Not much going on here, plot-wise, unless you were one of the two or three Glee fans who was invested in the Quinn-Sam relationship or were gullible enough to fall for "Sue teases becoming a nice person and making peace with Will only to turn on him and go back to being evil, Part 429". But musically, this was all over the map and in a good way. The Waitresses and Justin Bieber in the same episode? And this was one of the rare episodes lately where it didn't feel like they were trying to promote then-current chart pop or advertise for the Grammys.
"Baby". C-. Yes, this IS a good song. However, the key problem here can be chalked up to something we can call "The Minipops Principle". "Glee" works in no small part due to the Minipops Principle -- that is, people get a kick out of seeing kids perform songs by adults. But kids performing songs by kids? I'll pass.
The Britney Spears episode might seem like an exception, but it really wasn't. Even though Britney was a teenager when she recorded most of the songs in that episode, she's now in her late 20's and has been around so long that she seems more like an adult -- particularly in the eyes of the "Glee" characters, who were little kids when Britney began her career. If there's an exception, perhaps it's ...
"Somebody to Love". B+. Did they just go there? What, a SECOND Bieber song? This was the best kind of overkill. If you're going to do Bieber, then DO IT -- the hairstyles, the hooded sweatshirts; the lighting, camera angles, and slo-mo chalk dust sequences from the video; as the name suggested, this WAS the Justin Bieber Experience. Watching this for the first time, I was shocked that there was really a pay off to this Bieber-related mini-plotline.
"Take Me or Leave Me". B. I'm always saying that they should turn Lea Michele loose on more showtunes (although sassy songs like this aren't really her forte, we all know she's Barbra at heart) and the normally intolerable Amber Riley turned in a great performance too. The source material drags this way down however.
"I Know What Boys Like". B+. We went from all-Bieber, all the time to "Glee: the Cratedigging Edition" in the span of twenty minutes. Could they have chosen a more perfect song for Lauren's first solo performance? All she had to do was cruise along in a bored monotone while amping up her usual big mama raunchy shtick to 11. Tina and Brittany falling under the Zizes spell and assuming the roles of her personal hoochie bitches for two minutes was the icing on the cake.
"Sing". C+. Much like "Take Me or Leave Me", this was a good performance dragged down by a lousy song. Or rather, this is an abomination of a song (and video) in the hands of My Chemical Romance, but New Directions nearly did enough to convince me that that the song was the anthem they were making it out to be.