If you were to ask me to choose one aspect of Glee that I enjoyed the most, I’d have to say the competitions. Sectionals, Regionals and Nationals, the driving force that keeps (kept, sadface) the Glee club alive, have always been a big favourite of mine. There’s just something about seeing the entire group on stage giving it their all, that makes me happy.
Over the course of four and a bit seasons we have been to 4 Sectionals then onto 4 Regionals and eventually made it to 3 Nationals. Continuing with our celebration of all things Glee in honour of the 100th episode, I have decided to undertake the arduous task of picking my top ten favourite performances, from a list of 26 competition pieces… Well, 25, I choose to ignore that random piece of horror that was “Gangnam Style”.
So here we go…
Season Two: Nationals
“Light Up The World”
After the Finchel kiss at the end of the previous song (“Pretending”) and the shock and stunned silence that followed, the members of New Directions launched into “Light Up The World”. I always felt that this song and performance was underrated and overlooked at the time due to the fact that everyone was still staring at the screen wondering if they had in fact actually just witnessed THAT kiss.
Season Two: Regionals
“Loser Like Me”
This song is nothing short of a giant middle finger directed at anyone and everyone that ever told the Glee club they were a waste of space. It’s proof that no matter what anyone says or thinks, the kids of the Glee club know that words don’t matter, they will pick themselves up, dry themselves off and prove to the world that just because they were called losers, they will make it anyway.
Season One: Sectionals
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
The New Directions are a mess. Mr Schue can’t attend the show due to an unfortunate event regarding sleeping on a mattress in his office, Finn has quit after finding out that Puck is the father of Quinn’s baby, and they’ve just witnessed the other competing Glee Clubs perform their set list! But you know what? All is not lost. Mr Schue has a chat to Finn telling him that sure, it’s not fair that it always falls on his shoulders to save the day, but sometimes, you can’t always get what you want.
Season One: Regionals
“Anyway You Want It”
Under threat from Principal Figgins that if they don’t place at Regionals he is disbanding the Glee club, Sue Sylvester takes it upon herself to become a judge at the competition, thus ensuring the New Directions will lose and the Glee Club will be over forever… Or will it?
Season Three: Regionals
“Fly/I Believe I Can Fly”
After Sebastian threatens to upload some rather explicit photoshopped photos of Finn to the Internet, the New Directions declare war against the Warblers. But after the attempted suicide of Dave Karofsky, Sebastian decides to not be a jerk anymore and he, with The Warblers, and the New Directions perform uplifting songs of hope at Regionals in tribute to Karofsky. In what shouldn’t work but really really does, the mash up of Nicki Minaj’s “Fly” and R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly”, is just beautiful.
Season Three: Sectionals
“Man In The Mirror”
Michael Jackson, Finn, Puck, Blaine, Artie and Sam. That is all. I’m not even going to bother saying anything else.
Season One: Sectionals
“Don’t Rain On My Parade”
The only solo to make my list and it’s Rachel singing “Don’t Rain On My Parade”. In the same episode as “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, the New Directions have had their set list stolen and are forced to come up with new songs to sing on the fly. Mercedes, who had been previously chosen to perform the ballad, now turns to Rachel to pull them through. And doesn’t she ever!
Season One: Regionals
“Don’t Stop Believin’”
If the Glee club is going to lose Regionals at the hands of Sue Sylvester, they’re going to go down doing what they do best… Singing Journey songs. And more importantly singing the song that started it all and the New Directions theme song “Don’t Stop Believin’”.
Season Three: Nationals
“Paradise By The Dashboard Light”
I adore this performance. I adore everything about it. They’ve worked their asses off for the last year to get themselves back to the Nationals stage and to show everyone that they deserve to be there. The playfulness, the vocals, the costuming and the choreography are all truly spectacular in this performance, and the fact that it clinched them the Nationals victory doesn’t hurt either.
Season Five: Nationals
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
We knew. We were given notice that the New Directions would be honouring Finn in their performance at Nationals. But nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared us for their performance of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. Throughout the entire episode, Finn’s memory had been a constant presence, from Carole and Burt in the choir room to Sam revealing to the rest of the Glee club that he had brought Finn’s plaque with him to Los Angeles, so that his presence could be felt even greater. If I’m being honest, I had been on the verge of tears for most of the episode, but when Carole chokingly said to Burt, “This was Finn’s favourite song”, the first tear slipped down my cheek. But it was when the screen changed and the first flashback of Finn walking the halls of McKinley appeared that the flood gates well and truly opened. The emotion of the cast is felt in every note they sing, every glance they make towards each other and every flashback brought me closer and closer to the edge.
The song ends with Sam hoisting Finn’s drumsticks towards to heavens, and I’m done for. The last shred of composure I had, floated away in a sea of my own tears, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. In that moment, it didn’t matter whether they were going to win or not, it didn’t matter one single bit. They set out to honour Finn and that’s exactly what they did.
When I set out to compile this list there was never a doubt in my mind that this would come in at number one. For a competition performance it was worthy of the Nationals stage, but as a performance in general, it is truly the most heartbreakingly beautiful one I have ever seen.
So that’s it… How’d I do? Do you agree with my choices or are there others that you think should have been in and others that should have been out? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Hit up the comments or tweet me and let me know!
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