Before we get started with this week’s recap — which, is already late (sorry) — here’s a reminder that Glee is now on hiatus until spring 2010. New episodes are slated to start airing April 13 on FOX. Also, the show’s second soundtrack, Glee — The Music, Vol. 2, was released this week, so head over to iTunes to download it. Now, on with the show.
Mercedes (Amber Riley) gets things off to a rollicking start with her ballad, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls. Even Jennifer Hudson’s most ardent fans can’t question this faithful rendition, which is the ideal showcase for Riley’s big voice. Here’s hoping she gets to show it off more often when Glee returns in the spring. The girls from Jane Addams Academy also performed the song at sectionals, but the bar had been set too high for us to bother with a review.
We also won’t bother critiquing the Jane Addams’ girls’ performance of “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival (or Ike & Tina Turner), except to say that it seems to be in poor taste for a glee club of able-bodied students to perform in wheelchairs as a gimmick. (Let’s hope the producers of Glee are reading.)
The Haverbook Deaf Choir delivered their version of “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey to mixed reviews.
Rachel (Lea Michele) broke out her inner Barbra Streisand for her sectionals ballad, “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl, which couldn’t be more in her wheelhouse. It’s not our favorite song, but there’s no denying that Michele sang her heart out. Like Rachel, she’s probably been waiting her whole life for the chance to belt it out in front of this large of an audience.
The sectionals finale from New Directions is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones, which — though not nearly as impressive as the pilot episode’s performance of “Don’t Stop Believin’ — is solid example of what we’ve come to expect from a Glee showstopper. The vocals were strong, the performance was uplifting and it was just plain fun.
Finally, the fall finale ends with a bonus track of sorts, “My Life Would Suck Without You” by Kelly Clarkson, performed by the group as a thank you to Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison), who wasn’t allowed to attend sectionals. Not only is this our favorite performance of the episode, it probably makes the top 5 of the season. It’s a great pop song to begin with, but when put in the hands of a dozen talented young performers with energy to spare, it becomes downright frenetic. We absolutely loved it.