I missed this news the first time around, but it’s incredibly exciting: Gloria Estefan will be appearing on the Glee season finale as Mirabel Lopez, mom to sassy out cheerleader Santana! However, I’m stunned that, unlike most of Glee‘s celebrity guests this season, the “Turn the Beat Around” singer will not be singing at all. Here you have this accomplished, iconic artist who’s perfectly cast, and it seems like an utter waste not to have her do a duet with Naya Rivera.
Estefan told EW, “I don’t sing on the show, but I kinda think that’s better because I think that would throw fans.” Lest it was unclear which fanbase she meant, she clarified to E! Online that she didn’t want viewers to think of Gloria Estefan instead of Mirabel Lopez. Honestly, I think that’s not giving fans enough credit! Face it, Glee‘s actors aren’t there because they’re terribly good at emoting at the confusing plotlines. They’re on Ryan Murphy‘s show because they can sing and dance worth a damn, or because it’s amusing to watch someone like Gwyneth Paltrow let loose and fool around with a pop single like “Forget You.”
And as for the fear that her reputation would somehow overshadow her role? If that kind of bias existed, then Broadway star Sutton Foster couldn’t get a TV show. (Well, the jury’s still out on if she’ll be able to transition from stage to screen.) Let’s refer to another Glee guest star for argument’s sake: Ricky Martin, an equally recognizable Latin music icon who cheerfully poked fun at himself by playing a toothy dentist/substitute Spanish teacher. And who had one of the season’s best numbers: “La Isla Bonita” with Naya Rivera, no less.
Of course, Estefan has left the door open to future singing. She says that for now she’s happy just to establish the character; after Santana’s grandmother kicked her out of the house for coming out as gay, Mirabel proves herself to be much more supportive of her daughter’s sexuality. Still, I’d rather see her sing her support than just say it.
Photo: Adam Rose/Fox