4/18/2011

Best Performances from Glee


I'm not sure my 3 years in "show choir", our high school's version of glee club,  qualifies me to nominate the best performances from the show Glee to date, but I'm taking a stab at it anyway.  (How well I remember the tension and adrenelin of those regional competitions ...!)  I thoroughly enjoy the show, but you don't have to be a fan to acknowledge that these kids have serious talent.

The following aren't necessarily my favorite songs from the show, but they definitely my favorite performances, the ones I enjoy watching again and again.
  1. Don't Stop Believing ("original version"), New Directions.  Am starting with this performance because it was the first one to knock my socks off.  Just the original 5 featured cast members when they were at their most young and endearing, singing their heads off, plus a little drama as their song choice inspires their disconsolate director to perservere.  By the end of the song I was definitely a believer, as (I suspect) were any television critics who had not yet boarded the Glee bandwagon.
  2. Journey to Regionals ("Regionals version"), New Directions.  But wait, there's more!  Here's Don't Stop Believing again, this time performed by the whole Glee ensemble at Regionals and paired with two other Journey songs.  I especially love the part where the curtain goes up ... well, see for yourself!  An adrenelin-filled and thoroughly entertaining performance.  If I'd been a judge, no way they would have come in third!
  3. Thriller/Heads Will Roll, New Directions+.  The show doesn't do all-out performance numbers as often as you'd think; this is one of the best.  Zombie football players: who knew what a great fit it would be?
  4. Bills, Bills, Bills, Warblers.  Love all the Warblers songs, which makes it hard to pick the ones that belong on this list.  Not sure this is even one of the best, but it's certainly one of the most fun ... or maybe I'm the only one that's tickled by the idea of a bunch of clean-cut private school boys channeling their inner enraged black girlfriends?
  5. Dream On, Michael Morrison & Neil Patrick Harris.  In my opinion, one of Glee's most successful "special guest star" episodes.  Not only a great reprise of a rock classic, but Doogie's performance blew me away!
  6. When I Get You Alone, Warblers.  Wish I could have been at the Gap the day the Warblers decided to invade the retail outlet in order to serenade an obviously unappreciative salesperson.  The combo of tight harmonies and choreography makes this a keeper.
  7. Say A Little Prayer for You, Glee Cheerleaders.  Love the song but adore the choreography that goes with it.  After watching this, bet Celine Deon wishes the mores of the time would have allowed she and her backup singers to don cheerleader uniforms with those swingy skirts that emphasize every innocent/naughty hip shake! 
  8. Keep Holding On, Glee Cast.  A little melodramatic but undeniably moving.
  9. Total Eclipse of the Heart, Lea Michaels. This one's pure, unapologetic melodrama ... but then, so was the Bonnie Tyler original.  To understand this, helps to know it's meant as a lament after the lead character, Rachel, realizes she's pissed off not one, not two, but three boyfriends.  What I love about this performance is the staging - the way the song moves between the classroom and the ballet studio is wonderful, and all those ballet lifts are such a great metaphor for trust.
  10. Bust Your Windows, Glee Cast.  This one has a Bollywood feel to it - the way the action stops so everyone can burst into song, the unapologetic blending of reality and fantasy, the way over-the-top costuming. (Never have tall athletic socks and tennis shoes been employed to achieve such a joyously slutty effect!)
  11. Lean On Me, New Directions. No one's going to argue that this isn't a fabulous song in its own right, but I love the arrangement of the song they chose, and the simple but sincere choreography. 
  12. It's My Life/Confessions, New Directions (boys only).  Well choreographyed and wholly entertaining cover of a great Bon Jovi tune.
  13. Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy, Lea Michael & Chris Colfer. Okay, so you caught me out.  There's no real performance here - no costumes, no choreography, no "show."  Just two superb performers belting out a ballad the way ballads were meant to be belted.  Babs and Judy would approve.
  14. Marry You, New Directions.  The lyrics of the song are not quite as romantic as one might hope (hey, since we're drunk already, let's get married!), but the cast does such a good job of performing the hell out of this number that it doesn't matter.  Dare you not to feel a little happier life and love after watching this clip.
  15. Loser Like Me, New Directions.  As someone who spent years in glee club, couldn't help but love this anthem to gleeks everywhere.  My favorite line: "Push me up against a locker/And hey, all I do is shake it off/I'll get you back when I'm your boss."  So there!

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