After six seasons, the television show about high school choirs, Glee, is ending after showcasing over 600 performances. The show was a trailblazer of LGBT representation, especially in queer youth. I continued to watch the show during its peak (the first half of season 1) and some of its lows (the erratic seasons of 4 and 5). I laughed (Sue Sylvester’s first appearance), I cried (the death of Cory Moneith), I felt the love (Kurt and Blaine’s courtship), and I sang (every episode). It’s hard to choose my favorite songs so I decided to list my 10 ten favorites spanning 6 years. Enjoy the ride of nostalgia and cry this Friday for the epic 2-hour finale as it goes back to its roots (2009) to its rumored future (2020). In no particular order, because that would be cruel…
1. Don’t Rain On My Parade (Sectionals: Season 1, Episode 13)
No one can be Barbra Streisand but if anyone is a close second it’s Miss Rachel Berry. Her performance was magnificent and there was no contest that the New Directions wouldn’t win Sectionals.
2. Push It (Showmance: Season 1, Episode 2)
“That was the most offensive thing I’ve seen in 20 years of teaching, and that includes an elementary school production of Hair.” That the was reaction of Cheerleader Coach Sue Slyvester and probably the thoughts of all America (and possibly worldwide). This performance blends what makes Glee so great: comedy with awkward teens doing awkward sexual acts. It’s so raw.
3. Bohemian Rhapsody (Journey To Regionals: Season 1, Episode 22)
Having Jonathan Groff guest star on Glee is one thing, but having him sing a Queen classic is a dream come true. And when you juxtaposition the performance with Quinn’s pregnancy, it concludes the first season’s most absurd yet amusing storylines (How can Finn think he was the father through a hot tub?). We’re all rooting for the New Directions, but Vocal Adrenaline rightfully wins Regionals (plus it gave the underdogs a reason for vengeance in Season 2). Without Groff, Vocal Adrenaline are sheep without a shepherd.
4. Teenage Dream (Never Been Kissed: Season 2, Episode 6)
When did you fall in love with Darren Criss’ Blaine Anderson? For me it was the moment he bumped into Kurt and then proceeded to dance into America’s hearts with the best rendition of Teenage Dream (sorry Katy Perry). And how can you say no to a man in uniform let alone an orgy of men in uniforms?!
5. I Will Survive/Survivor (Hold On To Sixteen: Season 3, Episode 8)
This show made a point that Teacher Will Shuester has his pet favorites (Rachel) and, let’s be honest, too vanilla in his song selections (I won’t even discuss his rapping choices). Showcasing urban flavor through some of my favorite female leads, Mercedes and Santana (along with Brittany) performed a disco (and gay) classic mashed up with Destiny’s Child’s modern day anthem of survival. This all-female vocal group, The Troubletones, was a highlight of season 3 and I was giddy with delight with their return in Season 6.
6. The Way You Look Tonight/You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile (Makeover: Season 4, Episode 3)
Sometimes, you just need a song to make you smile while you dress up. And with the dynamic duo of Kurt and Rachel, they teamed up with a style icon, Miss Sarah Jessica Parker. They picked a classic song and celebrated it with style.
7. Let’s Have A Kiki/Turkey Lurkey Time (Thanksgiving: Season 4, Episode 8)
The fact that Glee was able to take a gay cult song and make it a holiday favorite complete with vocals from Sarah Jessica Parker and an appearance from drag queen Shangela (I could do without Brody), is enough reason for me to include this song on this list. Like Comic Book Legend Stan Lee would say: ‘Nuff Said.
8. Make You Feel My Love (The Quarterback: Season 5, Episode 3)
For every Gleek, there is a general consensus that we were devastated by the death of Cory Moneith. To pay respects, the show ended his arc the only way they can with the death of his character. There were a lot of amazing performances in dedication of Finn, but real-life girlfriend Lea Michele gave the best performance as it was raw and heartbreaking. It’s hard to tell the difference between Lea Michele and Rachel Berry as this was the moment where the lines were blurred. The show has never been the same without him.
9. Old Time Rock n’ Roll/Danger Zone (Boys (and Girls) on Film: Season 4, Episode 15)
I can’t say no to men wearing uniforms and underwear. But to pair it with classic 80s film soundtrack songs is a fantasy in itself. Will Shuester said they tied with the girls in their mashups, but I object!
10. All You Need Is Love (Love, Love, Love: Season 5, Episode 1)
Hearing the Beatles play as Blaine proposes to Kurt in the spot where they first met is a wish fulfillment for every Glee fan. But it was so extravagant to have the four major choirs (New Directions, The Warblers, Vocal Adrenaline, Haverbrook School For The Deaf) help in Blaine’s proposal. Kurt just couldn’t say no. The audience would have had a BF (bitchfit if you’re unaware of the 2005 slang term).
Seasons 1-5: Single Ladies, Maybe This Time, Dance With Myself, I Dreamed A Dream, Dream a Little Dream Of Me, Teenage Dream (Acoustic),Toxic, Disco Inferno, Boogie Shoes, Imagine
Season 6 (They’re all very fresh but these songs brought Glee back to its Season 1 glory): Tightrope, Lose My Breath, At Last, I’m So Excited, Somebody Loves You, It’s Too Late, I Know Where I’ve Been, Mustang Sally, Home