Glee Tackling Michael Jackson Songbook: 5 Songs the Show Must Cover (and 5 to Avoid)

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That special tribute episode of Glee that Ryan Murphy has been been hinting at since last summer has been greenlit — and it’s set to air Jan. 24, according to TV Guide Magazine. Yes indeed, the students and faculty of William McKinley High School will be busting out their moonwalks and “hoo-hoos!” as the show begins filming an installment later this week built around the Michael Jackson songbook.

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Since last night’s Jackson Family medley at Sectionals was a bit of a mixed bag, I thought I’d take the liberty of suggesting five songs the show absolutely must tackle, and five that should be avoided at all costs. Check out my picks below, then hit the comments to brainstorm your own list!

Should Do
“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”: I’m envisioning a tense duet between frenemies Rachel and Mercedes, perhaps?
“Leave Me Alone”: Because Kurt needs a solo that’s not Broadway, or a dreary ballad. How ’bout this one?
“Scream”: Oh my god can’t believe what I saw when I turned on the TV this evening/ Santana combusted, a move it got busted…
“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”: Imagine this one coming to life as a “Like a Virgin”-esque montage featuring most of our main couples in romantic settings.
“Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)”: Send the whole cast to Booty Camp to provide solid backup for a Mike-Brittany dance-off!

Should Not Do
“P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”: Especially if Shelby sings it to Puck. Yuck. (Update: Thanks for pointing out Artie sang this one back in Season 2, but again, I don’t want to hear Shelby singing this to Puck. It will not stand.)
“Ben”: We don’t need to know about the rat infestation at the McKinley cafeteria
“Earth Song”: Unless Ryan Murphy is planning to surprise us with special guests Haley Reinhart and Melanie Amaro
“Heal the World”: Just no.
“I’ll Be There”: Just seems a little too obvious and a little too dreary. Keep it in the closet!

Your turn. Ready, set, brainstorm!



Comments (71)

  • Um….they already did PYT.

    Comment by Kathy – December 7, 2011 10:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Does this mean Michale Jackson was gay?

      Comment by Kevin – December 7, 2011 12:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They’ve already done P.Y.T.! Artie did it in season 2 in the Valentine’s episode.

    Comment by Anna – December 7, 2011 10:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They already did PYT.

    Comment by aeronflo – December 7, 2011 10:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Umm, they’ve already covered PYT last year. No need to go back to the well on that one.

    Comment by Marcel – December 7, 2011 10:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They already did PYT like other commenters are saying.

    Comment by Krista – December 7, 2011 10:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They already did PYT. Artie was the featured cast member who primarily sang it. It was on the Glee CD Vol. 5.

    So no worries. I do wonder what they will do, since they have done Michael Jackson songs before…

    Maybe Beat it. Smooth Criminal (Puck). I want to see Dirty Diana (but I am not sure the senario for that).

    Comment by Stacey – December 7, 2011 10:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Personally, I feel like Artie’s the only one who should be covering Michael Jackson. It just suits his voice so amazingly well.

      Dirty Diana would be great for something involving bad-girl Quinn, if a bit meta.

      Black or White seems like an obvious choice for the “acceptance of people’s differences” theme the show’s been pushing since it’s inception. It’s also an easy one to make into a group number, maybe on the steps outside McKinley?

      Comment by Matt – December 7, 2011 11:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Way You Make Me Feel – yes
    Smooth Criminal – Yes
    Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough – Yes
    Black or White – Yes

    Comment by Ryan – December 7, 2011 10:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Black or White would be great for Sam to sing to Mercedes boyfriend if he starts any crap about Sam being white nad wanting her back.

      Comment by Tracy – December 8, 2011 10:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I Agree With These Songs

      Comment by Daniel Chenevey – December 10, 2011 01:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • THey should do Will You be There

    Comment by Kerri Cavanaugh – December 7, 2011 10:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • i agree 10984903742% i LOVE that song!!!

      Comment by kaitlyn – December 7, 2011 01:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I could see that being a great Mercedes gospel number.

      Comment by Nat – December 7, 2011 02:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ehm ditto the two previous comments. They already did p.y.t. how come you dont know that. It was pretty good too. Artie singing, mike dancing ( literally on top of the lockers) tsk tsk tsk ,research is your friend…

    Comment by rush – December 7, 2011 10:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yes, Artie already did P.Y.T in season two, but Tina also sang I Kissed A Girl in the pilot and that didn’t stop them from doing it this season.

    Comment by Will – December 7, 2011 10:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Tina sang ONE line from IKAG, hardly the same thing.

      Comment by CC – December 7, 2011 05:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They could maybe do Smooth Criminal or The Way You Make Me Feel. They’ll probably do Beat It and/or Billie Jean. If they could work it in I think They Don’t Care About Us would be kinda awesome.

    Comment by Melissa – December 7, 2011 10:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I know they did this last night, but I think that Puck should have been the only one to do Man in the Mirror, because he has grown up and changed so much recently. The song would have been so fitting for him, plus Mark Salling has got one of the most amazing voices I have ever heard.

    Comment by Beth – December 7, 2011 10:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They should sing I want you back. Technically Jackson 5, but would still be awesome.

    Comment by lifeisspiffy – December 7, 2011 10:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I love this idea and hope they fit it in…

      Comment by Exactly – December 7, 2011 12:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • And they did just perform ABC last night (which is also Jackson 5).

        Comment by No Doubt – December 7, 2011 12:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • OMG I just had an image of Sam singing “I want you back” to Mercedes!!!

      Comment by Beth Corcoran – December 9, 2011 01:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Don’t watch Glee anymore, but I love MJ so… they should do “Man in the Mirror,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Blame it on the Boogie,” “The Way You Make Me Feel” or “This Is It.”

    Comment by Saint Alicia – December 7, 2011 10:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They did Man in the Mirror in last night’s episode.

      Comment by Matt – December 7, 2011 11:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They actually did ‘Man In the Mirror’ last night for one of their Sectionals numbers, and it was great :) You should check it out.

      Comment by SW – December 7, 2011 11:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Whoops, well like I said I’ve been out of the loop. But I will check it out, thanks for the heads up (everyone).

        Comment by Saint Alicia – December 7, 2011 11:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They did Man in the Mirror in the last episode.

      Comment by Melissa – December 7, 2011 11:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Mercedes can sing Black or White when she’s torn over choosing Sam or her current boyrfriend.

    Comment by Matt – December 7, 2011 11:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • “If you’re thinkin’ ’bout being my baby, it don’t matter if you’re black or white”

      Makes Mercedes sound a bit slutty, if put into that context, really. Considering it’s about accepting everyone, it’s hard to apply it to choosing one or the other.

      Comment by Matt – December 7, 2011 11:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I Just Can’t Stop Loving You would be good for Wemma

    Comment by Stephanie – December 7, 2011 11:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bad, Beat It, Billie Jean, The Way You Make Me Feel. I feel like they’ve already done the best MJ songs (Thriller,PYT,Man in the Mirror) so I’m not really excited for this but w/e.

    Comment by Captain – December 7, 2011 11:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Billie Jean. Could be good for Puck or any of the guys. If there is a pregnancy scare storyline LOL given the lyrics. I also could see Bad! I would also love to see Scream!

      Comment by Stacey – December 7, 2011 11:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The Way You Make Me Feel is one of my favorite MJ songs. They totally should do it.

      Comment by Michelle – December 8, 2011 08:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No more Mercedes and Rachel tense moments PLEASE! Amber Riley deserves a storyline and song that is more than (a) I’m jealous of Rachel, (b) I’m overshadowed by Rachel, (c) I’m worried about Rachel, (d) I’m WHATEVER about Rachel. Everyone else on this show has had a unique storyline. Give the girl a chance to shine.

    Comment by Jani – December 7, 2011 11:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As everyone has pointed out, Artie sang P.Y.T. in season two :) I think they’ll end up doing the really big hits like ‘Billie Jean,’ ‘Smooth Criminal,’ ‘Beat It,’ and maybe, ‘Black or White’. I can’t see them not doing any those for a tribute episode.

    Comment by SW – December 7, 2011 11:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Agreed. Michael Slezak’s research is pretty sloppy and lazy. PYT was done, and done well, by Artie. Should Slezak even continue covering Glee stories, since he’s obviously not a real fan?

    Comment by Jon – December 7, 2011 11:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yeah,like everyone said they already did PYT. It wasn’t bad either. The rest of the songs on the should not do list are pretty obvious nonos.

    Comment by Allie – December 7, 2011 11:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Santana totally needs to sing The Way You Make Me Feel to Brittany!

    Comment by Sydney – December 7, 2011 11:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Way You Make Me Feel could be really fun. Also, not sure how it would work, but how about Human Nature? That’s my favourite Jackson track. And I’d probably like Kevin/Artie to sing it. I know he seems to be the go-to guy for MJ, but I think it’s for a good reason, his voice suits it.

    Comment by C – December 7, 2011 11:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • aww but I love “I’ll Be There…” I would like if the did that song.

    Comment by Robin – December 7, 2011 11:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They have done Michael Jackson songs before — I think what has changed is that they’ve gotten permission to do songs Michael wrote. Everything they’ve done by Michael thus far was written by other songwriters.

    Comment by Gertrude – December 7, 2011 11:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Way You Make Me Feel!!!! Please I really hope they sing that one!!! Like Finn to Rachel. That would make my life!
    Smooth Criminal would be awesome too!

    Comment by Kelly – December 7, 2011 11:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My fav MJ song is Human Nature. Would be awesome if someone sang that. I do NOT want to hear Heal the World. I would love to hear someone with edge (Santana?) do Give In To Me. I will literally SHOOT myself if they make Sam and Mercedes’ BF duet The Girl is Mine… unless the big hulking football player opens his mouth and MJ’s high pitched voice comes out with “I’m a lover, not a fighter” HAHA

    Comment by Isaac – December 7, 2011 11:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She’s Out of My Life, my fave MJ song ever. Puck can sign it to Shelby, Beth or Quinn, depending on how story goes!

    Comment by Riley – December 7, 2011 12:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I met sing, not sign. D’oh!

      Comment by Riley – December 7, 2011 12:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Geez, and then I meant to say meant not met. I’m done posting, oy.

    Comment by Riley – December 7, 2011 12:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was going to say that Artie already did PYT, but since 800 other people already mentioned this, clearly without reading the other comments first, I won’t say more.

    I hope they do “Black or White” and “I Want You Back.”

    Comment by Rick – December 7, 2011 12:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How about “Off the Wall” for Mike to sing – and dance!! – to?

    Comment by Um – December 7, 2011 12:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would say yes to:
    The Way You Make Me Feel (Finn to Rachel)
    Say Say Say (Blaine to Kurt about Kurt’s insecurities and Sebastian)
    The Girl Is Mine (Sam and Shane fighting over Mercedes)
    Smooth Criminal (group number with Artie leading)

    I would say no to:
    Billie Jean
    Beat It
    Bad

    Comment by Josie – December 7, 2011 12:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Should Do :

    Scream
    You Rock My World
    Give In To Me
    Remember The Time or Butterflies
    Working Day and Night

    Maybe include a lesser know song too but which one ?

    Comment by Ziro – December 7, 2011 12:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They should do “Remember The Time” (one of the coolerst MJ jams EVER!!) Mike (on the show) could dance the h*ll outta that! Also, “You Rock My World” would be good ,too. Stay away from the slow numbers ’cause they’re mostly solo songs (although “They Don’t Care About Us” might be a good group song.)

    Comment by Danni – December 7, 2011 12:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’d rather they not do Michael Jackson at all.

    Comment by Jucy – December 7, 2011 01:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Even though I just suggested some songs, I totally agree!

      Comment by Margo – December 7, 2011 02:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • WHo’s Michael Jackson?

    Comment by Jason – December 7, 2011 01:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Remember The Time should definitely be covered! [Sam would sing this to Mercedes but not sure if he can pull it off]

    Comment by Gemma – December 7, 2011 01:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If Sam is STILL pursuing Mercedes by this episode he should serenade her with “Remember the Time” (I always got a “blond Kris Allen” vibe off the guy). Though it was actually on Paul McCartney’s album, “Say Say Say” is one of my favorite Paul/MJ duets and would love for someone to tackle it. And another duet…MJ and Mick Jagger’s “State of Shock.” Maybe Puck and Artie?

    Comment by bamabunny – December 7, 2011 01:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 5 They Should Do:
    Rock With You
    Get On The Floor
    Wanna Be Startin’ Something
    Human Nature
    I Just Can’t Stop Loving You

    5 They Shouldn’t Do:
    You Are Not Alone
    Heal The World
    Billie Jean
    Beat It
    The Way You Make Me Feel
    ….and so much more!

    Comment by Margo – December 7, 2011 02:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Billie Jean. My absolute fav MJ song.. although it probably won’t happen. Then again maybe that’s a good thing.. so they don’t taint it lol.

    Comment by Danielle H – December 7, 2011 03:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So this is the big tribute Ryan Murphy says it’s taken years to get clearance for? But they did MJ last season, so I thought it’d be someone else. And RM said it’d be a big 2 hour episode, the tribute. I keep hearing this is a one hour thing.

    Darn, and here I was hoping the tribute would be to Disney music.

    Comment by Kim – December 7, 2011 03:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • A Disney tribute would be AMAZING. So many great songs.

      Comment by CC – December 7, 2011 06:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Is it bad that I really want to see someone sing Dirty Diana to Quinn just for the inside joke (Dianna being the actress’ name).
    I could see Sam singing Black or White as a bid to get Mercedes back, but we’ll see.

    Comment by Taylor – December 7, 2011 08:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • MUST we vernerate this predator of children?

    Comment by Whitney – December 7, 2011 08:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Please let Artie and Mercedes sing ‘Human Nature’ as a duet!!
    Kevin’s voice so suits singing MJ songs and I’ve heard Amber sing an acapella version of it on a chat show and she was awesome (plus these two NEED to do a duet, and one that is a brilliant EPIC song).
    Might even get me watching and caring again!

    Comment by Tootz – December 7, 2011 08:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bad–Puck (maybe with Quinn)
    The Way You Make me Feel–Santana and Brittany
    Beat It–New Directions with Artie singing lead
    I Just Can’t Stop Loving You–Will (singing to Emma) and/or Rachel (singing to Finn)
    Black or White–New Directions
    Health the World–New Directions
    Dirty Diana–Puck (singing to Quinn)
    Rock with You–Blaine and Kurt
    The Girl is Mine–Sam (about Mercedes)

    Comment by Amanda – December 8, 2011 09:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Dirty Diana
    Black or White
    Billy Jean
    The way you make me feel
    Will you be there

    Comment by JW – December 8, 2011 10:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A mashup of Michael’s “Beat It” and Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams”

    Comment by Joey W. – December 8, 2011 12:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They should do You are Not Alone sung by Puck to Shelby and Beth
    The Love you save sung by Finn to Rachel
    Enjoy Yourself Sung by Will Shouster to Sue Sylvester
    Heal The World Sung by New Directions
    Got To be There Sung by Sam to Mercedes

    Comment by Beth Hatch – December 10, 2011 05:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I Like To Hear The Love You Save,Enjoy Yourself, Got To Be There, Black Or White, The Way You Make Me Feel, Dirty Diana, Bad, Beat It,
      I Can’t Stop Loving You, Rock With You, The Girl Is Mine,
      Health The World, You Are Not Alone,Get On The Floor,
      Wanna Be Startin’ Something, Human Nature, Scream, You Rock My World,
      Give In To Me, Remember The Time, Working Day and Night,
      Smooth Criminal, Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, Say Say Say,
      And Billy Jean

      Comment by Daniel Chenevey – December 10, 2011 12:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wish jesse st james back in this episode!!!pleaseeeee!!i want hear his extraordinary voice again!!

    Comment by Lulu – December 13, 2011 09:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They are doing Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin but Darren is singing it
    Santana and that warbeler kid are singing smooth criminal and they are doing scream, i think that might be the group number but im not sure

    Comment by Tess – January 19, 2012 12:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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