Thursday, December 16, 2010

Glee, Season 2 - Fall Superlatives

Image courtesy of Fox

Well, fellow Gleeks, a lot has certainly changed for our beloved New Directions, hasn't it? Season 2 of Glee has welcomed new members (notably the ever-shirtless Sam), cried tearful good-byes to old members (Kurt, take off that blazer and come back!) and continued the incredibly important conversation of bullying in our schools. Of course, all the while there has been phenomenal singing and dancing and displays of pageantry. We even fell in love with Gwyneth Paltrow despite our best efforts and judgment!

One thing that hasn't changed is the sacred tradition of awarding the best of the best of Glee! Last year, I awarded Fall Superlatives, Spring Superlatives, and the Season 1 Thunderclap Awards. So let's keep it going for Season 2 and take a look at the best of the fall...

Best Group Number
  • Winner: Teenage Dream - With this one song, Darren Criss and the Tufts Beelzebubs, otherwise known as the Dalton Academy Warblers, won Kurt (and America's) hearts. Pure vocal perfection—no big effects, orchestration or complex choreography—proved to be the best vehicle for this Katy Perry song... and I dare say they did it better than the original.
  • Runner-Up: Marry You - Thank goodness they didn't sing Chris Brown's "Forever" while dancing down the aisle at Burt and Carole's wedding. Major bonus points for Artie's ribbon dancer choreography.
  • Honorable Mention: Dog Days Are Over - I think we can all agree that New Directions would've won sectionals if they replaced "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" with this awesome Florence + The Machine song.
Best Mash-Up
  • Winner: Happy Days Are Here Again / Get Happy - Okay, so Glee didn't create this mash-up (we have to give praise to Judy and Barbra for that), but it is a mash-up nonetheless. Kurt and Rachel performed this beautifully, even matching the outfits and expressions of their diva predecessors.
  • Runner-Up: Stop! In the Name of Love / Free Your Mind - The boys came back with a vengeance after losing last season's mash-up battle. And any mash-up that includes En Vogue is great in my book.
  • Honorable Mention: Start Me Up / Livin' On a Prayer - Sure, the girls' mash-up from Season 1 was far superior, but you can't blame them for putting on some leather and teasing out their hair, can you?
Best Ballad
  • Winner: I Want to Hold Your Hand - In an episode with confusing messages and odd plot twists (maybe we should forget about Grilled Cheesus...), this emotional moment in the hospital proved why Chris Colfer keeps getting nominated for every award under the sun.
  • Runner-Up: The Only Exception - Part of Rachel's roller coaster of redemption this season, this was by far better than Paramore's version and an excellent display of Lea Michele's vocal chops. Who cares if it was the only non-Britney song in an all-Britney Spears episode...?
  • Honorable Mention: Papa Can You Hear Me? - From the role we all know she would kill to play, Rachel totally owned this Yentl song.
Best Diva Moment
  • Winner: Sweet Transvestite - Mercedes as Frankenfurter in Rocky Horror was a brilliant turn and she torn down the roof, fish nets and all. 
  • Runner-Up: Le Jazz Hot! - Season 2 is definitely the season of Kurt, and what better way to honor him than with the duet he performed with... himself. Need convincing? Listening again to the sliding high note at the end.
  • Honorable Mention: Forget You - The aforementioned love of Ms. Paltrow was completely unexpected and a bit jarring, but she totally rocked out as substitute teacher Holly Holliday (even if we all know that crazy character would've preferred the uncensored version). Can she and April Rhodes have a sing-off in the spring, please?!
Best Duet
  • Winner: River Deep, Mountain High - It's an abomination that Mercedes and Santana lost the duet competition. This Ike and Tina song was killer.
  • Runner-Up: Baby It's Cold Outside - "Can Blaine and Kurt just kiss already?!" is undoubtedly what everyone was screaming at the TV during the Christmas episode. Chemistry you could cut with a knife and a delightful twist on a holiday fave.
  • Honorable Mention: Telephone - A battle royale between two divas. Rachel certainly didn't give Sunshine a warm welcome to McKinley High (at least it wasn't an active crack house), but the Gaga duet in the bathroom was fantastic, as was Sue's interrupting "Shut up!"
Best Dance Number
  • Winner: Valerie - Yes, Santana's vocals were fantastic, but what made this Sectionals number so great were the dance stylings of Brittany S. Pierce and Other Asian. Pure fun—I dare you not to bop during the chorus.
  • Runner-Up: Toxic - The Britney Spears episode was definitely one of the low points of the series, mostly because all of the Britney music was done more as cheap imitation than used as inspiration. That is, with the exception of "Toxic," the sequel to last year's "Push It" assembly production. Awesome choreography, even if it was inappropriately performed by Mr. Schue (see below).
  • Honorable Mention: Singing in the Rain / Umbrella - Perhaps a questionable blend of songs, but you can't argue with the umbrellography and all that splashing.
Most Awkward Number
  • Winner: Toxic - Amazing dance number? Yes. Incredibly awkward? Double yes. Will continues to be one of the worst teachers on Earth by gyrating with his students in front of the entire school. Add in Jacob Ben Israel's disgusting moans and you have one hell of a sex riot.
  • Runner-Up: The Living Years - I know we wanted to make it all about Warblers vs. New Directions, but couldn't we have just had a cameo from Jane Addams Academy? Or did the comptroller take away their funding...?
  • Honorable Mention: Ohio - You guys, I love love love Carol Burnett beyond words. But this just didn't work. Let's put the Nazi hunting to rest, shall we?
What say you, Gleeks? Did I totally diss your favorite songs? Are you appalled at some of my choices? Are you enraged that I hated on Carol Burnett?! Then start your own damn blog! Just kidding, just sound off in the comments!
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