Top 10 ‘Glee’ performances, ranked

Image via Fox

When it was announced that Glee would be leaving Netflix, fans were devastated. For many it’s a comfort show, for others it’s just a good laugh, but whether you consider yourself a Gleek or not, the show was iconic during its original airing on Fox. There were multiple musical performances each episode and diverse characters to follow, many of which audience members saw in themselves. Whether you were a theatre or choir kid, a band geek, gay, or even just an overlooked star like Rachel Berry (sarcasm), Glee was for everyone.

The show paid tribute to multiple performers, producing whole episodes focused solely on artists like Madonna, The Beatles, and even Whitney Houston. Many episodes though, the club simply had a theme to follow or a competition to perform at and that was where these song choices came into play. With so many performances throughout the six-season series, it was hard to narrow down ten songs that we believe to be the best, but we’ve succeeded! Check out the top 10 Glee performances below.

10. ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)’; Brittany Pierce & Santana Lopez (S3, E17)

In the Whitney Houston tribute episode, that aired soon after her death, the Glee Club performs all Houston songs. One of which being I Wanna Dance With Somebody, is sung by Brittany and Santana, who officially begin dating soon after. It’s Brittany admitting her feelings for Santana in front of the Glee Club, and when Santana joins in she is admitting hers too. What was really great about this number is that they changed the lyrics that had ‘he’ in it to ‘she’ to make the song more appropriate for the same-sex couple.

9. ‘I Feel Pretty/Unpretty’; Rachel Berry & Quinn Fabray (S2, E18)

In season 2, Finn broke Rachel’s nose which resulted in the doctor suggesting a nose job. Yes, this was a real plot of an entire episode of Glee… As Rachel debates the procedure, she decides she wants Quinn’s nose, who just so happens to be Finn’s girlfriend at the time. As they go through the process of getting test pictures done, they sing an incredible mashup of West Side Story’s I Feel Pretty and TLC’s Unpretty. It really shows off the struggle girls, especially at that age, go through to be perfect and beautiful to the male gaze.

8. ‘Teenage Dream (Acoustic)’; Blaine Anderson (S4, E4)

While this episode is full of devastation for Klaine and Finchel shippers, it still gave us some great songs. Darren Criss, who plays Blaine Anderson, sang this acoustic version of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream live for the episode and it really added another layer of emotion to it that had, at least me, crying. Unbeknownst to viewers at this point, he had cheated on Kurt and was trying to find a way to tell him. Teenage Dream was the first song Kurt ever saw him perform, so it was supposed to be a romantic gesture. While it was romantic and beautifully done, it was still heartbreaking seeing Blaine practically breakdown on stage.

7. ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’; Rachel Berry (S3, E21)

Lea Michele may be difficult, but damn can she sing. Kurt said a quote very similar about Rachel Berry in season 3, only now we know there isn’t much of a difference between the actress and the character. In the season 3 Nationals episode, we see Rachel perform an iconic Celine Dion classic, It’s All Coming Back to Me Now. Of course she kills it as she always does. The best part though, comes when the NYADA (Rachel’s dream college) advisor ends up showing up to watch halfway through and Rachel gains her confidence back, making the performance that much more intense and entertaining.

6. ‘You Get What You Give’; The New Directions Seniors (S3, E22)

One of the final songs that the original graduating class of Glee Club sang was You Get What You Give. They sang it to the underclassmen at the end of season 3, stating that the club was now theirs and they had to carry on the legacy that they had begun. It’s a great song and inspiring, even to audiences, so to use it for such an emotional moment was smart and well-done. It’s the seniors, and fan-favorite characters’, final goodbye to the friends that they’ve grown with over the past three seasons, and seeing it was beautiful.

5. ‘Don’t Stop Believin’; Rachel Berry (S4, E19)

The number that started it all was Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, and while the original from Season One is still incredible, Rachel singing it at her “Funny Girl” audition and imagining the rest of the club as her backup is absolutely sentimental and well-done scene in general. It was a touching, nostalgic moment for fans who had been watching since the beginning to see this song redone in a new and exciting way. It felt like a payoff seeing Rachel sing the song that started it all at her dream audition.

4. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’; Vocal Adrenaline (S1, E22)

Yes, we all hate Vocal Adrenaline after they egged the New Directions in season 1, however there’s no denying the talent, especially from Jonathan Groff as Jessie St. James. In the season 1 finale we see him and the rest of Vocal Adrenaline perform the iconic Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, which is one hell of a feat. However, Groff dazzles with his vocals and stamina. What’s really, weirdly, memorable about this performance though is that it’s overlaid with Quinn giving birth to her baby, so along with the chorus’ harmonies, we also hear Quinn screaming whilst giving birth. It was bizarre, it was amazing, and it was very Glee.

3. ‘I Lived’; Full Cast (S6, E13)

I Lived is the finale of all finales. It’s the last episode of Glee and the very last song and scene we see of the series. It was a great choice as it explains all of the dreams the cast of characters has and how they, and Mr. Schue, hope to accomplish everything they’ve been dreaming of since the pilot episode. With color coordinating outfits and reunions that go as far back as season 1, I Lived has so much emotional value to us Gleeks that it couldn’t not make the list.

2. ‘Smooth Criminal’; Santana Lopez & Sebastian Smythe (S3, E11)

Season 3 of Glee gave us a ton of great songs, however there’s no contest what the best one was. The Smooth Criminal duet between Santana and Sebastian was full of tension, amazing harmonies, and the greatness that is 2 Cellos. It was almost like an acoustic performance of the song with only the cellos backing the two characters. This song came after The Warblers attacked Blaine with rock salt and Santana planned to get intel on what happened, but ended up having to duel Sebastian glee-club-style. Their voices blend incredibly and the simplistic choreography really let their voices shine as the main part of the performance.

1. ‘Loser Like Me’; The New Directions (S2, E16)

There were practically no other contenders for the number one spot. Loser Like Me was an original song, one very few in the series, and it captured the spirit of the show perfectly. It spoke for multiple demographics who had ever been bullied, ridiculed or criticized for their dreams or something more. The lyrics, “Everyone you wanna be, probably started off like me” were so critical in explaining that just because you’re seen as weird or different, it doesn’t mean you’re not worthy. It’s a delight and an amazing way to tie the series together as a whole.