Glee Recap: Viva La Diva-Off!

You can have your Yankees Vs. Tigers. Tonight’s installment of Glee featured diva against diva going head-to-head in the World Series of High-School Musical Auditions. And yeah, it was exciting enough to make me mix sports- and musical theater-metaphors with reckless abandon. If you somehow got distracted perusing Breadstix’s new delivery menu and missed the episode, please allow me to catch you up — in the classic “here’s what you missed on Glee” format:

Will found Emma’s stash of wedding mags and came clean by sharing his own embarrassing periodicals (ewwwww), but when she refused to introduce him to her mom and dad, he boldly invited them to dinner and found out they were “ginger supremacists” (or as Mr. Pilsbury described it, “ginger preservationists”) who only approved of mixing (and mating) with other redheads. Oh, they’re also awful parents, and their meanness reactivated Emma’s OCD in such a hardcore way, the episode ended with Will and Emma praying to God to help her get better. Speaking of high-maintenance parental units, Mike Chang got dragged to the principal’s office by his father (Mr. Mike Chang) to discuss his A- (aka “Asian F”) in chemistry. Prognosis? Time to cut back on glee club, drama club, and possible vampire girlfriend Tina Cohen-Chang. But Mike skipped his tutoring sesh to try out (rather awesomely) for West Side Story, and then his mom revealed she’d given up her own dancing dreams back in the day, and that the two of ’em would break the news to dear ole’ daddy. Cue: Mike Chang’s infectious smile. Cue: Mike giving his mom a dancing lesson. Cue: Me reaching for the Kleenex. Mama’s boys FTW!

In other news from McKinley, Kurt dismissed Brittany’s chances in the campaign for senior-class president till the bubbleheaded blonde’s absolutely smashing flashmob whipped the school’s female population into a frenzy. (No, Michelle Bachmann, this is not the answer for you.) And in a plot development that made as much sense as Season 3’s lack of Karofsky, Rachel considered throwing her hat in the class-president ring despite her thunderous unpopularity — and despite it causing friction with her bestie Kurt.

That wasn’t the only frenemy showdown causing friction, however: Mercedes’ new boyfriend Marcus convinced her it was time to stop playing supporting roles to Rachel’s lead, and while it resulted in a burst of confidence before her West Side Story tryout for the role of Maria, it also brought about a new and cantankerous streak that found her at odds with Mr. Schue, throwing a tantrum during New Directions booty camp that was a throwback to a classic scene from Dreamgirls. After a drama-club callback audition in which Mercedes and Rachel both did what seemed like equally lovely renditions of “Out Here on My Own” (not from West Side Story, naturally), Beiste, Artie, and Emma double-cast the role — one week for Rachel, one week for Mercedes. (The eventual casting of Rachel, Blaine, Santana, and Mike Chang was all very reminiscent of The Glee Project elimination montages, no?) When Ms. Berry couldn’t honestly say she’d outsung Ms. Jones at their callback, though, Mercedes forgot everything she’d learned in kindergarten, decided against sharing, dropped out of the play, dropped out of New Directions, and dropped into Shelby Corcoran’s office offering to join her new, rival show choir. Oh, and also, Mercedes might possibly maybe be preggers. And that’s what you missed on Glee.

Now, before we get to the week’s musical numbers, let’s run through a couple of the episode’s memorable bits of dialogue.

* “I kicked a fire hydrant when I found out Ace of Cakes was canceled.” –Beiste, explaining her crutches

* “Oh, so you’re cool with flushing McKinley High’s future down the magical, poop-stealing water chair?” –Brittany, questioning Rachel’s vote for Kurt

* “Yeah, Kurt looks like Jimmy Fallon’s butch daughter, but a vote for him would only empower yet another frank and beans.” –Santana, arguing why McKinley needs a girl as senior-class president

* “Did you know Breadstix delivers? It’s awesome.” –Bieste, pumped at her lunchtime reverie

* “If anyone else got Tony — including me — the wrath of Sondheim would fall upon McKinley like a plague of Shubert Alley locusts.” –Kurt, discussing casting possibilities for McKinley’s West Side Story production (Did anyone else want to do a cartwheel to celebrate Kurt’s maturity in backing away from a role for which he was clearly not intended?)

Jerks of the Week
Emma’s mom observing her daughter’s OCD outbreak and joking, “Looks like Freaky Deaky is coming down with a mean case of the cleanies.”

Shelby exiting a lunchtime chat with Beiste with this parting shot: “Enjoy your enormous bowl of disgusting, creamy pasta.” Shut your pie-hole, carb-denier!

And now, let’s talk about the music…

“Spotlight,” Mercedes
I liked having a modern J.Hud ditty in the mix, and Amber Riley sounded strong and connected to the material, but I had two problems here: The arrangement was so close to the original, it was a little bit of a shoulder-shrug, and even worse, the lyrics are about a woman dealing with unwelcome and untrusting scrutiny from a lover — not about sharing the spotlight. Oh what I’d have given for a better song choice, or a mashup that made more sense. Musical grade: B+ Relevance to the plot: C+

“Run the World (Girls),” Brittany Rated D for Dayyyyyummmmm! Who run this motha…? The Lady Pearce (or Heather Morris), obvs.
Musical grade: A Relevance to the plot: A-

“Cool,” Mike Chang
Okay, so Mike’s not the strongest singer in New Directions, and Harry Shum Jr.’s not the strongest singer in the Glee cast. But this West Side Story audition was performed with such verve and swagger and charisma (and such artfully exposed biceps) that I’m kinda wondering why dude didn’t get cast as Tony. Anyone else?
Musical grade: A Relevance to the plot: A

“It’s All Over,” Mercedes and Booty Camp Attendees
Oh how I wish this scene gelled better than it did. Amber Riley sung what she brung, and brought the world-weariness and rage of Ms. Effie White. But why did Mercedes = Effie, but the other 100 people in the scene = New Directions members? Also: When has Mercedes ever been anything other than a team player and New Directions MVP? Seriously, nobody’s going to cut her slack for a bad week?
Musical grade: C+ Relevance to the plot: C

“Out Here on My Own,” Rachel vs Mercedes
I support all Rachel-Mercedes diva-offs, whether friendly (“Take Me or Leave Me”) or tense (like this one). What’s not to love about two massive-voiced ladies throwing down in the subject that Glee does best? (Belting 101, I mean.) That said, why didn’t the casting directors choose a number from the musical in question? This just don’t make no kinda sense, if you know what I’m saying. Also: I have to admit I want these two to be friends again!
Musical grade: A- Relevance to the plot: B+

“Fix You,” Schue
My jury is still out on this one. I know Schue is the adult cornerstone of Glee, but most of the time I find myself wanting him to go the way of the teachers on Peanuts. That said, I was really feeling for Emma, crumbled and humbled, praying on the bedroom floor, so I can’t be too mad at the performance. I’ll come back with a grade next week, after I’ve had more time to ponder, if that’s okay with you.
Musical grade: N/A Relevance to the plot: N/A

What did you think of this week’s Glee? Which plot points made you happy, and which had you looking for a rewrite? What was your favorite musical number? Sound off below, and for all my Glee recaps and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!