Friday, May 13, 2011

Grading "Glee" -- Season 02, Episode 20

These grades are brought to you by the number 11, which is where Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" placed on Billboard 200 this week, solely thanks to last week's episode of "Glee". It blows my mind that a 34-year old album (even one as awesome as "Rumours") can rise from the dead and nearly go top-10 because of a TV show, but on the other (more depressing hand), an album only has to sell 30 000 copies to hit #11 on the charts. To put it another way, only about 0.1% of "Glee"'s viewership liked last week's episode enough to buy that album.

"Rolling In the Deep". B. This started out a bit rough, or maybe that was me coughing at sputtering at the thought of a soul/blues duet on "Glee". But they pushed through and somehow made it work, and something tells me that they're determined to cover all of Adele's "21" by the time the series runs its course (two down, nine to go). Jonathan Groff is just so good in his sleazebag role and in projecting that sleaziness when he sings.

"Isn't She Lovely". C. This wasn't meant to be a marquee performance, but I liked that they added a few extra flourishes (like using the kitchen tools as percussion instruments) even on a throwaway scene.

"Friday". C+. F. This energetic little dance pop number by the reunited Justin Bieber Experience (three-quarters of anyway) might have been simplistic, but as a ploy to get a couple hundred teenagers jumping up and down at their prom, it has to qualify as a big success ... hang on a second, did they really just cover Rebecca Black's "Friday"??? Complete with mid-song rap? Arguably the most ridiculous performance in the history of the show.

"Jar of Hearts". A-. Hallelujah, the "Glee" writers found a song that expresses complex emotions vis a vis an ex who suddenly comes back into someone's life, and it was perfectly suited for the Rachel-Finn-Jesse love triangle. It's not often that they nail a song choice this well, and the dirty/pained looks that the three of them (plus Quinn) were shooting at each other are what lifts this from the "good" to "excellent" range. One of Lea Michele's finest "Glee" performances.

"I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You". A. Electro-pop led by Darren Criss and his zonked out facial expressions? With two hot girls singing the cheerleader backup? Have I mentioned lately that I can't help but turn into a pile of goo whenever I hear this song? This probably deserves top grades, making it unequivocally the greatest performance in the history of "Glee", but it felt way too short, and the scene kept cutting away to other things that were going on. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have to d/l the full version of this.

"Dancing Queen". D. The arrangement was identical to the original, Santana's vocals were just there but nothing more, and predictably, Amber Riley tried her best to ruin the song even more by adding some runs near the end. If there's any female-led song in the history of the earth that doesn't need unnecessary vocal embellishments to make it work, it's "Dancing Queen". It's one of the greatest songs ever, and these two didn't stand a chance.

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