thinking about Glee!
Honourable mentions that didn’t make the cut are the awesome flash mob to the tune of “Barbra Streisand”, & of course, the hilarious but actually brilliant “My Headband”, “My Cup” & “Trouty Mouth”.
To compare this list with KV’s 1st Glee Hit List, click here.