'Glee' Finale Week

Glee: Ranking the 25 Best (and 10 Worst) Musical Numbers

Glee Best Worst Songs

Thinking back on Glee‘s 700-plus musical performances, a few standouts immediately come to mind: “Don’t Stop Believin.” “Teenage Dream.” Pretty much any solo by Lea Michele.

With only a handful of songs left in the Fox series’ repertoire, we were compelled to look back on the show’s most impressive performances — and some numbers that didn’t exactly hit the mark.

In the photo gallery below, we’ve ranked what we consider to be Glee‘s 25 best performances of all time (from least to most memorable), followed by 10 songs that we won’t be adding to our Spotify libraries anytime soon.

Click through our gallery to see which performances we selected, then hit the comments with your own picks for best and worst Glee numbers!

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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90 Comments
  1. Tim says:

    Run, Joey, Run is my favorite Glee song. It’s fun! I don’t see anything bad about it.

  2. Eric7740 says:

    Unpretty/I Feel Pretty mash-up
    Somebody That You Use To Know
    It’s Time
    Songbird

  3. Steven says:

    Glee has a tendancy of doing good covers in innapropriate sitautions. Idina and lea singing Poker Face was great, but as a Mother/Daughter duet it was just odd and weird. Same for when Kurt sang about holding his father’s hand. Saying “Oh please, say to me you’ll let me be your man.” just sounds weird.

    • Angela says:

      Agreed that it’s an odd sounding line to sing given the circumstances. But “I Want to Hold Your Hand” will always be one of my personal favorite performances anyway, as will the episode it’s from in general. That episode just hit really close to home for me at the time it aired, and it’s always been one of my favorites of the series.

    • zac says:

      i think that line could also be translated to Kurt saying his dad that he’s still his kid even though he’s gay

  4. iHeart says:

    I really do think that there should have at least been an honourable mention for Glee’s performance of Seasons of Love

  5. Wordsmith says:

    It’s funny that Glee (and everybody else) uses “Pompeii” as such an uplifting and hopeful song, seeing as it’s about death and the end of the world and such. Super catchy, but kind of a downer…

  6. Edward says:

    There were some very inspired solid choices but my goodness there were some very questionable ones. A thousand years? Um, I don’t think that should have made the cut. I would have made room for
    Unique’s – I know where i’ve been
    Rachel and Quinn – Unpretty/ I feel pretty – they’re best mash up
    New Directions – We are young
    New Directions – I Still haven’t found what i’m looking for
    Glee Couples – The Scientist

    I would have included Let’s have a kiki in one of the worst performance category even though i thought Sarah Jessica Parker was adorable in that number.

    • Angela says:

      Ooh, yeah, “The Scientist”. Good call. One of my favorite songs, and used in a very poignant way on the show.

  7. Ashley says:

    Amber/Mercedes’ And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going is missing from the best list.

  8. DCL30 says:

    I agree with most of this but JFC how could you not include Songbird or Valerie for best? I know that they did over 700 songs but either of those deserve to be in the top 25.

  9. Kathryn says:

    I loved the duet with Matt Bomer and Darren Criss… Somebody that I Used to Know.

    • abz says:

      Matt Bomer should definitely sing more. There’s a behind the scenes video of White Collar where he was singing Love Is A Many Splendored Thing without knowing he was being filmed. He really has a great voice.

      • Jim says:

        Check out the gag reels of White Collar. There is singing on almost all of them. Not only can Matt Bomer do everything, Tim Dekay isn’t half bad himself.

  10. Agree with most of these (definitely your top 10), but ‘Hello’ wasn’t performed in the school library, it was in a music store.

  11. Christine says:

    ‘Hello’ wasn’t performed in the McKinley library. It was at the music store in town.

  12. Wordsmith says:

    I still go to “At the Ballet” as one of the biggest trainwrecks Glee perpetrated.
    Great song, solid performers (Sarah Jessica Parker!), but the arrangement and staging just made no sense (i.e. it’s a song with three stories that they somehow cut up and spread unevenly across four soloists). Just really awkward.

  13. Dave says:

    Sorry but any list that doesn’t include Rachel, Santana, Kurt & Mercedes’ tearjerking cover of “How Will I Know” is irrelevant.

  14. Sara says:

    Wow, what a horrible list. I know Lea tended to sing the most out of anyone – but way too much of her . And this is coming from someone who loves her singing.

  15. Pam says:

    Good list but A LOT of great songs are missing:

    I would put Paradise By the Dashboard Light, We Are Young, I Feel Pretty/Unpretty, and Somebody That I Used To Know above most of these.

  16. Lee says:

    I Feel Pretty/Unpretty? We Are Young? Rumor Has It/Someone Like You? The Journey medley from season one finale? Lean On Me? Keep Holding On? Such a horrible list, IMO. :/

    • Scott says:

      Well Rumour Has It/Someone like you is number 7 on the list, and Faithfully is included, which was a part of the journey medley, but the others missing I agree with.

  17. Olivia says:

    The Adele mash-up should be way higher in the list. I Feel Pretty/Unpretty and We Are Young missing is not right. And I’d personally replace at least half of of these with (in no order):
    – I Say A Little Prayer
    – Songbird
    – Dancing Queen
    – We Found Love
    – Halo/Walking On Sunshine
    – Loveshack
    – Born This Way
    – Take My Breath Away
    – Run The World
    – Give Up The Funk
    – Valerie
    – We Got The Beat
    – Tongue Tied
    – Safety Dance
    – Mustang Sally

    Bonus in the lol department: Trouty Mouth, My Cup, Vogue & for some reason… Big Spender.

  18. Christina says:

    Haven’t watched this show in years, but I still listen to Valerie occasionally. That was a fantastic cover.

  19. Tom says:

    smooth criminal only ranks 13? I would have put it and Rumor Has It/Someone Like You in my top 5 easily. I’d also put Emma’s Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me up there too, but that’s me, she’s always been my favorite.

    And Red Solo Cup should be second worst. That song is just a mistake all around. Seriously. It’s horrible.

    • Angela says:

      Ahaha, YES to “Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me”. I know the “Rocky Horror” episode was a rather divisive one for fans, to say the least, but that performance was definitely fun. I’ve always liked Emma, too, and have missed her regular presence these last couple seasons.
      Agreed on “Red Solo Cup”-I don’t even remember the show doing that song, but yeah, it’s just not a good one in general.

  20. Wordsmith says:

    I know it doesn’t get much love, but my favorite of the big “ladies only” numbers (depending on how you count Unique) is “Locked Out of Heaven”.
    Sounded great, and it was really dynamic to watch. The girls of New Directions were rocking some serious swagger in that one.

  21. Sam5 says:

    I really like the two original songs ‘Loser like Me’ and ‘Get it Right’.

  22. Et al says:

    My #1 is A House Is Not A Home/One Less Bell To Answer. It was perfectly filmed and performed.

  23. abz says:

    I agree with a lot of your “Worst” selections but Run, Joey, Run was great. That number was just over-the-top, intentionally terrible, fun. I can still remember Rachel’s facial expressions. LOL.
    You should do a Best/Worst Rachel Berry musical numbers article too. I swear my top 5 favorite numbers are probably just her performances.
    The “Best” list needs a lot of work. So many of them are questionable. I don’t think any of the newbie songs from season 4 should crack the top 25. Maybe a few exceptions, but really none should.
    There are so many I absolutely love and some should’ve made this list:
    My Man, How Will I Know, So Emotional, Love Song, You and I/You and I, It’s All Coming Back To Me Now, Borderline/Open Your Heart, It’s Not Unusual, It’s Time, Bohemian Rhapsody, Hopelessly Devoted To You, I Dreamed A Dream, Take Me or Leave Me, New York State of Mind, Somewhere, Seasons Of Love, Somewhere Only We Know, There Are Worse Things I Could Do, etc.

  24. Joey says:

    Ahem. “Ride Wit Me”

  25. kooper says:

    seriously the best list should also include .. Kristen and Mr. Sue version of a house is not home one of the best songs they have ever did on the show

  26. Marco says:

    A few more that should be arrested for the crime of sucking:

    Fighter (nails on a chalkboard)
    Somebody That I Used To Know (nope)
    Don’t Stop Me Now (way too strained)
    It’s Not Right, But It’s OK (no, no it isn’t)
    I Wanna Dance With Somebody Who Loves Me (Dear Lord was this terrible)
    La Isla Bonita (muy, muy mala)
    A Little Less Conversation (horrible and more than slightly racist – I’m surprised this wasn’t the #1 of the worst)

  27. emmyloser says:

    I loved Toxic! But your point is even better illustrated on Blurred Lines, which was grossly inappropriate and also just not that good. Also, how did Sam and Quinn’s dull-as-dishwater performance of (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, which couldn’t even get a clean win at Sectionals, not on the worst list?

    • Television Scout says:

      I was just scrolling down the list here of comments, trying to find someone who might mention ‘Toxic.’ Thank you. For my money, the best of the bunch, although may other good songs listed here. For me, ‘Toxic’ was the breakout moment for Heather Morris… I think from the early part of season 2 (?)

      My second place vote – ‘Umbrella’ – I believe from middle of season 3? Paltrow arc?

      I watched (and enjoyed) Glee over the entire series run, but for my money, that season 2 and season 3 span was Glee at it’s best – great music, very funny in a nasty, smart way, and the great writing of that span of time (S2 and S3) really helped show off the talent in front of the camera – Morris, MIchelle, Paltrow and Rivera in particular.

  28. LelqTian says:

    The so called “BEST” part of the list is invalid. Defying Gravity is an inexcusable omision from it. So is Valerie.

  29. Sara says:

    Songs I would add to my personal best list would be Bohemian Rhapsody, Man in the Mirror, We are the Champions, and To Sir With Love.
    I loved that Cough Syrup was so high on this list because it is, for me, perhaps the most emotional scene of the whole series, excluding anything involving the loss of Finn.
    I would also replace Pompeii with Roots Before Branches, as that would have, again for me, been a wonderful finale for the series.
    All in all though, this was a pretty great list!

  30. Jim says:

    I kissed a girl was the best number by far!

  31. Molly says:

    How was Jesse St. James performing Bohemian Rhapsody not on here? It is MUCH better than most of these performances. Also, the best performance of New Directions 2.0 was definitely Unique singing If I Were a Boy.

  32. Mnc11 says:

    Bohemian Rhapsody. Best coreography and best performance by Jonathan Groff

  33. Mallory says:

    too many good ones to list so I’ll just point out that “Hello” was performed in a music shop when Rachel was looking for sheet music if my memory serves me correctly. Not in the WMHS library. :)

  34. Sparks says:

    What about Darren Criss’ – When I Get You Alone!

  35. Babybop says:

    Artie’s version of Dancing With Myself will always be my favorite. I stopped watching pretty early on, but I did go back and watch Kurt sing I Want to Hold Your Hand and it was so beautiful – I actually teared up.

  36. Lua says:

    I miss Bohemian Rhapsody on this list

  37. Timmah says:

    Don’t Dream It’s Over — that one gave me goosies.

  38. kjmorse says:

    Where was Puckleberry’s- Need You Know cover????

  39. Joe Smith (honestly) says:

    Excellent article. Is there anyway that the season/episode could be identified??? Thanks

  40. Angela says:

    In regards to the mention of Rachel’s performance of “Make You Feel My Love”, I’d also like to throw in her rendition of “Yesterday”-very eerily haunting choice of song for her, considering the episode focusing on Finn’s death would be airing not long after that.
    On a significantly lighter note…no “Single Ladies” performance :D? I quite enjoyed that one, too.
    Also, god, it’s so weird to see pictures from the first season of this show. Everyone looks so YOUNG!

  41. KC says:

    Come on – Run Joey Run was THE BEST!!!

  42. Richard Duffy says:

    Pretty/UnPretty!!!

  43. I couldn’t agree more with the best songs, although I believe that Faithfully was better than Teenage Dream. We Are Young and My Life Would Suck Without You should have also been included.

  44. Fernanda says:

    Where is Unpretty/I Feel Pretty? the best mashup of the show from Faberry (Quinn & Rachel)
    Like a Prayer?

  45. sara says:

    I’ve always kind of loved Rachel singing Without You in season 3.

  46. Ryan says:

    No love for Landslide?

  47. Karen says:

    Decent list. But missing some of my personal faves:
    I Feel Pretty/Unpretty
    Safety Dance
    I Believe In A Thing Called Love
    Bohemian Rhapsody
    Everybody Talks
    Don’t You Want Me

  48. Jennifer says:

    This is a pretty good list. There are some I would take off to include:
    Unpretty/I Feel Pretty
    The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
    Valerie
    It’s Not Unusual
    Locked Out of Heaven
    New York State of Mind
    To Sir With Love

  49. guest says:

    VALERIE