Saturday, April 23, 2011

Grading "Glee" -- Season 02, Episode 17

"Glee" returned after a five week break and what did they have planned for the follow up to the excellent Regionals episode? Not much ... I guess this was all about reminding people that "Glee" was back and rolling toward May sweeps and the season finale. And why blow their load on a filler episode one week before a 90-minute Lady Gaga fest? Well, we still need to review it ...

"All By Myself". B. This was mostly to remind us that Sunshine still exists on this show, although who's complaining when the results are this good (but not great ... I think I've been fairly transparent about my distaste for these performances where the "Glee" divas try to out-diva each other. Something like this really has to knock my socks off to get a really good grade). I have a soft spot for this song too.

"I Follow Rivers". C. Are the producers doing some lame running gag where Tina performs a song and runs off crying before she finishes? Last time it happened I didn't even bother to rate it, but this Lykke Li cover was shaping up to be really interesting (and a perfectly believable choice for Tina's character).

"Turning Tables". D+. This was supposed to be Gwyneth Paltrow's attempt at a "serious" solo performance, in contrast with the fun pop songs she normally sings on "Glee". She really put herself out there with the elegant black dress and huge backing orchestra, all the better to show off her inadequacy on a song like this. Some of the down moments sounded good, but she's totally incapable of hitting the big notes and carrying the song through the choruses. Listen to Adele's version and how her huge voice effortlessly propels the song along. And with that, the Holly Holliday experiment comes to an end, and what was the point of having her go out with Will for all of a few weeks, only to split town like she always does? At least they left the door open for future appearances whenever Paltrow's schedule clears up, oh goody. I suppose nobody gets out of here alive until she covers Coldplay.

"Ain't No Way". B-. If we have to humour Amber Riley and her Aretha fantasies to keep her satisfied for a few weeks while other, far more entertaining singers get their chance at a big solo, then so be it. But this was far, far better than her usual formulaic stuff, mainly because she wasn't afraid to get gritty on this one, and the effort was off the charts.

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