If there’s one thing you learn from American Idol it’s that song selection is everything (and that Steven Tyler is a god). That rule has never been more true than for this week’s episode of Glee. “Born This Way” had some meaningful moments (here’s looking at you Santana!) and some trite ones (sorry Quinn, when was the last time you had a good storyline?), some perfect character points (Lauren for the win!) and some wastes of time (flash mob? really?!). From Tina’s wonderful monologue that prompted a cute/hilarious Mike Chang makeout session through Karofsky’s heartfelt apology (good guest actor alert- let’s make him a regular, shall we?) to Rachel’s self-indulgent nose job story (inevitable, really), there was one thing that was consistently awesome this week: song selection.
It pains me to think that Blaine will be scaled back and we might never seen much of my beloved Warblers again, but their farewell number of “Somewhere Only We Know” was tremendous, triumphant and layered with just enough acapella sweetness and Darren Criss dreaminess (and, you know, good acting/vocals and stuff) to prompt many many re-watchings. It was sad and sweet and generally just awesome.
Then there was the awesome and unexpected “Unpretty”/”I Feel Pretty” mashup (which actually came earlier in the episode but was slightly less epic so is being mentioned second). Rachel and Quinn are far from my favourites but the emotional notes hit in that inspired mashup were really pretty great (not to mention the songs flowed together beautifully).
Finn’s “I’ve Gotta Be Me” was a surprisingly strong vocal from the worst singer in the cast on what was supposed to be a mostly dance number, and the title number was fun if only for the shirts (because the song is offensively derivative *I’d never heard it before and honestly thought it was “Express Yourself”*- seriously, when are people going to realize that Lady Gaga is really boring?!)
But the best song selection in the episode? Easily “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from Sunset Boulevard. Not only was every word perfect for Kurt’s return to Kennedy High but its very Sunset Boulevard-ness was character perfect and fit with the themes of self-acceptance this week. And, most importantly, Chris Colfer nailed it. Chris Colfer almost always nails the acting side of his songs (kid can emote: “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” or “Blackbird” anyone?!), but his vocals sometimes leave something to be desired. But on this hard piece made famous by a host of spectacular altos, Colfer hit every note perfectly (including the impossible falsetto on the last “bye” and the lower tenuto on the final syllable).
This was one of those Glee weeks that really made iTunes some money.