Glee Recap: Diva-ine Intervention [Updated]

glee tina season 4 divaDon’t say “diva” like it’s a dirty word. I mean, if living legend Aretha Franklin was more than happy to be front and center for VH1’s “Divas Live” extravaganza, then who are the rest of us to treat it like a common four-letter word, right?

Okay, so diva-dom might also be about milquetoast Emma Pillsbury reducing Cheesecake Factory managers to tears, and Rachel Berry’s runaway ego stomping around New York City like King Kong after an expensive blowout at the salon. It could even prompt Tina Cohen-Chang to withhold her “soup” from an ailing Blaine Anderson. Yikes!

Those opposing sides of the diva coin got scrutinized in this week’s Glee, a mostly lighthearted, music-packed hour with a moral that came from the mouth of Kurt Hummel: “Hold the nightmare, but bring the diva. Your work speaks for itself.”

If you were too busy reading Martha Stewart Weddings to catch the episode, here’s what you missed on Glee:

* Kurt, infuriated by Rachel’s increasingly inflated, post-Winter Carnival sense of self-importance (and the “sycophant” pals that came with it), decided she needed to be “taken down a notch.” His strategy? Challenge her to NYADA’s “Fight Club” for vocalists — Midnight Madness — where he indeed proved triumphant “by the closest margin in history.” A dejected Ms. Berry couldn’t get her mojo back and decided to skip an open call for Funny Girl, not because she lost, but because she feared success would turn her into a monster and alienate her friends. Kurt, though, like a good BFF is supposed to do, helped Rachel realize that — with an occasional dose of real talk — she might be able to have it all. (Silent applause.) I also dug the way that Rachel — even at her most self-absorbed — stuck up for Kurt when her catty cronies tried to ridicule him behind his back. See, girlfriend can evolve and yet remain true to her roots!

* Finn, worried about New Directions’ changes at Sectionals, turned to Emma for advice. Her plan? Diva Week! Still, as the guidance counselor helped Finn whip his glee club into shape, and as he helped her put the finishing touches on her upcoming wedding ceremony (only 10 days away), the Best Man began to develop strange feelings for the Bride-to-Be. When “Miss Pillsbury” had a panic attack, Finn snapped her out of it by planting a kiss — on her lips! That’s not gonna make next week’s nuptials awkward or anything… But it did give Jayma Mays quite the startling, dramatic scene; I totally bought her freakout, especially considerng she’s carried the wedding-planning burden all alone in Will’s absence. Good work!

* Speaking of wrong-minded romantic pursuits, Tina continued her pining for Blaine, right down to knocking him out with cold medicine and then straddling him to rub Vicks on his smooth, mucus-filled chest. (Eeep!) Somehow, Blaine’s lack of romantic interest made Tina a little angry, but she channeled those feelings into a lively cover of Madonna’s “Hung Up” and won Diva Week in the process. (Sorry, Unique!) Now, though, Blaine’s taking his McKinley bestie as his date to Will and Emma’s wedding, and I get the sense that she’s still holding on to the very weird idea of “a sexless thing” to get her through the school year. This doesn’t make any sense to me, but I’ll play along and see where the writers take us.

* Finally, Santana returned to McKinley, determined to create a rift between Brittany and Sam, but by the end of the hour, realized that it wasn’t her ex-girlfriend’s new relationship that was bugging her. The recent college dropout really pined for The Big Apple, and Brittany helped her realize that a bus ride to Manhattan was her destiny. A final-act rendition of “Girl on Fire” found the Lady Lopez bursting out of McKinley’s doors and emerging from a New York City subway, then heading to Kurt and Rachel’s place. Guess what, bitches? She’s moving in! (And let’s be honest, they could use an extra income to help pay what’s got to be extraordinary rent — even in distant Brooklyn.)

And now on to grades for the week’s musical numbers:

The ladies and gays of New Directions, “Diva” | The costumes and finery were fabulous, but I didn’t like the sped-up rearrangement of Beyoncé’s speak-talk hit, nor did any of the glee clubbers in question really seem to capture the street-swag essence of the ditty. Grade: C+

Blaine, “Don’t Stop Me Now” | I can’t be the only one who winced seeing Blaine Warbler in a leather cap and leather jacket with studded collar, tragically posturing his way through a Freddie Mercury hit, can I? Just no. Grade: D+

Santana, “Nutbush City Limits” | How awesome was it when Santana burst into the choir room and gave McKinley a jolt of her patented charisma? She’s really been missed this season, but here’s hoping her triumphant closing note signals that she’s back to stay for a while. Grade: A-

Santana and Sam, “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine” | Pretty enough, but I’m not sure I bought the stakes behind the duo’s battle for Brittany. Plus, Ms. Pierce’s choice who she dates, not Sam’s or Santana’s? Grade: B-

Kurt Vs. Rachel, “Bring Him Home” | Yowza that was as lovely as a bruising musical battle could be, but when it was all said and done, I’d probably have ended up on Rachel’s side of the room. (Wouldn’t it have been a more interesting plot twist, by the way, if Rachel had actually been triumphant?) Grade: A-

Tina, “Hung Up” | What an oddly filmed musical number, no? I liked that Tina went all-out in Madonna’s trademark pink leotard, but half the number the director reduced her to a background player, with constant frantic cuts to her background breakdancers, the awed members of New Directions and the McKinley lunchtime crowd. Best part for me was Tina’s dismissive, “Don’t even worry about it” as Finn, Emma and company went to congratulate her. Diva! Grade: B+

Santana, “Girl on Fire” | Even if it hadn’t ended with Santana in the City, I’d have given this stellar vocal an ‘A’; thankfully, though, this turned out to be one of those musical performances on Glee that’s both a delight on its own while also advancing the plot in a neat and thrilling fashion. Grade: A

And now for your week in zingers…
Rachel holding up “Saving my voice” and “Will you take a message?” cue cards to try to get Kurt to answer the phone for her.

“The Online Urban Dictionary defines a diva as ‘a fierce, often temperamental singer who comes correct. She is not a trick-ass ho and she does not sweat the haters.'” –Emma, discussing the word ‘diva’

“Raven-Symoné.” –Brittany, pretty certain she’d guessed the special guest performing for New Directions

“And I didn’t even have to lay out a line of cereal for you to find me.” –Santana, after luring Sam to meet her in the auditorium (oooh, burn!)

Sanatana’s reference to a Rizzoli & Isles lesbian subtext blog

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of “Diva”? What was your fave musical number? Take our poll, sound off in the comments, and for all my Glee-related 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. Frenzz says:

    Naya RIvera and Jayma Mays really made that episode.
    I was waiting for this end since the season 4 premiere. At least!
    Santana is the main reason I still watch that terrible show.

    • Santana in NY says:

      The episode just shows how a spontaneous and cracker of a character like Santana lights up an episode. She exudes diva with spunk and attitude. Love how she brings emotion and heart to a song. Glee needed Santana desperately. NY was “fine” with just Kurt and Rachel but with little pizazz. Thank goodness she is in NY. Now, NY will be fun and full of great scenes.

  2. etcmd says:

    too much hairography going on in nutbush

  3. champmav says:

    Freddie Mercury is a tough cover, you are too harsh. Darren wasn’t that bad. I’d give it a B.

    • Leslie says:

      In case you haven’t notice from previous recaps, M. Slezak has been consistently super critical of Darren/Blaine. Don’t really know why? I guess everybody has their own likes/dislikes, loves/hates but I expect from a recapper to be more impartial. I already expected, after each episode, that he’ll slam the character/actor for his singing and/or acting and character scenes. That’s why, I usually glossed over any comments of his regarding Blaine/Darren and take it with a grain of salt. If I need feedback about the actor/character on a specific episode, I go to other sites that are more impartial. Sorry, M. Slezak, but that’s how you come across to us with regards to that specified actor.

      • Lydia says:

        Or maybe he’s just being honest and you can’t handle anything that isn’t limitless butt-kissing. Toughen up or stop reading these recaps. I’ve seen way worse about actors/characters on this and other sites and your need to have your own opinions echoed back to you is childish.

        • Leslie says:

          As a recapper, it’s one thing to be honest and it’s another thing to have favoritism . It’s especially true to his song ratings and recap summary. It’s so obvious to a lot of ppl who his favorites are and who aren’t. I’m not the only one who has pointed this out; this has been brought up in the comment section before as well. Pointing out this misstep on his part doesn’t mean I can’t handle criticism. I welcome constructive criticism; in any situation it is good and actually very helpful but when the same recap pattern has been manifested time and time again, then it becomes outrightly questionable and downright discriminatory. Like I said, if I feel that the recapper cannot make an impartial assessment on certain characters/actors/scenes, then I just ignore them. I still read the other parts of the recap, wherein partially of the recapper hasn’t been established yet.

    • Timmah says:

      I thought it was awesome. Darren is the best male performer on the show IMO.

  4. Mark says:

    No pun intended, the fact that Santana is coming back doesn’t fill me with glee. The Santana character and the especially the one-note, one-expression actress who plays her have always been among the weakest moments in the show. Snarl, glower, sulk, scowl, lather-rise-repeat just isn’t an interesting performance. (On the upside, she would make an most excellent zombie on the Walking Dead…).

  5. elizabeth says:

    It amazes me how blind a certain subset of the glee fandom is toward Santana. This episode is basically hey you subset of glee that want her in New York hear you go. She is their with no plan and no reason and just expects to be put up with a room to two people who could never stand her when they were in high school but hey glee this is the way to go. This same group is leaping with joy about how Finn has been written this year no future just a lima loser working at a garage to pay his bills and hanging out at his old high school in an unpaid babysitting job and not getting any performance based storyline whatsoever. Mission accomplished way to go. You want to know why glee is never going to get the general fans back it is because they seem to cave into online bullying from certain people. The real critics have noticed the show has lost its way but as long as what they want happens oh look at us. The reasons why I liked this show had to do with the central characters introduced in the pilot finn, rachel and will. The show has wildly gone of course from what I thought was its moral center that I am just depressed watching glee. Cory Monteith I will always respect the way you handle yourself in public and how you brought a great message to all the people who watched glee. You can tell he is not enamored with this show because he has not been allowed to attend any press for glee at all this year. The season premiere not there, the tca fox upfronts not there as well. This speaks volumes the man must be heart broken at the way they have destroyed his character and talked about him in the press. The glee club director is not a job is not a dream is not a good story line but hey whatever please let him go.

    • JH says:

      While I don’t disagree on your post about how the moral center of Glee has been diluted, Cory missed the Glee Press events because of his work schedule. He was busy shooting two indie movies in the beginning of the season and shooting Glee during Fox Upfronts. Cory is so well-spoken, funny and charming in his interviews. I wish he would go on more late night talk shows.

  6. Syringe says:

    I bow TVLINE, you have the BEST review of all TV reviews in the web!!
    Seriously, this is the most logical review ever that also beholds the most logical and down-to-earth comments.

    On a second note, yeah I still love Glee, and excited that NY will get more portion next year/next season. It’s much more exciting, and even more if the campus is not just NYADA.
    On a third note, yeah, not every song can be righteous for one singer. Watch American idol and X Factor for that, not always the best singer wins the competition, right? And not the best singer in the world score Grammy or be the best seller recording artist in Billboard.
    So, everything is just logical in its irrational way in Glee! LOL

  7. Greg says:

    There needs to be a new york spin off so they can put the horrible new cast out to pasture. Episodes like this one remind you how the new cast can never replace the originals.

  8. Abril says:

    Sassy!kurt is back! I loved it!!!! Also loved how he defended Adam’s Apples :’)

  9. Garret says:

    “Don’t Stop Me Now” was just awful. It was a bad karaoke performance and watching Blaine jump around in that ridiculous outfit was painful. Criss has limited range and a very specific type of song that he sounds good singing. The fact that he has had the most solos this season out of any other cast member, many of whom are far more talented vocally, is a travesty. Add that to the fact that his storylines are all retreads, his cardboard cutout character fits in well with the other vastly underwhelming 2.0 versions of the original amazing cast. I’m not sure what TPTB are thinking by shoving Blaine and the Lima newbs down our throats, but the ratings, and the iTunes sales reflect this flawed idea. At this point, I watch Glee on DVR, fast-forwarding through everything but the NY scenes. It makes for a 10 minute episode most weeks, sometimes much less. Thankfully Santana is now there, so hopefully we’ll get even more NY because that and my love of a few of the actors on the show are the only things keeping me around at this point.

  10. TomTom says:

    Nutbush City Limits–Loved Santana’s performance, but Melinda Doolittle did it better on Idol.

  11. Kelly says:

    Could we get a little more of the new relationship between Kurt and Adam? That relationship seems to be coming from a more equal playing field.

  12. Kb says:

    I think that if Kurt and Rachel or Chris and Lea were combined, they would be UNSTOPPABLE! They both are amazing. Chris has an AMAZING voice so stop hating on him. Lea has a FANTASTIC voice too so don’t hate on her. I admit, Chris is more emotional and Lea has a strong, steady, talented voice. Chris has an amazing range! So yea, it really should have been a tie.

  13. KevyB says:

    Where can I vote that Make No Mistake, She’s Mine is the worst song EVER on this show?