Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Glee" Season 1: 17 Best Performances

Since it will be a while until we get new "Glee" episodes, I have been re-watching season 1 hoping it will hold me over until Feb. Luckily, the first season of "Glee" was near perfect - especially for a freshman series. I can literally watch it on repeat for hours and still be entertained. The reason "Glee" season 1 was so special that it was refreshing and groundbreaking- it was like nothing else on television. I think season 2 can be seen as disappointing because it is hard to stay "new". There were so many memorable performances in season 1 that I think they don't know how to top themselves (therefore they go a bit overboard- i.e the Britney episode). Here are the performances that made season 1 such an achievement:

1. Push It (performed by the New Directions) - I remember when this first aired I could not stop laughing. It was amazingly inappropriate, yet hysterical. From Rachel's dirty dancing, to Kurt's crotch thrusts and slapping Finn on the ass, to Emma's supportive dancing in the audience, to everyone else's shocked reactions - it was a perfect scene. Plus, this was the first time we get to see the energy of our favorite Glee club. We knew Rachel could sing, we didn't know she could rap! We knew Finn was awkward, we didn't know he was thaaat awkward! Calling the performance offensive would be an understatement, as would calling the performance anything less than perfect.

2. Dancing With Myself (performed by Artie) - This is the first time Glee made me cry. And by cry I mean bawl hysterically. First, I love Artie's voice - it's soulful and distinctive. Second, his wheeling through the halls watching his classmates living a "normal" life was intimate and beautiful. Third, it is a perfect song for him to sing (this was back when the Glee performances went with the story lines - instead of the top 40 trend that season 2 is obsessed with). Artie is often left in the corner of the Glee performances while the others dance center stage. The song just emphasises the pain he feels on a daily basis. And Last, when is the last time you've seen a kid in a wheelchair have a major plot line on network television? Um never. That is why Glee deserves the accolades it gets - it broke barriers (and continues to). Also, this song leads Will to discover a genius idea - confine the Glee kids to wheelchairs. Hilarious.

3. Rain on My Parade (performed by Rachel) - Rachel can do Barbara Streisand almost as good as Barbara can. Her voice is powerful, her passion is evident and she simply glowed in that spotlight. This was performed at sectionals as a last minute decision (after the other clubs stole their set list) along with The New Directions performance of You Can't Always Get What You Want. It's almost sad to think about the disappointing performance we endured during this season's sectionals (Ken and Barbie apathetically singing Time of My Life). Season 1 sectionals definitely kicked season 2's ass.

4. Like a Virgin (performed by Will/Emma, Rachel/Jesse, Finn/Santana) - Besides the obvious challenge in the production of this performance (the editing must have been a nightmare - but was brilliantly done), I loved the way this song fit the episode. Emma, Rachel & Finn all decide to lose the big "V" - even though all 3 are weary of this decision. Finn and Santana are hot together (which came as a surprise), this scene alone is why I am sort of rooting for them in season 2 (although I am a bit weary as well...). This is also a pretty important scene for the current story arc of season 2 (the whole Finchel break-up). Anyway, I think they did a really great job a making a sex scene with 3 different couples - sexy yet still appropriate.

5. Like a Prayer (performed by the New Directions) - I was really nervous during the episode because this is my favorite Madonna song (and one of my favorite songs in general) and I kept thinking it would be sacrilege to do a Madonna episode and not include this song! But alas, they saved the best for last. I was a little disappointed that they kept the song's original tone (you know with the whole choir thing) - I would have liked to see a different Glee spin on the song, but I guess you can't mess with perfection. We also got to hear from other members of the Glee club - and we get the powerful voices of Mercedes and Rachel was, as Kurt would say "madgical".

6. Jessie's Girl (performed by Finn) - Do you think they planned this from the introduction of Jesse? Was he named Jesse for the purpose of utilizing this song? Because it is too perfect to be a coincidence. Right? Finn's "soul exposing" song is one of the few songs that I would consider to be better than the original. His voice is perfect for classic rock, but I would argue that his angst is what makes the song so great. He realizes that he screwed up and now has to suffer watching the girl he loves date another guy. And we get to see Finn play the drums. Love it.

7. Rose's Turn (performed by Kurt) - After the horrendous Kurt performance we endured earlier in this episode (Ain't That America - seriously hard to watch) I am glad that the creators rewarded us with this inspiring performance. He is seriously one talented kid. I got chills the first time I saw it - but the best part was Burt clapping at the end. Glee always knows the ways to emotionally ambush me.

8. The Safety Dance (performed by Artie) - Isn't it ironic that 2 of my favorite Glee performances feature my least favorite character? This is honestly probably my favorite Glee performance - simply because it is the most unexpected. It's done as a flash mob scene in the middle of a mall - but the most unexpected part was that Artie gets out of his wheel chair and starts dancing - not just simple Glee club moves either, like serious professional choreography (of course it is a dream sequence but still we get to see one of the best dancers on the show actually dance...). We also get to see some Mike Chang skills as well - always a highlight. When it was all over - and Artie is still left in his wheel chair I cried. Again.

9. Bad Romance (performed by the girls of the New Directions & Kurt) - Easily Lady Gaga's best song - I am glad they didn't do an entire Lady Gaga episode (just 2 songs - this and Poker Face - which was performed awkwardly by Rachel and her mother - played by the iconic Idina Menzel). The performance was enhanced by their ridiculous Lady Gaga outfits - my favorite was Quinns (those eyelashes were fantastic). This was probably the first time I really heard Santana's voice and realized how talented she was. The performance looked like a lot of fun - which always makes me happy.

10. Loser (performed by Puck, Finn and the Sheets & Things employees) - Although it was extremely short (how disappointing) - it was perfect. It was performed right after one of my all time favorite Glee moments so I already had a smile on my face (the moment is when Sandy asks if the name of the store is "Losers and Things" and Finn actually checks his badge to see if the name had in fact changed- it is those small moments that make Glee so amazing). So Puck & Finn begin a fantastic rendition of the amazing Beck song and it made me miss 90's alternative music. It was a tough choice between this and the other Puck/Finn performance in this episode - Good Vibrations (which made me miss 90's hip hop and of course Marky Mark). Basically, what I am trying to say is: Can we get some more awesome 90's music on Glee???

11. Don't Stop Believing (performed by the New Directions) - Don't worry...I didn't forget the obvious. I can't decide which version I like - the premiere version with Rachel & Finn taking the lead or the finale version where the others get to shine. The first one was more raw, freestyle, fun and intimate but the second one is just better (in sound and choreography). The song is used as perfect bookends for the season and what better to describe their journey together than Journey?

and as bonus here are my favorite performances on "Glee" that are not by the New Direction members...

12. Rehab (performed by Vocal Adrenaline) - The first time I saw it I had the same expression of the New Direction members - jaw dropped to the floor. The choreography, the energy and the collective singing was mind-blowing. This was their competition?! They are SCREWED! The best part was that it gave something for our New Directions to aim for. How the heck are they ever going to be that good? More importantly - Are they ever going to be that good? Maybe, maybe not but I rejoice in the possibilities.

13. Poison/I Wanna Sex You Up (performed by the Acafella's) - Best thing ever. I can't decide between the two. Poison is one of my favorite songs ever (to dance to!) while I Wanna Sex You Up is just so ridiculously funny. Both songs arn't very appropriate but that is what makes them so great. I also love that we get to see Puck sing (and be sexified). I would love for the Acafella's to get back together for a few more performances...hint...hint.

14. Single Ladies (performed by the McKinley Titans) - ok they don't sing the song - but they do the know the dance that became 2009's biggest dancing sensation. Watching huge football guys in their uniforms dance about putting a "ring" on it is probably one of the greatest things I have ever seen. Plus - they finally won a game! I also enjoyed Kurt, Tina & Brittany dancing to it in the beginning (leotards and all...).

15. Imagine (performed by the Haverbrook School for the Deaf) - This is the moment when I knew Glee was special. It is probably the moment when I cried the hardest while watching a "comedy". I still get chills thinking about it. OMG when The New Directions joined in it was just so affecting and inspiring. I love that they followed them in signing the whole song. When is the last time you saw a group of deaf teens sing a song on network television? Um never.

16. Vogue (performed by Sue Sylvester) - greatest moment of Glee ever.

17. Bohemian Rhapsody (performed by Vocal Adrenaline) - Just when we are so proud of our New Direction gang - we remember how amazing their competitors are. They undoubtedly deserved the win (am I supposed to admit that?). I loved how they intertwined this song with Quinn's birth - it was unexpected and weird, yet it just worked.

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