Glee's 21 Best Musical Numbers of All-Time

With Major League Baseball playoffs dominating Fox’s primetime lineup for the next few weeks, Glee fans are holding their collective breath until Season 4 resumes in early November.

Still, everyone knows it’s cathartic to exhale, and with that in mind, we decided there was no better time to update the debate about what songs belong on a list of Glee‘s 21 Best Musical Numbers of All-Time. Our picks include expected suspects like “Teenage Dream” and “Faithfully,” but there are more than a few surprises, too.

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So do check out the full gallery of 21 slides below, then tell us which moments we overrated, which ones we left out, and where we managed to get it exactly right.

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289 Comments
  1. Gleek21 says:

    Where is Somebody To Love (The Queen song)? That was better than half the songs on this list.

  2. LC says:

    I think Don’t Stop Believing should be Number 1. That performance along is Glee. It’s what got me and millions of people into Glee.
    RHY/SLY is a close second.

  3. Amy says:

    Hell to the No? Instead of Trouty Mouth? The latter is definitely more iconic.
    And Bohemian Rhapsody was better than Boogie Shoes for the VA performance. Unique in drag doesn’t really compare to hearing Queen while Quinn was giving birth.
    Otherwise hard to argue against the rest of the list.

  4. Drew says:

    The Mercedes solo included was “Hell to the No”?
    Ain’t No Way, I Will Always Love You, And I’m Telling You, Beautiful, Try A Little Tenderness, I Look to You or Disco Inferno would have all been better choices than that.

    How were Bohemian Rhapsody, River Deep Mountain High, PYT, Somebody to Love and How Will I Know all not included?

    This list is just strange.

  5. Sean C. says:

    I don’t see how “We Found Love” would belong in the Top 21, let alone in the Top 5.

  6. Kate says:

    “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is my all time favorite Glee performance. Runners up would include “No Air” by Finn and Rachel, the Journey medley from Regionals headlined by Finn and Rachel, “Hit Me Baby One More Time” by Rachel, “Defying Gravity” by Kurt and Rachel. “Taking Chances” by Rachel and lastly “Rolling in the Deep” by Rachel and Jesse (though I wish Glee would have recorded and released the vocals with music).

    I was very disappointed by the music selections in S3 and so far S4 hasn’t thriled me either so I hope Glee starts picking better songs.

  7. Sarah says:

    What about Jar of Hearts? One of my favorites

  8. Alex says:

    No Landslide, this list is invalidated.

  9. vtr says:

    Don’t Stop Believing should be the #1 wit DROMP #2 There are many songs of this list that don’t deserve to be ranked as the best of the show. Somebody to Love (Queen) should be on the top 3.

    The Faberry duet was nice but it wasn’t that good to be in the #2. There are better songs than that, like the Rachel’s Fleetwood Mac cover.

  10. Wenders says:

    The fact that this list opened with a song featuring Gwyneth Paltrow should have been my first clue that I wasn’t going to agree with it…

    But leaving off Somebody to Love, Like a Prayer and Bohemian Rhapsody? List. Invalid.

  11. Karen says:

    Um: Bohemian Rhapsody (!!!!!), River Deep Mountain High, Safety Dance (!!!), Hello! And I would definitly replace Mercedes’ Hell to the No with Hate on Me or Bust Your Windows. And Brittany with Run the World (Girls) is far from my list as well.
    But then again, it’s hard to make someone completely happy with any sort of list. And overall I guess I can be happy with it :)

  12. gary says:

    How isnt Somebody to Love on this list? It was really the 1st group number that they sound great doing and imo a key song to this whole show

    Top 5 for me:
    5. Rumor Has it/Someone like You
    4. Valerie
    3. Dont Stop Believing
    2. Somebody to Love
    1. Dont Rain on My Parade

  13. debeliah1012 says:

    Somebody to Love, Total Ecplipse of the Heart and Like a Prayer are 3 of my all time favorites and none are on the list.. I don’t even remember Hell to the No and Jump was fun but definitely not one of the best ever.

  14. Amanda Belt says:

    Where is pure imagination? The funeral was perfect with that song. It had me in tears and is a go to on my iPod!

  15. gary says:

    Also its a joke that Boogie Shoes is even on this list. Unqiue is terrible and that was by far one of the worst VA performances ever. If any VA song is gonna be on this list it should be Boehamian Rhapsody

    • Tim says:

      Boogie Shoes was excellent. I’m guessing you’re either homophobic, racist, or both.

      • gary says:

        Boogie Shoes doesnt come close to Boehamian Rhapsody. So im either homophobic, racist or both because i dont think Unqiue is a well acted or even good character? Just because he is a gay character on TV doesnt mean he isnt still a horrible actor/performer. It a joke that just because he is playing a gay character that everyone think your racist or homophobic because you say he isnt good. It just a fact gay/straight/bi/panda/cyclops no matter what he still isnt very good. But people act like he is because they dont want to say anything bad about him because of people like you saying they are homophobic

      • Krystal M says:

        I’m gay and I happen to agree. Alex Newell does nothing for the character. I love the idea of Unique on the show, but itd be better if executed by an actual Actor.

  16. Deb M. says:

    No Shake It Out?

  17. Linderella says:

    I missed seeing Cell Block Tango on anyone’s list.

  18. gail says:

    Hold your hand should be higher. Blackbird should be on the list. The Michael medley they did at the competition was one of the best! Shame it is not on this list. Dream on, Forget you, Songbird should have been higher. The will and april duet from rumours should be on here! Not a good list in my opinion.

    • Tentoes says:

      I love Kurt’s rendition of I Want To hold Your Hand, but the idea that the song is a love song from a man to a woman (like it’s original intention) holds me back. Same with Isn’t She Lovely, when Artie sang it as a love song to Brittany and the song is about a newborn baby.

  19. Jenny says:

    How do you not have Somebody to Love (Queen song NOT Bieber) on this last?

  20. Curt Toil says:

    My Top 21:
    1. We Are Young
    2. Don’t Stop Believin
    3. Don’t Rain On My Parade
    4. Faithfully
    5. Songbird
    6. Happy Days Are Here Again/ Get Happy
    7. Defying Gravity
    8. Born This Way
    9. Loser Like Me
    10. The Scientist
    11. Teenage Dream
    12. Paradise By the Dashboard Light
    13. Like A Prayer
    14. Bad Romance
    15. Tongue Tied
    16. Rumor Has It / Someone Like You
    17. Sing
    18. Take Me Or Leave Me
    19. One
    20. Get It Right
    21. Safety Dance

    That’s just some of my favs. Maybe mix and match the order a little but generally that’s it. :)

  21. D says:

    My Headband is epic

  22. O'Brien says:

    No “Somebody to Love” is a mistake, I feel, because the cast was already performing it before the show, and everyone was so pumped when it aired. I’m in complete agreement that the Adele mashup should be higher – it was amazing. I totally agree with DROMP at #1, though – the entirety of it, from Lea Michele’s looking at the curtain before entering, to her trip to the stage, to the New Directions walking out, looking like there’s just nothing in the world but winning while Rachel is singing that song IS PERFECT.

    I would have left off “Girls” and “We Found Love,” and probably would have included, “Boy Next Door,” and “My Man” (because Rachel really can’t sing without crying). Also, am I the only one who has always loved “Borderline/Open Your Heart,” because I thought that was a pretty stellar mashup, as well as “Stop In the Name of Love/Free Your Mind.”

  23. Sophia Gaveria says:

    My top 21:

    1. Rumor Has It/Someone Like You
    2. I Feel Pretty/Unpretty
    3. Mine
    4. Safety Dance
    5. Shake It Out
    6. The Scientist
    7. Valerie
    8. River Deep Mountain High
    9. We Are Young
    10. We Found Love
    11. Your Love Is My Love
    12. Songbird
    13. Bad Romance
    14. Journey Medley
    15. Landslide
    16. Somebody To Love
    17. I Want To Hold Your Hand
    18. Give Your Heart A Break
    19. Slave For You
    20. Empire State Of Mind
    21. Hit Me With Your Best Shot/One Way or Another

  24. FRANCINE says:

    WHERE THIS ?

    BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY,
    LIKE A PLAYER,
    WE ARE YOUNG,
    TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART,
    ONE,
    EMPIRE STATE OF MIND,
    RIDE WIT ME,
    DANCING QUEEN,
    BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME,
    THE TIME WARP
    STAYING ALIVE
    BORN THIS WAY
    SING
    “Anything Goes / Anything You Can Do”
    IT’S ALL OVER
    AMERICA
    ABC
    BAD
    COUGH SYRUP
    SO EMOTIONAL
    “Chasing Pavements”
    DON’T SPEAK
    MINE
    “I Say a Little Prayer”
    SOMEBODY TO LOVE
    PROUD MARY
    TRUE COLORS
    KEEP HOLDING ON
    “My Life Would Suck Without You”
    BAD ROMANCE
    VALERIE

    ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  25. Miriasha says:

    Rose’s Turn, sung by Chris Colfer (Kurt)

  26. Terry says:

    Pretty terrible list actually. Who in their right mind would put We Found Love in the Top 5? Mine would go:
    1.We Are Young
    2.Don’t Stop Believing
    3.Don’t Rain on My Parade
    4.Rumor Has It/Someone Like You
    5.Shake It Out
    6.Anything Goes/Anything You Can Do
    7.Cell Block Tango
    8.Without You
    9.Thriller/Heads Will Roll
    10.Somebody to Love (Queen)
    11.Paradise by the Dashboard Lights
    12.How Will I Know
    13.Valerie
    14.Black or White
    15.Not the Boy Next Door
    16.Safety Dance
    17.Borderline/Open Your Heart
    18.ABC
    19.The Scientist
    20.Dog Days Are Over
    21.River Deep Mountain High

  27. Piper says:

    What about “I dreamed a Dream”, “Maybe this Time” or “Home”?

  28. Cate53 says:

    There are several ways to judge/pick top Glee songs. You can’t beat a great song (Somebody to Love is indeed a HUUUGE omission!) and sometimes a great performance (Lea Michele killed Don’t Rain on My Parade – but the arrangement was pretty faithful to Barbra and not really an original one. Ditto with And I’m Telling You..)

    I like when they put a Glee spin on a great song, which is why Don’t Stop Believing will probably be the one that lasts in years to come. Good song, great arrangement, fantastic emotionally and storytelling wise.

    The mashups are Glee big original thing IMO and for me, Rumour Has It/Someone like You is the best they’ve done. Fantastic songs, fantastic arrangement and performance. Adored Pretty/Unpretty. Thriller/Heads Will Roll, Halo/Walking on Sunshine, Confessions/It’s My Life also worth praise.

    Having said that, my top 21 (not going to number them, too hard and the juggling would take too long!)

    Somebody to Love
    Don’t Stop Believing
    4 Minutes
    Pure Imagination
    Empire State of Mind
    Don’t Rain on my Parade
    I Feel Pretty/Unpretty
    Halo/Walking on Sunshine
    Rumour Has It/Someone Like You
    Shake it Out
    Teenage Dream
    Sing (MCR)
    Boogie Shoes
    Toxic
    Thriller/Heads Will Roll
    Marry You
    Lucky
    Keep Holding On
    Defying Gravity
    Poker Face
    And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going

    • gt says:

      So what if DROMP was an orignal arrangement that is part of why it fit Rachel so well. She had to wing it. Plus the song work for the triumph of the Rachel and finding a place in glee and the whole glee club fining there way no matter what.

  29. Jessica says:

    That is a terrible picture of Mark Salling…

  30. Sandy says:

    For me some of the most memorable (meaning usually made me go buy the single) were:

    River Deep, Mountain High
    We Are Young
    Valerie
    I’m a Slave 4 U (admittedly more memorable for dancing than vocals)
    Landslide
    Papa Can You Hear Me
    Try a Little Tenderness
    Bust Your Windows

  31. A says:

    21 is too small a number. Some of my many favs are Take Me Or Leave Me, Because You Loved Me, So Emotional, How Will I Know, Don’t Rain On My Parade, It’s All Coming Back To Me Now, Listen, My Man, Cell Block Tango, River Deep Mountain High, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Ain’t No Way, Roots Before Branches, Funny Girl, I Can’t Go for That/You Make My Dreams, Somewhere, You and I/You and I, To Sir With Love, One Less Bell to Answer/A House Is Not a Home, Open Your Heart/Borderline, Somewhere Only We Know, Faithfully, and I loved all the ROCKY HORROR songs.

  32. BeGo says:

    Bohemian Rhapsody will forever be the most epic performance ever on Glee..the vocals, choreography (meaning no fist pumping and random individual dancing) and camera work was just flawless, something that hasn’t been match in any other performance since…

  33. Steve says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Rachel and her mom singing “Poker Face” deserves at least a spot on the list, even if it is last? And I agree that Kristen Chenoweth deserves to be up there somewhere. This list sucks.

  34. rr says:

    Rumor Has It/Someone Like You definitely should have been top 5. IMO Top 3

  35. Sandy says:

    where is river deep mountain high? oh slezak, its the best diva moment!

  36. kate says:

    Excuse me, where in the hell is Bohemian Rhapsody? Jonathan Groff and the Vocal Adrenaline dancers killed that number. Best performance I’ve ever seen on Glee period. Runner up’s I would say are I Feel Pretty/Unpretty, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Rumor Has It/Someone Like You, Don’t Rain on My Parade, and For Good

  37. liz says:

    This list is immediately invalidated due to the fact that it includes Boogie Shoes and We Found Love. Are you kidding me?

    Also where is I Dreamed a Dream, Bohemian Rhapsody, For Good, and My Man??

  38. Richard says:

    “Musical Numbers” needs more clarification as “Single Ladies” from season one (the football game) and season three with Burt, were among my favorite “musical numbers”.

  39. Lisa says:

    I loved their 2 originals, Rachel singing “Get it Right” and also “Loser Like Me.”. My 7 yo daughter likes to sing “Loser” at the to of her lungs. :)

  40. Jennifer says:

    I cannot believe “How Will I Know” is not on the list. The poignancy alone was wonderful but it sounded absolutely beautiful too.

  41. Karen says:

    1. Don’t rain on my parade
    2. Bohemian Rhapsody
    3. I feel pretty/un-pretty
    4. Safety Dance
    5. I Wanna Hold Your Hand
    6. Bad romance
    7. Faithfully
    8. Like A Virgin
    9. River deep, mountain high
    10. Don’t Stop Believin’
    11. Defying Gravity
    12. Someone Like You/Rumour Has It
    13. Sweet Caroline
    14. Teenage Dream
    15. Imagine
    16. Born this way
    17. Hello
    18. It’s All Coming Back To Me Now
    19. The Scientist
    20. Forget you
    21. New York state of mind

    On the bubble: Mean, Somebody To Love, Don’t You Want Me, Smile (Chaplin)

  42. Sarah says:

    Why is Jump on their? Or We Found Love? I’m not saying they aren’t great songs, because pretty much every song glee does is great. They definitely aren’t in the 21 performances. I wouldn’t even put them in my top 50.

    My Top 21
    1. New York State of Mind
    2. Don’t Rain on My Parade
    3. Roots Before Branches
    4. Shake It Out
    5. Cough Syrup
    6. Teenage Dream
    7. The Scientist
    8. Mean
    9. Edge of Glory/ It’s All Coming Back to Me Now/ Paradise by the Dashboard Light
    10. Smooth Criminal
    11. Rumor Has It/ Someone Like You
    12. Defying Gravity
    13. Teenage Dream
    14. Loser Like Me
    15. Songbird
    16. Cry
    17. Not the Boy Next Door
    18. Somebody I Used to Know
    19.Happy Days are Here Again/ Get Happy
    20. Blackbird
    21. I Wanna Hold Your Hand

    Other good performances, Bad, Fighter, Boogie Shoes, Starships, Forget You, We Are the Champions, Valerie, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Thriller/ Heads will Roll, Dream On, Journey Medley, Back to Black, Like a Prayer, and Crazy/ ‘U Drive Me Crazy’

  43. Patty says:

    My favorite songs, the song that made me want to watch Glee was Sam´s Billionaire and Blaine´s Hey, Soul Sister, so they go on my top 5.

  44. Sarah says:

    I’m so glad that they put Faithfully on there! It’s my favorite Finchel duet and one of the best duets on the show!

  45. Sienna says:

    Yeah, I disagree with about half of the list. I won’t make a complete list, but here are some of my favorites not listed:

    Roots Before Branches
    For Good
    Any Way You Want It / Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’
    Out Here On My Own
    Taking Chances
    Maybe This Time
    Endless Love
    One Less Bell To Answer / A House Is Not A Home
    I Dreamed A Dream
    Take Me or Leave Me
    Happy Days Are Here Again / Get Happy

    (Wow, there is a lot of Lea Michele on my list…)

  46. Amy says:

    How in the world is Somebody to Love NOT on this list??? It should be Top 5. It was the first time since Don’t Stop that we heard the true potential of the glee club. I still get chills when I hear it. Also, I would definitely put How Will I Know on the list.

  47. donf says:

    rumor has it should have been number 1.

  48. April says:

    For me:
    1. Don’t Stop Believin’
    2. Teenage Dream
    3. Dream On
    4. Rumor Has It/Someone Like You
    5. Rolling In The Deep(still miss Jesse)

  49. Evan says:

    Favorites by season: Don’t Stop Believin’, I Feel Pretty/Unpretty, We Found Love, Give Your Heart a Break.

  50. Ashley says:

    I agree with like 8 of these and not necessarily in the order listed. For instance, Dream On should be way higher. Mostly this list sucks ass. Some like Forget You and Hell to the No have no business on this list, they’re hardly memorable. Other stuff like Jump and Unpretty/I Feel Pretty while I really do like are not hugely memorable performances. Also no Bohemian Rhapsody? That alone makes this list invalid. Hands down THE best Vocal Adrenaline performance to date and one of the best performances ever on the show.