Glee 100 Celebration: The Best of Kurt Hummel

Photo: FOX

Kurt Hummel is arguably the greatest underdog in the mixed bag of misfits that make up the McKinley High Glee Club. I mean over the series’ five seasons, what haven’t they thrown at him (his mother died when he was 8, he was verbally and physically assaulted and bullied throughout his high school years, his father almost died from a heart attack when he was a junior then got cancer the year after he graduated, he was rejected from his college of choice after an unbelievably impressive audition, and that’s just quickly off the top of my head) and still he manages to rise above it all and ultimately come out on top all the while making it look effortless and himself fabulous. It is for this reason that I have chosen to write about Kurt and share with you some of my favourite quintessential Kurt moments and elements that make up Kurt from the past 100 episodes.

However, we could easily have never had this iconic character grace our screens. I’m sure the majority of you are familiar with how the character of Kurt came into being. How Kurt was never a part of the Glee-verse until Chris Colfer came in to audition for the role of Artie and impressed showrunner Ryan Murphy so much that he ditched Rajeesh, the Indian potential love interest for Mercedes, and created Kurt. A decision that no one would disagree with, except perhaps those poor fellows who auditioned for Rajeesh.

I Want To Hold Your Hand – Kurt and Burt

This has to be the best and very real father/son relationship on television in a very long time. No punches are pulled in their story lines. They have a complex, well-rounded relationship where though accepting of his son’s sexuality, Burt still struggles with relating to his son and Kurt experiences jealousy over what he sees as the father-son relationship that Burt has always dreamed of develop in his bonding with Finn. For so long, they only had the other to rely on and over the years built a relationship to be envied. There are so many classic Kurt/Burt scenes I could have used as an example of their love and care of one another, but the one below is a stand out for many. Set in 2×15 “Sexy”, after Blaine visits Burt and requests he speaks to Kurt about sex, Burt visits a free clinic and collects some information to educate both himself and Kurt. What follows is one of best “The Talk” talks either on or off screen.

And I certainly couldn’t resist sharing Burt’s touching graduation present for Kurt


I’m the Greatest Star – Kurt’s Solo’s

For being such a key character in so many Glee plots, Kurt has had surprisingly few solos and rarely gets featured in the group numbers, at least until recently. With an extraordinary range (3.1 octaves – a A2-Bb5), his lower register though rarely used is raw and powerful and I love when we get to hear it, however, it’s his superb higher range that has defined his character. Below are my favourite Kurt solos from each season.

“Rose’s Turn” (1×18 “Laryngitis”)
While I’m on the whole “a fan of Glee’s musical numbers”, the ones that generally resonate with me are the ones that are incorporated into the action (ie, not a Glee club assignment or competition piece). Colfer’s performance of “Rose’s Turn” is a prime example of this and still gives me chills no matter how many times I listen to it. Set at a time where Kurt was struggling with finding his place both at school and at home (he had recently come out to his Dad as well as dealing with Burt’s new relationship with Carole Hudson and his bonding attempts with her son Finn), Colfer pours all of Kurt’s frustration, fear, and anxiety into the song and it’s just heartwrenching. When going through season 1, this song really made me sit up and take notice of both Kurt and Colfer.

“Blackbird” (2×16 “Original Song”)
How could we not include the song that knocked some sense into Blaine and made him realise what was standing right in front of him? As Colfer said in a behind the scenes clip for the episode, “No pressure”. Well he shouldn’t have been worried at all as this soulful tribute to little Pavarotti is beautiful and has all of us falling in love with Kurt as well. Like “Rose’s Turn”, it is the emotion and connection with the song that does it for me. Kurt (and Colfer) has this amazing ability to lay himself completely bare when he sings. He drops all facades and you just get to see right into his soul. No wonder Blaine experienced his “moment” here.

“Not The Boy Next Door” (3×18 “Choke”)
“You always zig when I think you’re about to zag and I-I just, I love that about you.” Well Blaine, we all agree with you and Kurt’s first audition for the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts (NYADA) is a prime example of this and why Kurt is at his finest when he does zig. In the lead up to the all-important audition for Carmen Tibideaux, Kurt had been set to do the safe, but impressive “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera. While on stage he decides “in the eleventh hour… to go in a different direction. Something that’s a little more out there, but much more me”. Whipping off his tux pants, he reveals a pair of the most memorable gold lamé pants in history and launches into an unbelievable version of Peter Allen’s “Not the Boy Next Door” from The Boy from Oz. This was the perfect song for Kurt; he could relate and connect to the subject matter, and provided him the opportunity to showcase his vocal and dance ability. Like Carmen, I have seen Hugh Jackman perform this previously and completely agree that “he would have been… as impressed with what you did with that song as I am”. Given Carmen’s praise and the performance in general, I still cannot understand how he didn’t get into NYADA, but that in no way detracts from the enjoyment of this number.

“Being Alive” (4×09 “Swan Song”)
One thing you can say for Kurt, he certainly comes through under pressure. He innocently attends the NYADA Winter Showcase to support his BFF, Rachel and finds himself thrust into his second audition for NYADA… and what an audition piece it is. Though he chooses Company’s “Being Alive” (one of the three songs Carmen says most people audition with back in “Choke”), his version is powerful, perfectly reflects where he is in life at the moment and he totally owns it. Though I don’t think it was any better than “Not the Boy Next Door”, it’s enough to get him acceptance for the NYADA Spring intake and his Broadway dreams take flight once again.

Got To Get You Into My Life – Kurt’s Duets

Kurt has had a share in some of the most iconic duets over the course of Glee. The Klaine Christmas duet has become an expected element of the Christmas episode that when one didn’t occur in season 5’s flashback episode, “Previously Unaired Christmas”, fans were up in arms. Again, due to Chris’ range, he is the perfect duet partner as he is able to take on either male or female parts. Below are some of my favourite duets from the series.

“4 Minutes” – with Mercedes (1×15 “The Power of Madonna”)
While many would choose Kurt’s “Defying Gravity” duet with Rachel as their pick from season 1 (and I do love that one so much), “4 Minutes” is a standout for me. Maybe because in “Defying Gravity” Kurt lets Rachel win, but here both he and Mercedes are basically giving the two finger salute to not only Rachel but also Mr.Schue for not looking beyond Rachel and Finn for solos. You get Kurt singing and dancing in a Cheerios uniform as well as the Kurtcedes friendship, so what’s not to love?

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” – with Blaine (2×10 “A Very Glee Christmas”)
As tempting as it was I was determined to only include ONE Klaine Christmas duet in the list and I just couldn’t look past the very first. This song is not only one of the best of Kurt’s duets but I think one of the best songs Glee has ever done. Kurt and Blaine sound so good together and the song is so fun and flirty, it perfectly captures their relationship at this stage.

“For Good” – with Rachel (2×22 “New York”)
Yes, I know this is also from season 2 but I was only doing one Klaine Christmas duet and I like this duet more than Kurt’s only other duet in season 3 (Klaine’s “Perfect”, nothing against that song, I just like this one better). Kurt and Rachel also have amazing vocal chemistry and play off each other so well. The choice of this song is fitting for them as it reflects their own relationship. The emotion and connection throughout make it a joy to watch. Their excitement to be on the Wicked stage just jumps off the screen.

“Come What May” – with Blaine (4×15 “Girls (and Boys) on Film”)
The song that all Klainers had been dying for our boys to do and when we finally got it in season four, it certainly didn’t disappoint. The vocal chemistry and compatibility of Kurt and Blaine is certainly present here. At this stage, they have broken up and Kurt is still dealing with the aftermath of Blaine’s cheating along with their “bros helping bros” hook up at Mr Schue and Emma’s non-wedding on Valentine’s Day. This makes the love song bittersweet filled with pain, as well as longing for the other. This song was beautifully sung, wonderfully shot and everything we could have hoped for.

“I Believe In A Thing Called Love” – with Elliott (5×9 “Frenemies”)
Though we’re only at episode 12 of season 5, Kurt has had quite a few duets so far this season and it was hard to choose between the three for a number of reasons. I decided to go with “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” because this was a very different song for Kurt. Normally he belts out Broadway standards or ballads but this was pure rock and Kurt nailed it. Kurt and Elliott sound electric together and it was great to see Kurt let loose and have fun with a song. Oh, and the pole work didn’t hurt to see either.

You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile – Kurt and Fashion

Kurt believes that “every moment of your life is an opportunity for fashion” and he has certainly shown that over the past four and a half seasons. From the outrageous, to the classically elegant, Kurt Hummel is never one to shy away from the fashion spotlight. However, we have wondered how he has managed to afford his extensive wardrobe since he wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same thing twice (“I’m so depressed I’ve worn the same outfit twice this week” – 1×21 “Funk”). Luckily, we were given an insight in the deleted Box Scene from season three’s “Extraordinary Merry Christmas”:

Blaine: Granted, no one can figure out how you pay for your outfits…
Kurt: I have an amazing eye for bargains. And I’m a member of the online site Rue La La

Below is only a small selection of the fabulous wardrobe of one Mr. Kurt Hummel, fashionista.

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Just Can’t Get Enough – Klaine

You can’t really talk about Kurt without talking about Klaine. Though not perfect, this relationship has had a major impact on attitudes and views towards gay relationships around the world. After everything that Kurt had been through in the first season and a half, the appearance of Blaine on that Dalton staircase was exactly what many of us wished for in Kurt’s first boyfriend. We have been with them every moment of their relationship. Our hearts ached as we waited for Blaine to get his act together and realize the gem he had in front of him, we partied at their first kiss and went into mourning at their break up. We then debated extensively amongst ourselves over whether or not they should get engaged, but no one on witnessing Blaine’s proposal could deny that it was absolutely perfect (though I still feel it is several years too early for them). Through their ups and downs, we have been with them and for many, they are their main reason for tuning in week after week. As my colleague Sarah Goddard put it so eloquently, “Klaine is love, it’s soulmates, it’s forever, but it’s also something that stands for those things. Klaine stands for love, it stands for acceptance, and it stands for the ability to love who you choose to love. It’s revolutionary, it’s reality and in the words of Darren himself, it’s “groundbreaking”.” Check out the fanmade video below, which comprehensively showcases their relationship.

Perfect – Kurt’s Sass

One of the things I love most about Kurt are his quick, witty comebacks. He uses his intellect to fight back and does it superbly, even if the recipient doesn’t fully understand what exactly has just happened. Some of his gems include:

Kurt: You need to call me before you get dressed.
Mercedes: Whatever.
Kurt: You look like a Technicolor zebra. (1×2 “Showmance”)

I don’t know why I find his stupidity charming. I mean, he’s cheating off a girl who thinks the square root of four is rainbows. (1×10 “Ballad”)

You smell homeless, Brett. Homeless. (2×7 “The Substitute”)

Jeremiah: No one here knows I’m gay.
Kurt: Can I be honest?… Just with the hair, I think they do…(rolls his eyes) (2×12 “Silly Love Songs”)

Finn and Rachel’s ‘The Kiss That Missed’ already has 20,000 views on YouTube. And the comments section is just full of pithy banter, like ‘Why is that T-Rex eating the Jew? (3×1 “The Purple Piano Project”)

Kurt: I don’t like you.
Sebastian: Fun… I don’t like you either.
Kurt: I don’t like the way you talk to my boyfriend, I don’t like your smirky little meerkat face, I don’t like your obnoxious CW hair. I’m on to you.
Sebastian: Let’s get a few things straight, Blaine’s too good for you, New Directions is a joke, and one of us has a hard luck case of the ‘Gay Face’ and it ain’t me. Odds are by the end of the school year, I’ll have Blaine and a Nationals trophy, and you’ll have khakis and a Lima Bean apron and that gay face.
Kurt: You smell like Craigslist. (3×8 “Hold On To Sixteen”)

Did you vapo-rape my ex-boyfriend?! Don’t you walk away from me Tina Cohen-Chang! (4×14 “I Do”)

Rachel: I’m pretty sure she just stole my comforter.
Kurt: Bitch took my pillow. (4×16 “Feud”)

We all know that Chris Colfer has a similar way with words so I’m looking forward to what else we will be able to add to this list following Colfer’s episode, 5×19.

So we’ve come to the end of my little tribute to the one and only Kurt Hummel. Hit me up below with your favourite Kurt moments from the first 100 episodes!

Clare Sidoti
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