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Category: Idiot Box

Happy New Year – The Koreans Invade Again, & This Time They’ve Gone Mad

Okay, I’m wading waaa-a-a-y deep into dangerous territory here – I actually feel the need to produce a review on a Korean album.

I think it’s time you & I accepted the fact that the previous post was not a fling, it has now grown into a full-bloomed relationship based on commitment & faith. The Mayans did not help me by ending this phase (& the universe as we know it) for me, so hope of salvaging what dignity of mine that is left is lost. I’m officially a new fan of SNSD.

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Which can only mean, you can hate the noise of K-pop, but you can’t help but love the Girls. & you sure as hell can’t help loving Taeyeon.

How much more wonderful can this immature misguided child within me feel knowing that 2013 will start with SNSD releasing “I Got A Boy” the single, the music video, & the long-awaited album. Well okay, long for the other crazed fans – I just embraced this freak of nature phase a couple of months ago.

& it’s complete bonkers. The craziest irregular doped-up shit I’ve heard since…“Bohemian Rhapsody”. Yea, so shoot me for sinfully mentioning Queen in the same breath as SNSD.

I’ve seen this more times than I dare to admit. It’s got all the ingredients I generally despise – electro dance, hip-hop, dub steps, that annoying buzzing tiuuutiititiitititiiuuuu tune scattered all around, the ending that should have probably come a full minute earlier. It’s messy, it’s too colourful, it’s overblown.

But not everything can be deduced by science, because the end result of all this concoction & hybrid of, what…5-6 songs perhaps? I absolutely LOVE IT.

It’s beyond crazy, chaotic, confusing, & it sounds like the writers & the Girls are both high & drunk. It is sublimely FEROCIOUS.

I love the out-of-their-comfort-zone zest & ambition. I love the girls’ relentless swagger & confidence. I love how Taeyeon is totally – majestically – owning it from 1:06 to 1:19. Heck, I even love the amateur rapping (Yoona, seriously? How adorable!). & Yuri, goodness she looks terrific! (those Aviators are killing it) That opening show-tunes-like sequence (right up till Tiffany launches them into overblown hip-hop mode) is quite brilliant. & the more energetic choreography is the best I’ve seen since their all-time-greatest, the powerful “Into the New World” & the Swiss-like-precision “Genie”.

gg-12

Good luck to the rest if anyone’s gonna top this madhouse. What a way to blaze into 2013.

So it is just too rather unfortunate that the rest of the 9 songs in the album fizzles out & does not match the ambition & unexpectedly glorious mess of the first track. Notable ones are scarce – “Express 999” comes closest. Before long I found myself cutting back to track no.1 & replaying that many many many times.

This brings me back to the Japanese album they released just a couple of months back in November 2012, “Girls’ Generation II – Girls & Peace”. Now that was a pretty decent pop album.

Girls' Generation - Girls' Generation II - Girls & Peace - (Limited Edition) (CD+DVD)UPCH-29127

More importantly, amongst the good tracks – from the eclectic “Flower Power”, the cool “T.O.P.”, the catchy “Girls & Peace”, the sweeping cheesy ballads of “All My Is Love For You” & “Not Alone”, lies a hidden gem which I think ranks among the best from the 9 girls. That song, ladies & gentlemen, is called “Stay Girls”.

Now why this did not get released as a single would boggle me (just like the other hidden gem from TTS – “Baby Steps”), but “Stay Girls” rounds up the whole Girls’ Generation music style, theme & journey pretty well. It’s radio-friendly, catchy, & has that anthem-like feel, the kind of song you want them to sing as a final encore in their concerts, & the kind of song you definitely want to hear on the last day of Earth (or the last day before Girls’ Generation decides to retire).

No single? No video? No problem…leave it to the fans. Surely this is a befitting fan-made video for the lovely track.

In any case, “Girls & Peace” might have been the better album compared to “I Got A Boy”, but I will be last person to complain about SNSD. Is one leading single, a quite stunning one at that, enough to save the album & sustain the Girls’ all-conquering hold? I don’t know, but if there’s one thing I’m absolutely sure about, is that I’m damned well pleased to see them return. Welcome back girls!

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The Unexpected Korean Invasion

Today, I am going to speak about K-Pop.

No, I’m not having a near-death epiphany. No, as far as I can recall I have not had any recent ear, brain or heart transplant. No, no one has hacked into my blog account & posted this blasphemy of an article.

But before I begin my case, let me slip in a quick word on a song that everyone’s been hyped-up about – Adele doing “Skyfall”, the latest Bond track. If no one is going to say it, then I’ll say it – DISAPPOINTING. I’m gonna get a lot of flak about this (well I’m gonna get even more flak after you finish reading till the end of this entry, but save that for later), because I seem to be the only one who thinks “Skyfall” is not as good as everyone thinks it is. Fret not for this is of no fault of the untouchable Adele, or Daniel Craig (fine, takde kaitan). Listen to it properly & you should realize that the song is just a mundane Bond theme rehash. Yes, Adele’s always-brilliant vocals lends some credibility to it, but the song’s rather ho-hum.

BACK TO THE TOPIC PLEASE? WHAT THE HECK WAS IT YOU WERE SAYING ABOUT THE KOREANS?

Yea, about that. So back to the world domination of the Koreans. I’m not going to touch on my eternal love for Janice & Sonia of Jayesslee. Nor am I referring to the giants of Samsung, or the emergence of Hyundai’s cheap plastics challenging the equally cheap plastics of Honda & the even cheaper plastics of Toyota. I’m certainly not going to reinforce the impact of the dreaded Korean pretty-boy-disease (you know, that disease that makes men look like lesbian women but women still fall for them, so basically everyone will end up looking like women by the time the world ends?) that’s spreading all the way here. I’m not even touching on a specific topic.

I’m touching on 9.

Yes, the bandwagon has long left & replaced by a giant jumbo plane, but I’ve finally discovered my soft spot for SNSD/Girls’ Generation.

SAY WHAT?!

Yup, still me here, completely normal, no brain seizure or anything.

Now, let me be clear. I am completely aware that this is going against all of my beliefs for the past 2 decades of my mature life. 9 girls in a group? Manufactured artists? Cutesy outfits? Generally mediocre vocals? No songwriting or instrumental skill & credits? All check check check.

THEN WHAT IS IT THEN?!

Let me enter my defense. I do not see SNSD as musicians or singers. Take a step back & look at them as entertainers. Now you get a whole different picture. Dang, here I am, sheepishly admitting that I have to eat my own bloody words. Humble pie is served.

Trust me, they are not just another typical K-pop dancing group. Well okay, they are, but wait, they have something extra – they are really really genuinely likeable. Hmm, not a very strong case point is it? Try multiplying that likeability factor by 9, & you get a better idea. Look at them individually, & all you see are just decent, normal-looking girls making a living doing what they do best. & yes, turns out I’ve been wrong all this while – they don’t all look alike, in fact each of them have charming contrasting individual traits of their own! Humble pie no.2!

BUT…BUT…THESE ARE EXACTLY THE TYPICAL TYPE OF ARTISTS YOU WOULD CRUCIFY, BURN IN THE FURNACE TO BITS!

Ok, calm down. Strip off those outrageously addictive dance choreography in “Gee”, “Hoot”, “Genie” (well, basically almost all their music videos), those stunning supernatural legs, the whole “cheerleader effect”. Put aside their fluffy pop songs, or the fact that they sound less-than-stellar live except when they lip-sync. I like this group very much. I truly enjoy the girls as people. In fact, I’ve been having even more of a good time watching their heartfelt interviews, their hilarious antics during those ridiculously-addictive variety shows & their many “reality” stories compared to their immensely popular music videos on Youtube. You gotta check out their appearances in shows like Star Golden Bell, Star King, Running Man, Beatles Code, Night Star, Family Outing…the list is really long. My favourite has to be their shout-fest in Intimate Note though.

In case you can’t identify them. Took me considerable effort to. But not they’re impossible to forget.

I don’t even care about all the general hate & criticism splashed on them on their lack of originality, or all that talk about plastic surgery, that everything is staged & gimmicky. Never mind the fact that I don’t understand a word of their songs or when they speak, except “SNSD, fighting!”. BECAUSE I DON’T GIVE A DAMN. THEY MAKE ME HAPPY. PERIOD. Because what I see are 9 hardworking women who are such a pleasing vision on screen, a shining beacon of the female species, a triumphant…ok, you get where I’m going. The point is, they are natural during interviews, laughing (more like guffawing violently, really), making a fool of themselves, poking constantly at each other without an ounce of embarrassment, almost nonchalantly. It might be all just acting, with all the pressure of upholding-the-image & all, but they project no sense of pretension or falseness. & I like that.

Yes, they make me smile. None more than Kim Taeyeon.

The standout – Taeyeon

No, this is not a Bang & Olufsen advert. But it sure is an effective one without being one.

She’s not the most attractive of women, but as you watch & listen to more of her, it is bloody impossible to not fall for her! I struggle to reach out for superlatives other than those that are already over-used by fans who adore her just as much. Dorky, cute, yada yada yada. All true. & it goes without saying she is the best singer of the lot (not saying much, as far as I can tell only Taeyeon, Tiffany & SeoHyun can really sing anyway), & among the best from her country. Queen of the drama soundtracks. I love this girl to bits. I love how endearing & expressive she can be, yet still be reserved & understated; a quiet steely leader. This is a girl who makes the whole group (& the planet) smile when she smiles.When she cries, it’s almost like the end of the world.

The legendary adorable-gawky side of Taeyeon, unleashed. She’s so cute you just wanna put her in your pocket.

& she can look insanely hot too – “Run Devil Run” video

This is truly one of the most invigoratingly fascinating artist I have ever come across.

HMMM…THIS I GOTTA AGREE. SPOT-ON.

Her vocals are solid, but they are not exactly out of this world either. Lea Salonga & Fan Wei Qi still ranks above her in my Asians vocal list. In fact, I didn’t even idenitfy her X-factor (for the lack of a better word, I apologize) until I listened to her drama soundtracks & her solo live performances. There are times she does not really hit all the high notes precisely, but they are always breathtaking – it’s the way she casts aside her persona & all the reservations & expected formality, & pours her all into the songs she performs. The sensitivity & delicate poignancy in her chilling delivery during her live performances are just beautiful.

So far, “Closer” & “If” are my personal standouts from her

Of course, in SNSD, Taeyeon’s not the only star. I adore Tiffany’s husky vocals & that stunning eye-smile as much as any other SNSD’s crazed fans. Sweet Yoona is always a favourite with everyone, & I like how honest & humble she is during their interviews. Not a fan of Jessica’s weak vocals, but her slow ‘dumb-blonde’ antics are quite a hoot during those game shows.

Tiffany’s infamous eye-smile & wink

Yoona, probably the one with the biggest fan base

Sigh. On any other day, I would not have believed that I would reach this point in my life. & trust me, even I couldn’t trust myself, which is why I had given myself a couple of weeks to diagnose myself before coming to this unspeakable conclusion. This is not a sudden crush-at-first-sight, as I remember the first time I saw SNSD was 2-3 years back, their hand-made-by-Angels legs on display in their “Genie” video, playing on a 51-inch 3D Samsung LED TV at a Samsung fair in 1Utama, & it wasn’t until now that their spell finally worked on me. My better half has constantly ridiculed & poked fun at me, & friends have not been too kind either. I remember mentioning to San Yin during the first week of this phase that “at least their songs have not entered my car audio”. Because that is the ultimatum. When music gets inducted into my car audio, it’s like winning a Grammy.

Well, serve me humble pie no.3 because it took just another 2 weeks from that point before 17 of SNSD’s bubbly, harmless songs (plus 5 solo tracks of Taeyeon’s & 1 from TTS) survived my QC & auspiciously infiltrated my car USB playlist. Alarm triggered!

THANK YOU SO MUCH, WHAT AN HONOUR…CAN’T BELIEVE 9 GIRLS COULD SQUEEZE INTO A CAR RADIO…

Perhaps, this is indeed a phase that needs getting over with. An early-life-crisis of sorts. Perhaps this is just an aftermath of my dreadful spine condition. Perhaps, this is a side effect of all the physiotherapy sessions & medications. Perhaps I’ve really hit rock bottom & gone bonkers. Perhaps my music tastes, something I’ve pride myself with, something of which I have set standards so high, have gone haywire.

Let me check – nope, still despise Bieber & Minaj.

But that’s the thing, I don’t really care. It’s a little like falling in love –  you don’t know why, you can’t explain it, but you are just in love & you feel like the sunshine is shining out of holes you’d never find sunshine in. I’d eat my 4th humble pie right now because at the end of the day, watching & listening to Taeyeon & her 8 wonderful members carves a loopy, guilty smile on my face. It radiates a flutter of warmth to my heart & chest, & exudes significant relief to the burdening pain of my work life & my worrisome screwed-up spine. Now isn’t that what music is supposed to be for? It has always been for an acquired taste, at the right moment & mood. Thus at this point of my life – when playing the piano & strumming my guitar is not enough of an satisfaction anymore, when driving around in Sonia (the car, not the twin) is not quite enough too, when Jayesslee has no new video updates – apparently, 9 Korean girls led by Kim Taeyeon are just exactly what the therapist ordered, exactly I want & need.

This has been quite an eye-opening confession, I must say! Still, it’s not a KV revolution of course, I still detest & do not comprehend the noise of K-pop in general. But let’s just say SNSD (& specifically, Taeyeon) has not only earned my love, even more, they have earned my respect. This online fan quote summarizes the vision I’m having in my head right at this moment best. It was during their pre-debut days more than 5 years ago, when the girls were given a day off. While the rest of the members went to relax & do some shopping,  young Taeyeon walked around alone, standing at a bridge overlooking a river:

“Remember Kim Taeyeon, 2007, just a scared young girl with big dreams, standing at the bridge alone shouting ‘I can do it!’. No one knew who she was and no one would stop by to listen.

Five years later, she is the leader of Korea’s national girl group, a girl who made her dreams come true, standing on the most prestigious stages with eight others as Girls’ Generation. The name everyone has come to know, respect and love. And when she sings, the world listens.

Kim Taeyeon, you did it.”

A bold statement, but a fitting one. Gotta give credit where it is due, these girls are sure hardworking.

I don’t know how long this childish infatuation will last, but I know it makes me gleeful for now. But you should not trust me too much. After all, I do seem like the only person on this planet that disapproves of Adele’s “Skyfall”.

In case you still need convincing of Taeyeon’s awesomeness, here’s a look at her amazing “Devil’s Cry” intro before “Run Devil Run” during their Japan Tour last year. Always gives me the chills.

The 3rd Glee Hit List: 25 Of The Best, Season 3…

& with that, Glee wrapped up 3 seasons. & Finn just broke with Rachel. Again. Snore.

I think I’ve took this long to type out this list for multiple reasons. Chief among them – to calm myself down & look at this with less emotion, more impartially perhaps. & guess, what? No Quinn Fabray solo in the list! Now you know I’m kept this list bias-free, unlike the previous 2 lists for Season 1 & 2. Almost. But now that I’ve mentioned my gorgeous Quinn Fabray, let’s spare a moment to see how they screwed up her character development, again. I mean, sure, they ignored her in Season 2, then gave her much more screen time in Season 3. Which apparently is not such a good thing.

Bang, talk about an entrance! I still have fantasies about this skanky, absolutely spanking look. Me digs Quinn in rebellious mode very much.

Suddenly she’s back in her clean short-blonde look IN THE NEXT EPISODE. Not that I’m complaining, she still looks boner-worthy. But she’s bitching about getting her baby back & gives Puck that death stare of hers that could make his mohawk fall off. This is the phase where Quinn goes berserk, almost bizarre.

Bonkers crazy Quinn lasted a couple of annoying episodes before she discovered a moment of epiphany & went all-wise & mature, BFF-ing with Rachel & gets reinstated as Cheerios captain (hurray!). & still looking insanely sexy.

Then she did something you should never ever do on the road, text while wearing pink & driving a pink Beetle. Because when you’re driving a pink blob of an automotive vehicle, you know you’re gonna get rammed by a truck.

Now she’s on a wheelchair. Paralyzed, but still managing to give the Glee Project winner a boner. Yucks, but am not surprised, who can blame poor Joe?

But hey! She’s miraculously back on her feet during prom night within a few episodes. I mean, WTF? Right after that she’s already dancing & looking f**k-worthy on stage during Nationals. & all end’s well as she sails towards the horizons of Yale. WOW. She had a baby, she went from Cheerios captain to a nobody to Cheerios captain, she dyed her hair pink, she went through four dudes, she was paralyzed, she is always supernaturally hot, & she still had time to study for Yale?!

I love you Quinn, but boy is your story mad as a hat. Poor Q.

Thank God for Santana.

Yes, Season 1 belonged to Quinn, Season 2 had Brittany tied with Blaine. & Season 3’s outstanding character was without a single Lebanese doubt Miss Lopez.

PART I: THE GOOD

Which brings me to my point, you can’t really be ever satisfied with the storyline of this peculiar series called Glee. In fact, I’ve grown a little tired, so it was with quite some relief to see some major characters embarking on new journeys at the end of the season. Thankfully, you can at least trust Glee to deliver on the music-front, which makes it quite easy to single out 25 performances that I personally deem are the best from the season. & in this particular order, let’s bring out the guns.

25. “We Got The Beat” by New Directions (S3E01 – The Purple Piano Project)

First song to kick Season 3 off & they got it right off the first note of this The Go Go’s classic. I wanna go to a high school with cheerleaders with short skirts who jump, dance & gyrate wildly on top of canteen tables like Santana & Brittany, please.

24. “Anything Goes/Anything You Can Do” by Harmony & prospective NYADA applicants (S3E01 – The Purple Piano Project)

A nod to the clear prowess of Harmony (Glee Project’s runner-up Lindsay Pearce) whose performance was so flamboyantly exciting it led to a hilarious scene of Rachel & Kurt crying in despair after that. It’s funny that Harmony turned out to be more memorable than the other two Glee Project winners, Rory & Joe.

23. “I’ll Remember” by Kurt (S3E22 – Goodbye)

Kurt has had a rather disappointing season, especially as he had almost zero solos during the big competition performances. Fortunately the producers gave him one shot to shine at the very last episode, & like Rachel, he is best when not bellowing at maximum lung capacity. Understated, smooth & steady does it.

22. “Perfect” by Kurt & Blaine (S3E07 – I Kissed A Girl)

I really do like Blaine. His character, his vocals. That’s why a simple number like this becomes a hit, that is if you’re willing to forgive & attempt to ignore Kurt’s weird gamboling & that sweater of his & just let Blaine’s smooth crooning in.

21. “Fly/I Believe I Can Fly” & “Here’s To Us” by New Directions (S3E14 – On My Way)

Firstly, I must admit New Directions got their Sectionals, Regionals & Nationals song choices right, much better than the disastrous Season 2 choices. Here, they did Nicki Minaj’s version pretty well (complete with Santana & Blaine taking up rapping duties), & thanks to Rachel not over-doing it, the closing number, a very basic pop song by nature, ends up getting a decent play count on my car radio.

20. “You Can’t Stop The Beat” by Rachel & New Directions (S3E01 – The Purple Piano Project)

You really can’t go wrong with a number from Hairspray. I enjoyed how Rachel started the first few verses in slow-piano-ballad style before the whole gang launched all-gungho-blazing into the chorus. You just have to check out Brittany, Puck & Blaine’s faces as they go through those lung-busting, constipation-inducing lines!

19. “Roots Before Branches” by Rachel & Finn (S3E22 – Goodbye)

Forcing the whole corny plot twist aside, I must say it was a pretty emotional scene that accompanied this song. Even with Rachel’s extremely distracting crying melt-down face, Finn’s acting was tremendous. Getting the whole gang to meet & send Rachel off at the train station was a nice touch, as Rachel sang her heart out while stepping into New York to embark on her dreams, reminding us that she is still the main character in this ensemble.

18. “My Favourite Things” by Rachel, Mercedes, Kurt & Blaine (S3E09 – Extraordinary Merry Christmas)

Though the whole Christmas black & white act dragged on for far too long, this particular Julie Andrews sequence served as a perfect platform for these four to show off their perfect harmonies. Quite brilliant, really. Besides, Rachel & Kurt were born for such over-acting-ness.

17. “You & I/You & I” by Shelby & Will (S3E06 – Mash Off)

Glee mash-offs are always episodes I look forward to very much every season. They never disappoint, usually producing genius results. This time with the Troubletones separating from New Directions, rivalry goes to a new level. Will, who has had a number of nauseating performances this season (cue his whiny “Fix You” & any of those songs he performed during the Ricky Martin episode, ugh), duets with Shelby & they sound quite heavenly together.

16. “Human Nature” by Sam & Mercedes (S3E11 – Michael)

I have never quite gotten what Sam & Mercedes see in each other, but no one can deny how adorable these two look & sound together. On paper this track from Michael Jackson had the least potential to stand out among the other numbers performed in the colossal “Michael” tribute episode, but strangely somehow, in the hands of these two, it worked.

15. “What Makes You Beautiful” by Joe, Rory, Sam, Artie & Mike (S3E19 – Prom-asaurus)

Boybands are apparently back, & this is acknowledged by Glee with this rousing bubblegum fun at Prom. Despite just falling short of matching the epicness of last season’s prom performance of “Friday” (perhaps because Puck has been omitted for Rory & Joe?), there’s really nothing wrong with head-bopping to some chart-topping entertainment & cute choreography by these dudes.

14. “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” by Blaine & New Directions (S3E04 – Pot ‘o Gold)

In the trusted hands & even-more-trusted cleavage of Katy Perry, the song still sounded unmemorable & a little forced. Replace her magnificent cleavage with Blaine’s suave vocals & you get a really catchy anthem, the kind you just can’t stop singing along to as you skip your way to the beach in your flip flops. Yes, it’s good to remember that Glee is “all about fun” as Blaine pointed out to everyone before he eased in to the song. I REALLY love it when the whole New Directions group joins in a song & dance all together in the rehearsal room. This was the Glee we grew to love from the beginning – such cherished moments were aplenty in Season 1, but were scarce after. On top of that, what truly got me high was the scene of Rachel & Quinn dancing & bouncing happily off each other on top of a piano. They had me gaping like a complete nincompoop – there was just wayyyy too much love, & that stuff is wayyyy stronger than weed.

13. “Bad” by New Directions & The Warblers (S3E11 – Michael)

I believe this was the first time New Directions & Warblers actually sang together, & it worked on many levels. Excellent dance choreography, & that venomous slushie at the end confirms the arrival of Sebastian as the new evil nemesis.

12. “ABC” & “Man in the Mirror” by New Directions (S3E08 – Hold On To Sixteen)

New Directions heads into Sectionals without Rachel, Santana, Brittany & Mercedes (& oh, Sugar). Which means, solos for Tina! Yay! I’m always extra delighted whenever Tina gets a solo, & she breezes through “ABC” effortlessly. Things went downhill during the middle number (“Control” was a weird, wrong choice!) despite having Quinn giving a monologue in the most seductive, orgasmic voice I’ve ever heard in my life. Thankfully the guys picked up the slack with a neat rendition of “Man In The Mirror”, giving New Directions the expected win.

11. “Spotlight” by Mercedes (S3E03 – Asian F)

Asian F was 1 of the best episodes Glee ever produced, partly thanks to Mike Chang finally getting the chance to shine. But it’s also hard to forget this over-powering delivery from Mercedes, singing from the heart about being overshadowed by Rachel for 3 seasons now. I’ve noticed that I rarely acknowledge nor recognize Mercedes for her vocals, perhaps due to it being the generic diva type, so when she’s in my list, you know she’s earned it!

10. “Run The World (Girls)” by Brittany & Santana (S3E03 – Asian F)

Top 10 time! Give Brittany the stage & she gives you this, a freaking WOW. If I had a Presidential candidate delivering a campaign in this manner, pulling off those moves in THAT outfit, I would vote her in pants-down, hands-down. Never mind the fact that Brittany can’t sing, with autotune or not. This was…WOW.

9. “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” by Rachel, Tina, Santana & Mercedes (S3E10 – Yes/No)

A strangely effecting performance as the four, all emotional, sing their heart-felt lines while reliving their respective love-at-first-sight memories. Sigh.

8. “I Will Always Love You” by Mercedes (S3E13 – Heart)

Mercedes & Whitney. Singing Whitney’s greatest love song. Enough said.

7. “The Edge Of Glory” & “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” by New Directions (S3E21 – Nationals)

It’s time for Rachel to seize the limelight again, & boy if there was a solo song meant to be sang by Rachel Berry to prove Whoopi Goldberg wrong, it’s Celine Dion’s heart-wrenching diaphragm-buster. Amazing is an understatement. Strangely though, what stuck in my memory the most was those few seconds of Quinn & Tina, shoulder-to-shoulder singing “The Edge of Glory”. Teehee~.

6. “Shake It Out” by Santana, Tina & Mercedes (S3E18 – Choke)

The last time Glee did Florence+the Machine, it was a colossal success. This time, smartly enough, instead of trying to duplicate Florence Welch’s out-of-this-world vocals in “Shake It Out”, they did a acoustic toned-down version which was just beautiful, intimate & close to perfection. I don’t intend to undermine Mercedes, but this song belonged to Santana & Tina. You know they got it right the moment Santana’s sultry vocals floated into your ear drums.

5. “Without You” by Rachel (S3E10 – Yes/No)

Rachel has not had an easy season, has she. I mean, she has not always delivered, remember the disasters of “Cry”, “I Won’t Give Up”, & some other songs I didn’t even bother to remember. But sometimes we need to be reminded that she really can sing the shit out of a song, & when she gets it right, she REALLY gets it right. Thus, when you turn a whiny Usher+Guetta pile of stinky dung dance track into a power ballad, Rachel’s the one to nail it. I kid you not when I declare this as the best solo Rachel has ever done, ever. Take that!

4. “How Will I Know” by Mercedes, Rachel, Santana & Kurt (S3E17 – Dance With Somebody)

Without warning, they kicked off the Whitney tribute episode with this stripped-down, poignant, acapella performance from the divas of New Directions. Yes, Glee really shines with such commendable efforts, proving that you don’t always need all the extravagant gloss & extra showmanship. From walking the hallways to appearing on stage in the most glamourous of outfits, exceptional & chilling are words that come to mind when describing these four. I’m glad Santana has finally been acknowledged & inducted into the hall of divas by the way.

3. “Smooth Criminal” by Santana, Sebastian & a couple of insane celloists (S3E11 – Michael)

Spectacular arrangement first of all, but what made it beyond just that was the cementing of  Santana’s superstar quality & allure in season 3. Throw in a couple of over-zealous celloists on fire, & some crazy sexual chemistry with evil Sebastian, & Santana is unstoppable. I don’t know if “Smooth Criminal” has ever been done in such sublime fashion, but I’m very sure there’s not another Santana in this world quite like Naya Rivera’s. F**ktastic!

2. “We Are Young” by New Directions (S3E08 – Hold On To Sixteen)

Bearing almost a complete resemblance to their “Dog Days Are Over” performance, this was the Come-Together-Glee-United anthem for this season. When you look at the dramatic events that led to this song, you simply can’t help but marvel at the spot-on choice by the Glee people. The Troubletones & New Directions rivalry ending & reuniting, Rachel being banned from performing in the Sectionals but returns here with some restrained but brilliant solos, & an incredibly inspired speech by Quinn, of all people, to bring Mercedes, Santana & Brittany back to the club. On the front, Fun’s rousing track is the Y-Generation’s anthem of the year 2012, & it’s without doubt that more than half the credit goes to Glee’s stirring performance. On any other season such a classy delivery from New Directions would have easily went top of any lists, but this season, alas…

1. “Rumour Has It/Someone Like You” by Santana, Mercedes & The Troubletones (S3E06 – Mash Off)

Yes, this season, Glee scored big time when they pulled off this stunning feat. Obviously a class above all the other 24 in this list, AND any other numbers Glee has ever put out, I could actually run out of superlatives to bombard upon such distinction. Never mind the fact that this genius decision to mash “Someone Like You” with the thumping beats of “Rumour Has It” – producing UNBELIEVABLE results – arrived at the moment when Adele just happened to be at the pinnacle of an unstoppable wave of stardom. What we have here is Santana on center-stage, right at the point where she was solely carrying the weight of being the outstanding character of the season. & this came at the back of a particularly pulsating episode in which Santana started as an ultra-bitch spouting an onslaught of lines raised straight up from the deepest gates of hell, then broke down in tears (gasp!), before signing off by giving Finn an almighty smack across his face! With polished vocals that completely overshadowed Mercedes, & with the looming fiasco concerning her gender preferences serving as the dramatic background leading to the performance, a fragile – yet fiery – Santana perfectly encapsulated what was her best episode & season with a flawless, all-round delivery of a mash-off song(s!) just oozing with quality of mind-blowing proportions. An ultimately defining moment for both Santana & Glee, this is.

Special standouts that did not make the list include Tina’s “Because You Loved Me” (because we all love it when Tina gets the chance to shine), an emotional almost-tear-inducing short performance of “Sit Down, You’re Rocking The Boat” (Glee’s first ever rehearsal song) by the original Glee members, & the mother of all surprises – Burke Hummel doing “Single Ladies” with Tina & Brittany, for Kurt (I almost fainted with joy).

Check out the previous lists for Season 2 here, & Season 1 here.

PART II: THE (REALLY) BAD

To do things a little extra different this time, here’s a round-up of the 5 most disastrous performances/attempts from Glee Season 3, as far as I can recall that is.

5. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Blaine & Cooper (S3E15 – Big Brother)

Just because Gotye’s song is overplayed everywhere till the far corners of the Earth does not mean you have to jump on the bandwagon & force this song into a duet between 2 brothers!

4. “Cry” by Rachel (S3E18 – Choke)

Okay we get it, Rachel choked, but she cries in almost every song she sings anyway. She can bawl all she wants till her nose drops off, but she can never come close to matching the extra edge Kelly Clarkson’s vocals possesses to deliver a song of such magnitude.

3. “Ben” by Rachel, Kurt & Finn (S3E11 – Michael)

What does Blaine’s pirate eye have anything to do with a rat? That aside, the choice was corny, the delivery was nauseating, ahhhh…was just plain wasteful.

2. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Finn (S3E07 – I Kissed A Girl)

After listening to this epic failure of a ballad attempt complete with Finn’s unnaturally dead vocals, girls ain’t wanna have fun, they gonna wanna go jump off a cliff. 10 times at least. This is murder.

1. “We Found Love” by New Directions (S3E10 – Yes/No)

Seriously?! The mother load of all failures. Trash song for any occasion what more a marriage proposal. & there was a swimming pool. With synchronized swimmers. A big float. Finn in a singlet & wet shorts. Words…fail…me.

I Am UnGleeful

Oh no, Glee has done it again. The show just pissed me off again. Like, really pissed off.

Who cares, you say. Well I do. Cause they bloody woke me up from my blogging slumber. You see, the thing is, I come here to vent my absolute delirious anger at something usually not because it is bad. Well, okay, because something’s bad, but what’s worse is when something COULD have been good, or WAS good, until they completely screw everything up & turn everything in the complete opposite direction.

Like when fresh milk goes bad. Or when Katy Perry married Russell Brand. Or when Selena Gomez hooked-up with that Bieber lesbian.

Or my exhaustive vent about In Time.

Now Glee, one of my favourite series which I still religiously tune into week in & week out regardless of its continuing f**k-ups, has just successfully entered my hall of shame.

What were they thinking with Season 3’s Episode 10?

It started so well. First, Helen Mirren’s imperious voice-overs for Becky was, well for the lack of a better word, Queenly. It’s Helen Mirren, people!

The girls nailed an emotional, heart-felt “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”.

Emma had loads of screen time, even surprising us all with a song, & her tearful, honest plead to Will was just endearing. There’s nothing I don’t love about Jayma Mays.

Rachel was outstanding in an epic rendition of “Without You”, turning Guetta+Usher’s whiny crap into a power ballad. I mean, this was not typical Rachel-Berry-good, it was really really REALLY mind-f**king-blowing good – the best from Rachel this season thus far. Hell, the best solo Glee performance yet.

& of course, we have this hilariously awesome moment of Sue to remember for the rest of the season.

Then it all went to hell at the pool.

How long have we all waited for this glorious moment of Will finally proposing to the delightful Emma. & of all the songs, they chose that noise-pollution garbage “We Found Love” by Rihanna.

In a synchronized swimming performance.

Oh the horror of this mighty f**k-up. I mean, who found what shitty love in what f**king hopeless place? Who? What? Where?

& in the mean time, Rory’s still popping up here & there without any real purpose or presence.

& where the hell’s my beloved Quinn Fabray?

What nonsense is next huh?! Glee in 3D?! Oh wait, they already did that…

Anyway, I stumbled upon this picture from Dianna Agron’s twitter.

Well aren’t these two a sight! I’m sure Quinn can easily “straight”en out Blaine. Why don’t they write that down for her plot, since they are disgracefully wasting Quinn anyway.

In the mean time, another musical series is coming. I’ve seen the first episode of Smash.

& all I can say is, Katharine McPhee looks smoking hot & sounds amazing. Always knew those pair of…uh, lungs…were under-utilized all this while.

She joins my list of There-are-so-many-hot-women-on-TV-these-days consisting of Dianna Agron, Emily VanCamp, Kaley Cuoco, the Deschanel sisters, Leighton Meester, the Dunphy sisters, & the entire main ensemble of Pretty Little Liars.

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2011: When Heaven Sent Angels Down To Earth To Strut Their Butt Cheeks, Among Others

Pictures may not be safe for viewing in the office. Unless you work for Hugh Hefner.

It’s the time of the year again! Christmas is coming, sales are everywhere, shoppers going bonkers swiping their credit cards as if everything on sale is for free.

& also, I heard Heaven had a recent temporary shortage of Angels because they sent their front-line stunners down to Earth to strut their thang in Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2011.

I won’t lie, I have not been watching the secrets of Victoria on the runway annually since the excellent 2006 edition. I recall that year as being the last of the best, because everything went downhill after that. 2006 was Gisele’s final year as an Angel. She was my favourite, an epitome of elegance, strength & stunning glamour all in one, & the last “true supermodel” (she’s not the highest paid supermodel since 2004 for nothing right?). Miranda Kerr, an excellent replacement, succeeded her in 2007. The 2006 show also had Timberlake as the music artist accompaniment, who proved to be surprisingly effective in line with the show’s themes.

Years on, I sort of lost interest, only browsing through the shows as the lingerie got more ridiculous, the “extra clothing” & wings got even more monstrously elaborate (I thought this was about the lingerie? Less cloth please!) & the music artists, from Will.i.am, to Usher & Katy Perry, were pretty mundane. I also did not agree with how all this additional distractions were slowly taking away some of the spotlight from the Angels themselves.

Thankfully, in my humble inexperienced opinion, this year they finally got it right. Or at least regained some of the past rights.

Now the thing about a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is that it really isn’t about typical fashion is it? There’s no ANTM drama & bitchiness, no pouty models freaking out or pulling another’s hair, no Tyra mail, no gay dudes trying to hog all the cameras. Instead what you get is closer to this quote I sourced from somewhere online – “These dream creatures actually smile. And wink, wave, dance and blow kisses while wearing next-to-nothing lingerie. The VS models are impossibly leggy, rail-skinny yet voluptuously curvy with pretty faces and big, wide smiles.”.

I won’t go on a review rampage of the show from a fashion angle obviously, simply because I know nuts about that. All I know is I thoroughly enjoyed the stunning Angels, the good music & the whole entertainment on display. & these are 8 bloody damn good reasons I truly appreciated this year’s extravaganza, & 4 that made me sort of puke.

1. Alessandra Ambrosio – undisputed Goddess of the night; simply outstanding!

Alessandra was it: the STAR. She certainly did not get the overall better outfits, yet she was beyond jaw-dropping gorgeous this time around. She brought what you would call the X-factor to the show, the A to the Angel, the A to her Alessandra…you get the idea. She worked the fan, the tutu, & not forgetting the heaviest bloody wings ever created for VS, still she was most charismatic & dazzling! Her 30-pound-winged outfit on the top picture above was the best of the night, perfectly captured during her slow-mo shot coupled with Rihanna’s “California King Bed” chorus. That, ladies & gentlemen, is how you capture an EPIC moment. A truly spectacular job, Alessandra.

2. Adriana Lima was all powerrrrrrrrr

Talk about the right energy. Adriana, as always, had the most powerful, dominating presence & walk. No one, not even Wonder Woman herself, could have worked a superheroine outfit like that any better than Adriana. Now when you put Adriana side by side with Alessandra letting loose at the final walk…you just entered Brazilian heaven sans Gisele. Sexayyyyyyyyy.

This is a little too much beauty & love for me to handle

3. Miranda Kerr still has an insanely beautiful smile

Miranda…sigh, ain’t no words left for her. Not so sure about the aquatic 2.5 million bra, ’cause just like Orlando Bloom, I was completely zoning on that insanely cute face of her all the time. Now why are all the hottest this year all moms?!

4. Okay okay, some of the other Angels/models were drool-worthy too

It was obvious Alessandra, Adriana & Miranda were a class (or a cloud?) above the rest of the Angels. However, I would single out a very molten-hot Candice Swanepoel & Doutzen Kroes as the other Angels who delivered. What’s good this year was how the models seemed to really have a good time, the outfits they wore were generally interesting & pretty awesome, all-in-all redeeming some of the spark that was glaringly missing from the previous years. But notice that experience does show: while Alessandra, Adriana & Miranda looked so comfortable swaggering down the runway looking like they were having the time of their lives (almost over-enjoying themselves in fact), the younger ones still looked a little tight & too controlled.

5. I absolutely loved the slow-mo shots

Yes, epic shot of the night

A really nice addition to allow us to “wooooo” at the slowed-down flawlessness of the models in all their glory, which got slightly over-used as the show went on however. But the good overshadowed the bad, just like every of Alessandra & Miranda’s ravishing end-of-the-catwalk shots, & even the Kanye+Jay-Z “hand-bouncing” the crowd sequence. The Adam Levine kiss on Anne V slow-mo was just crap though (har har).

6. The focus was on the Angels/models

The Angels are the stars, & anyone who would argue against that is either stupidly mad or madly stupid. Let me express my absolute gratitude that the general focus were maintained, most deservingly, on the leggy beauties. All the behind-the-scenes & in-between takes were about the Angels themselves. How wonderful it is to just watch & listen to these beautiful creatures of the Earth, clad in their VS pink robes, blabbering in their ultra-attractive varying accents about their past, their superhero powers dreams, their childhood pictures, glossing over each other, looking & sounding really smart. Sure, it may be too sugary & all but who the fark cares. It beats the previous years where they did things like interviewing celebrities on why they were attending the show. Now that, I mean – who the fark cares?

7. The music was Top 40 material, good & effective

Unlike previous years where they did not even bother to at least try to match the music with the themes, this year not only were the music chart-topping material, they went really well with the different themes of the show. Ballet dancers+piano music was a nice touch as the opening introduction…then Bam! You have Taylor Momsen purring to “Make Me Wanna Die” to great effect.  Most of the music were top notch stuff (I said most, but we will get to that later). Kanye did not disappoint with “Stronger”, a song he intended to perform in 2007. On paper this might have seen like a dated choice but this is Kanye, & he worked it. He of course reappeared again with Jay-Z to the bouncing delight of the crowd. The in-between takes scenes even had songs from Florence+The Machine & Coldplay.

8. Sui He & Liu Wen – Asian awesomeness on display

Hurray for Asian power! Sui He especially looked amazing & was a runway sweetheart by all means. Both of them did all of us real proud leading the Asian representation in this year’s show.

But again, what do I know about fashion? Nothing. I just know how to appreciate beautiful women. At least I hope I do. & I know how to criticize too. Here comes the bad bits:

1. The younger crop of girls were just not up-to-par

Only Kanye seemed interested

There was always something extra special about a VS Angel. Look at the likes of Gisele, Heidi, Tyra, Karolina, & current ones like Alessandra, Adriana & Miranda. Aside from that supreme aura of invisibility these legends seem to have, they also know how to look equally as incredibly fit & voluptuously slim at the same time. The younger girls this year however were all skin & bones, looking just sweet & pretty without much depth beyond that. New girl Karlie’s extremely skinny look pretty much summed it up. Alessandra, Adriana & Miranda need to give some lessons to this crop. But heck, what do I know about this right? Maybe you need to be a mom to reach that level of hotness…

2. Maroon 5 & Adam Levine sucked

The music had two sore points. One of them was Maroon’s mediocre live performance (the 2nd is point no.3). Adam Levine didn’t even sound like he was trying to do his best singing, instead just seemed mostly like he was just waiting to publicly show his affection for Anne V. Yea yea, we all know you have a supermodel girlfriend, we know we are not as fortunate as your tattooed ass, you really didn’t need to make it all about you did ya now?

3. Nicki Minaj, bleh

Well, I never fancied her anyway. But she repeated one mistake that hogged many of the previous years’ shows, when the music artists tried to take over the stage with a whole battalion of dancers that were a big farking distraction to the models walking down the runway. While the whole PINK section this year was pretty much a Minaj section & her “Super Bass” was undoubtedly catchy enough, there were just too many colours & dancers that gave me nothing but an eye-sore.

4. What? No Rosie?

I do not know why she did not walk, maybe she was too busy saving that pussyboy ass of Shia, or donning a Burberry trench coat. Whatever the reason, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s imperious pout & attitude would have capped off 2011’s edition quite nicely.

So, 8 vs 4. Safe to say, this year they indeed got it right.

Yes, I’ll see you next year girls!

Rumour Has It That Glee Just Came Out With The Best Mash-up Ever

I did not see this coming.

This has certainly been Adele’s year. Her songs, her vocals, her live performances – all out of this world. Then came Emily Luther & Charlie Puth to blow me away by providing a stunning alternative duet version that equaled Adele’s original.

Now, coinciding with Adele announcing my favourite track from her, “Set the Fire to the Rain”, as the 3rd single, lightning has struck twice – because Glee just shocked my balls by producing what is quite possibly the best mash-up – hell dare I say it – musical number, ever. “Rumour Has It” & “Someone Like You”. Genius. Genius genius genius!

Now that’s a bold statement. The episode’s not even out yet, but the timing just seems so right. So. damn. right. Santana is just killing it. Great choreography. My previous favourite mash-ups were unsurprisingly “I Feel Pretty/Unpretty” (where Quinn completely owned the song & outshone, believe it or not, Rachel Berry) & “Anywhere You Want It/Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin'” (how did they not win it with this?).

But there’s not even a single doubt that this is just a class above everything else.

Glee Season 3 has been solid so far. I’m liking where this is going.

Now once a full mp3 track is available for download, I’m raping my iTunes replay button.

The Return of The Idiot Box

THEY’REEEE BACCCKKKKKK!!!

Glee

THEY’RE NEEEEWWWWW!!!!

THEY’RE COOOMMIINNGGGG!!!!

Just in case you are figuring out what an Idiot Box refers to in today’s age, it’s illegal downloading+a laptop.

I Am Found Guilty…

…of pleasure.

I don’t know this could have happened, but Emily, Spencer, Aria & Hanna just found themselves a spot each in my hall of fame.

Okay, maybe just Spencer & Hanna – they are the only interesting ones really.

Pretty, pretty please.

The 2nd Glee Hit List: 25 Of The Best, Season 2…

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.

The Obsession Continues…(& I Think I Need Help)

I’m truly sorry. I just can’t help myself.

I come back on land & my heart just aches when such shots greet me.

The new hairdo is just murdering me. Brutally.

What do you think…should I officially seek help?

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