Glee Report Card: Jacksons And Sectionals

I was pretty tough on Glee last week, and I stand by that. Still, it’s nice when I can just sit back and enjoy. Tuesday night’s episode was far less complex in terms of plot, but the song choices were a big improvement. (No questionable queer anthems here!) So let’s talk about sectionals, and the Jackson family medley that earned New Directions the title.

“Red Solo Cup”
Performed by Sam and New Directions
Originally performed by Toby Keith
OK, aside from the warm, fuzzy feeling the episode left me with, it started off with one of the worst performances Glee has ever done. I’m sorry, but I hate this song, and Sam’s rendition didn’t do either of them any favors. It was nice to have Chord Overstreet back, but ugh, terrible choice. He would have been better served doing Bieber again. (I actually liked his version of “Baby.” Sue me.) The only thing I did like was Kurt’s “WTF” face, because seriously, dude. Did you see Will dancing?
Grade: D-

“Buenos Aires”
Performed by Harmony and the Unitards
From the musical Evita
But onto sectionals, where things were much, much better. I was so glad to see Lindsay Pearce back on Glee, which is surprising given my strongly negative reaction to her on The Glee Project. What can I say? She’s made for this. Even though “Buenos Aires” wasn’t as impressive as “Anything Goes,” Pearce continues to have great presence and the kind of rare talent that has elevated Lea Michele to stardom. I hope Ryan Murphy and company can find a way to integrate her into the show once our seniors graduate.
Grade: B+

“I Will Survive”/”Survivor”
Performed by Santana, Mercedes, and the Troubletones
I’m kind of over the mash-ups, but this was quite good. I’m sad to see the Troubletones go—I guess they’ll be absorbed into New Directions, which isn’t really the same thing. Wasn’t the whole point an all-female singing group Rachel didn’t get to be part of? Anyway, bonus points for the dresses and for Brittany’s amazing hair. Also, let’s continue to give Santana and Mercedes all of the solos. I don’t care if it’s not fair—I never get tired of celebrating their general awesomeness.
Grade: B+

Performed by Tina, Kurt, Mike, Quinn, and New Directions
Originally performed by the Jackson 5
How great was it to see Tina front and center? Maybe it’s not such a bad thing that Rachel wasn’t allowed to participate in sectionals. What I liked about these performances was that they worked past the vocals—they were well choreographed and overall impressive. I bought New Directions’ win. And yes, the diversity of performers was great. I never knew how much I missed Tina’s solos until she was singing.
Grade: A-

Performed by Blaine, Artie, and New Directions
Originally performed by Janet Jackson
Good, but not great—especially given that it came between two very solid performances. I did like Artie in the spotlight, although I’d argue Kevin McHale gets to do more than Jenna Ushkowitz on a pretty regular basis. Maybe I’m just not as sold on the song, which didn’t feel like the best fit for New Directions. I will say that it was kind of sexy, so whatever exotic dance moves they picked up from Sam obviously did the trick. And the medley wasn’t over!
Grade: B

“Man in the Mirror”
Performed by Finn, Artie, Puck, Blaine, Sam, and New Directions
Originally performed by Michael Jackson
And we’re back, making this a ridiculously long sectionals performance. Seriously, how did none of the other teams cry foul? No matter, this worked. I’ll admit a particular fondness for the song, but I genuinely liked the arrangement. It was good to get the guys on their own before the whole group joined in. And because I read too much into things, I choose to believe “Man in the Mirror” was also a self-referential nod to Glee’s improvement following Season 2. Just me? OK, then.
Grade: A

“We Are Young”
Performed by Rachel, Finn, Quinn, Sam, New Directions, and the Troubletones
Originally performed by Fun.
Well, hey, this was just nice. First of all, it’s a song by a lesser-known band that will surely do wonders for their visibility. Second of all, it was kind of fucking sweet. Like, whatever, I know I’m supposed to be a hard-hearted monster, but I cracked a big smile when Rachel grabbed Santana’s hand. My only real complaint is that THE DVR CUT THIS OFF. I won’t blame Glee, but I will blame Fox for stubbornly going a minute over the standard running time. Damn you, Fox. You killed my sweetness boner.
Grade: B+

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