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!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Drake says:

    The Kurt and Blaine scene on the stairwell was easily the best two minutes of the episode. Finally, Kurt not playing the victim and complaining about how hard life is. Finally, him being selfless and finally, a little humility. Not only that, but when Blaine was about to kiss Kurt and instead patted his shoulder, I just really felt for them. I thought it was a very sweet moment, and sad at the same time. It was very well written. Easily my favorite Kurt and Blaine scene on the entire show, because it was the first time I really saw a connection between the two.

  2. Aki says:

    And in a plot development that made as much sense as Season 3′s lack of Karofsky

    And this is exactly why I haven’t watched an episode of Glee since this season’s premiere, nor do I plan to watch an episode of Glee until he returns, though I’m pretty infuriated by the spoiled content of the episode he returns in to the point where I might not watch that entire episode either, just his parts.

    • maxfanboy says:

      preach bro! I haven’t watched Glee this season either… it’s stupid how they are neglecting one of the most powerful storylines in the show… I just want my BB back

    • Ummmmmm says:

      Not watching the show makes no sense if you are “supporting” Karosky’s. If the show gets canceled there won’t be any Karosky at all. So nothing for you two to watch. Strange logic don’t you think?

      • Rod says:

        well, it’s a free world, and we are free to express our opinions… I barely enjoyed the Daveless episodes from season 2 and I just agree with the two guys before: there’s already nothing for me to watch… why do you care anyway? if you like it, watch it. I don’t, and I’m not saying anything hateful about other characters, I just don’t care: I only love Dave and only him.

  3. ControversialEagle says:

    Okay, um. Santana. We need to talk Santana. Writers, I’m serious. I’m saying this because I care. What the hell is wrong with you??!! Do you have short term memory loss or something? Can you get medication for it? Please? Maybe it will help you next time you have to remember such complicated, intricate plot points like THE FACT THAT SANTANA WAS KICKED OUT OF THE GLEE CLUP TWO EPISODES AGO.

  4. Shane says:

    I hated Run The World. Sorry. It sucked majorly.

  5. Jesse says:

    maybe mercedes is sick and they are just dropping some early hints? it’s unlikely that there will be another pregnancy because it’s been done before.

  6. Ethel says:

    I was impressed with the sudden maturity of drama queen Kurt who has been getting on my last nerve lately. And, I am or was a Kurt fan until last season seemed to be all about him and he turned into a whiney byotch.
    Am I the only one who fell in love with Mike Chang last night?The smile, the moves, the body, the whole package. Loved seeing the “other” cast get some time.

    • Emma says:

      As if Mike Chang could be anything but completely amazing? He’s always been the most likable character on the show for me. He’s the only one that hasn’t had that moment of “EEP! No writers, No! Why!” so far. I love him and I hope they keep giving him a bigger arc this season.

  7. Linderella says:

    Definitely not the “best episode ever” – and actually I’m tired of the way the writers portray Mercedes. Is she right for Maria? Absolutely not just like Kurt wasn’t right for Tony and he recognized the obvious. Is she talented? Of course she is and if they ever do Dreamgirls or half a dozen other plays, she’d be perfect. Perhaps her complaint should have been how they selected which show they would put on – one that would have opportunities for persons of color might have been more appropriate. Instead she makes it personal and doesn’t accept an opportunity to share the spotlight. She makes Rachel look downright reasonable! But it’s the writing that has become redundant because we’ve done this “Mercedes with ego issues” plot before. I did love the Mike story line even though he’s not one of my favorites although I love Tina! So many kids, not just Asians, have issues with parents’ expectations conflicting with their aspirations. It was nicely showcased.

  8. Sam says:

    Follow your dreams Mikey!! I had a similar experience when I finally “came out” to my parents and told them that after years and years of giving up my social life completely for the sake of a Yale-worthy resume, school and tests and grades did not matter to me, impressing people with my doctorate degree in law was not what I wanted, and striking it rich was the least of my concerns. I am now in an art school studying computer animation, following my dreams. Even if I don’t ever make six figures, at least I’ll be doing what I actually love to do. Thats what matters :)

  9. Ok. says:

    Guys, stop with the Pregnancy theories. Mercedes was only sick in this episode because it was convenient for the writers at the time. Its never going to be brought up again, everyone is going to forget about it an episode later. It is Glee we’re talking about, after all. You’d think people would catch on by now.

    • Amy says:

      I semi agree. Not pregnant, but not just randomly sick. I took it as an excuse for her to not have to work to semi show she was lazy or had a bad attitude.

  10. Jason says:

    Wow, this episode was utterly brilliant. I loved it from beginning to end. The songs were wonderful, the writing crisp, funny and smart and the performances were heartwarming and heartbreaking. Big props to Harry Shum Jr. too~ he has become quite the actor.

  11. Marie says:

    I already had a crush on Mike Chang, and now I have an even bigger crush on him — LOL. Why, why, why did it take the show so long to showcase Harry Shum Jr. like this? He’s every bit as talented and gorgeous as the other leading men on the show. I really hope Mike will continue to have more of a storyline and this won’t be just a one-time thing.

    As for the entire episode, I’m not sure if was the best episode ever, but I thought it was really good. I’m not going to lose sleep if every little thing on a TV show I watch for fun doesn’t play out like I think it should. My only complaint is that I didn’t get a sneak peek of Damian in the promo for the next episode. Now that was a bummer — LOL.

  12. Pimp says:

    Rachel wants Finn to vote for her over Kurt? She’s trippin. Bros before Hos.

  13. Amber says:

    I am of the opinion this episode was incredibly overhyped by TVLine, and I’m a little disappointed they did it, because it feels like their previews are getting delivered by $$$ and not true feelings about the shows. It was a very boring, flat episode to me, and I hated the musical numbers, especially that one where Brittany was dressed like some 21-year old tramp on Halloween in a stripper costume. I loved Brittany when Glee first started, but she has worn down my nerves pretty fast.

    But I did love learning that Mike Chang is indeed a triple threat. That moment saved the episode for me. He’s sure got the singing talents now, and “Cool” has become my new favorite number of the season after the Go-Go’s song.

  14. Emma says:

    Mike’s story-predictable, but cute and fairly well done (but his singing was so overproduced that it made me cringe, just like Brittany’s; they need to stick to the dancing).

    The Mercedes story can work–been building up a long time–but a flaw that they could only pull it off by making her character unlikable and unreasonable, not vulnerable and someone one felt sorry for.

    The Emma/parent/ginger supremacist stuff was so awful I don’t even have words to describe it, and I am sick to death of the story that Emma is broken and needs Will to “fix” her. While it was also annoying, the story worked better in season 1 where Will was broken and Emma, still with some crazy, was the one who spoke the truth to prod him to fix himself (note she never tried to fix him–she just tried to help him see his choices). I’m so over Glee trying to make women be problems that men come in to fix; clearly having women join the writing staff hasn’t changed a damn thing.

    And once again, Finn’s character was virtually absent from the show, and when he appeared it was only to serve as an appendage to Rachel’s story line. Supposedly there is Finchel stuff coming up, which is great and all, but when did Glee decide that Finn is a minor character? Why did they decide this?

    Three episodes into the season–1/7th of Cory Monteith’s last season on the show over–and there hasn’t been any real, considered, thoughtful attention paid to his character at all yet. Contrast this to the first two seasons–to the “basics” and the “roots” and the “heart” of Glee, where the story of Finn was always central and told the tale of how a guy who felt he was purely ordinary learned that he could be more and do more than he ever imagined was possible by opening himself up to glee and being true to himself. That’s a huge part of what made people fall in love with the show–it was a powerful message that balanced the story of Rachel and the other losers who knew they were extraordinary but were trying to figure out how to navigate a world that tried to suppress everyone who stepped out of line/didn’t appear uniform.

    Getting back to basics for Glee absolutely requires continuing to make Finn’s story front and center; without it, it feels like we’re getting a string of fan fictions written by disparate authors shoved together in an hour of TV–the show has become something that tells a bunch of tales of characters we’ve see before but which has lost its central message, purpose, and drive. Deeply disappointing; each week I’m less eager to see what happens next because I come away feeling like the show is all over the place and lacking what made it a stellar, cutting edge hour of TV.

    And the humor is still much more like the sophomoric/extreme/cartoon stuff of S2 that passes muster with a young audience, not the trenchant, cutting, humor that makes you gasp as you laugh while you turn to the person next to you saying, “Did they really say that?” Dumbing down the show to please parents of 8 year olds is never going to get the show back in the TV awards races for comedy performances again.

    • sara says:

      ~Wonderful comments about why the lack of Finn is central to why things feel so disconnected to the emotions. This feels like a glossy pop video. One of the blogs had Neil Patrick Harris comment about why Finn is his favourite character and I would urge the producers to read it and remember that this cross-over character, and fantastic actor behind it, is what makes us identify with this glee club.

    • Sara says:

      You completely misinterpreted “Fix You.” It’s not about literally fixing someone. It’s just someone telling the person that they love that they’ll always be there for them. It hurt Will to see Emma in pain, and the song was his way of saying that he’d do what he could to help her. Emma sees herself as broken, and Will was just trying to reassure her that he wasn’t going anywhere.

    • Anna says:

      I respect that you are a Finn fan but would you disagree that there are Finns everywhere? Glee is supposed to be about the people who are figuring out who they are and finding themselves. Not the small town football player who can sing and plans on staying in a small town his whole life. Finn is Finn and Finn isn’t what the show is aiming for.
      And as far as S2 I don’t know why people have such a problem with it. That season was the writers way of showing that they understand the controversies in today’s world and were relating it to everyday life. Is that so bad?

  15. deanna says:

    the premise was nice but the editing was choppy. the scene between mike and his mom was touching, but once again they rushed things so it was a bit off. i had a twig in my eyes during mike-tina ‘dream’ scene. i love the songs, especially ‘cool’ heads up for mike chang, err harry shum. overall it’s a B for me.

  16. Anthony Newhall says:

    I think the abuse story line would be great for young girls to see. It would show a great message. With that said I was wondering if maybe Mercedes has an eating disorder. Did they not mention her eating? I think they did. I really loved the episode. It wasn’t the best yet, but the music was phenomenal. I hate how they handled Mercedes leaving New Directions. It’ll all be done soon. This arc won’t be too long. They’ll get to something else in a few weeks. Like the rushed sexual relationship between Kurt & Blaine. Also, I am POSITIVE that the best actress on the show is Dianna Agron. She is fantastic in transforming herself and displays every emotion truthfully. Lea Michele is not a dramatic actress. She’s a comedic actress, it suits her. Maybe people also forget that the first songs ever to be performed on Glee were Broadway songs. They want to be on Broadway. These selections won’t change anytime soon, so stop watching or get over it if you can’t get that into your head. Love the show. Keep it up Murphy.

  17. Carmen says:

    So. I have been a Glee fan from the beginning. I’m so glad they are moving back towards more standard Broadway and classic pop/rock songs (or at least more songs that are more universal in their appeal). And the whole Mercedes feeling like she’s not given anything? Why doesn’t she work for it? Rachel (as Finn said in the video) has practiced every day for her entire life. She wants to go to school for Musical Theatre and should not be discouraged for having a better musical theatre voice. She IS Maria. Mercedes is not. She’s Effie or a pop star. If they were doing Dreamgirls or 110 in the Shade she would be perfect (and I know these are both traditional black roles, but on Broadway they DO typecast…It’s why Blaine is Tony, not Kurt). Even modern Broadway is perfect for a voice like Rachel’s/Leah’s (Spring Awakening, anyone?) I think that Mercedes’ character has always felt like she’s not in the spotlight but isn’t willing to really work for the spotlight. She wants to simply be given the parts. Again, Rachel understands that getting a gold star takes hard work and dedication. I hope that Finn and Blaine (as he is playing Tony to her Maria) are able to show Rachel that she deserves this role. And Mercedes was NOT better than Rachel (although I’m not a big fan of the constant belting). Rant over.

    I loved the Mike Chang stuff. Boy can sing…and DANCE! He’s such a perfect Riff; he’s just so “Cool”. I think Blaine makes so much sense as Tony and I can’t wait to hear him and Lea sing duets. Kurt’s acceptance of Blaine being a better candidate for Tony as well as his speech to Rachel about friends were amazing. I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

  18. Tinafan says:

    Quite honestly? I’m tired it of being the Mercedes/Rachel show. There is one other person who doesn’t get nearly enough credit and was in the original Glee club.


    She’s had practically NO solos and we do know she’s got a decent voice (hello- True Colours anyone?) I’d just like some back ground info from her family. Some plot lines for her. Let her have a chance to shine.

  19. Amanda says:

    I liked this episode, but I don’t think it was the best episode so far, not at all. It was fine and Mike’s storyline was awesome and cover of Fix you was stunning, but that’s all. I’m way more excited for episodes 4 (Britanna!) and 5 (gay bar!).

  20. mykey716 says:

    Definitely NOT the best epsiode but after last season it can only go up. Agree with others that way too much hype…I tend to ignore all of it until I watch the show. Mercedes needs to get over herself, the Rachel Berry Haters need to get over themselves, too. Rachel DOES work hard to get what she wants (even if it means having no friends…) Mercedes just WANTS it given to her…Not gonna happen. As far as ‘Out Here on My Own’…sorry, Rachel WAS better…not by a lot, but still.
    Mike Chang/Harry Shum cannot sing…’Cool’ is not really’s more ‘talked with a beat’…which made it perfect for Mike Chang to try out for Riff. There’s no way he could do Tony…Blaine was getting this role…regardless…didn’t even really have to audition.
    (But can we talk about Blaine’s wardrobe now that he’s at McKinley? Boy has worst taste in clothes…I can’t believe Kurt hasn’t tried to do a makeover!)Overall, I enjoyed the episode, but didn’t love it

  21. Anna says:

    Giving this episode a solid A-. It was classic Glee to the max. (But seriously the whole Mercedes quitting thing? Come on. So Rachel season 1. I thought we were over that!) All the numbers surprised me but in a good way. Oh and also sorry to Shanecedes fans but Shane needs to GO. I don’t like him at all. All in all good but not great. And that’s how Anna, sees it!

  22. factionb says:

    Oh God, glad to know someone else senses the incoherence of Dave Karofsky’s absence. I just hope they’re planning someone really good for that character, he deserves it and Max Adler is such a good actor; they shouldn’t let him go or waste him with stupid/shallow storylines.