Glee Report Card: Nothing Unusual Here

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Hey, that show we love and sometimes love to hate and sometimes just hate is back! Glee returned Tuesday night with a season premiere that mostly reminded viewers why they tuned into this show before it got terrible. I’m willing to give Glee’s third season a chance, because hey, tabula rasa. And I’ll be grading the episodes’ musical numbers each week. Join me in my judgment, won’t you?

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“We Got the Beat”

Performed by The Glee Club

Originally performed by The Go-Go’s

They do, you guys. They do got the beat. The first musical number of the season premiere took long enough to arrive, but it was basically worth the wait. While, I’m not sure how a ridiculous cafeteria performance was supposed to attract new members to Glee club, I enjoyed the song well enough. It showcased the strongest performers, namely Rachel and Santana. Still not as great as High School Musical’s “Stick to the Status Quo,” of course, but then, what is?

Grade: B

“Big Spender”

Performed by Sugar

From the musical Sweet Charity

Ugh, who is Sugar, and why are we adding new characters to an already overloaded series? The joke here is that Sugar can’t sing, which made her rendition of “Big Spender” hilariously awful. Except it wasn’t all that hilarious to me. When was the last time you actually laughed at intentionally bad singing? At this point in the episode, I was looking for some good performances, not this unnecessary diversion. That having been said, kudos for turning Asperger’s into a punchline. No, really!

Grade: D

“Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead”

Performed by Rachel and Kurt

From the musical The Wizard of Oz

As much as Rachel gets on my nerves, I’m fine with a bunch of Rachel-centric performances, because Lea Michele is still the most talented singer on this show. (Sorry, haters!) I thought the witch hats and broomsticks were a little schlocky—and not really on point, because hello, the witch is dead. Um, that aside, it was well sung, if not the best showcase for the two. Maybe it’s my personal bias, but I think Rachel and Kurt need to be more Broadway, less jazz.

Grade: B

“It’s Not Unusual”

Performed by Blaine

Originally performed by Tom Jones

So OK, Blaine’s outfit was a bit much. (Red pants, yellow sunglasses, bowtie.) But I must be under Darren Criss’ thrall, because I totally dug it. In real life, he’d look absurd, but in Glee’s candy-colored universe, it worked. Oh, and he’s still charming as shit. The song was a lot of fun—for some reason, I don’t mind when Blaine hams it up. (See above re: thrall.) Like, yeah, I’m trying to be objective, but he’s so charming it’s actually gross. Almost makes up for the fact that Blaine and Kurt still really only hug.

Grade: A-

“Anything Goes”/“Anything You Can Do”

Performed by Harmony and the NYADA kids

From the musicals Anything Goes and Annie Get Your Gun

Here’s the thing—I didn’t really care for Lindsay on The Glee Project. (Loathed her.) But she’s a great singer and a fairly natural actor, and honestly, I was excited to see what she’d do with her two-episode role on Glee. (I say two-episode because that’s what’s planned, but Ryan Murphy would be wise to keep her around longer.) And screw it, she’s great. The medley was great. The dancing was great. The horrified looks on Rachel’s and Kurt’s faces were great. I don’t care if Lindsay is really evil incarnate: I adore Harmony.

Grade: A

“You Can’t Stop the Beat”

Performed by The Glee Club

From the musical Hairspray

Let’s get the most important thing out of the way first—did everyone catch Brittany’s cross-eyed close-up at the end of the song? Weird, right? Anyway, this is the perfect number for Glee, and I’m shocked they hadn’t featured it earlier. Again, my bias is showing, but I love how showtune-happy this episode was. I fell in love with Glee when I thought it was going to be all Broadway, not Top 40. Plus, Rachel got her solo while still giving Mercedes a chance to shine. It was all very Glee—but in the good way!

Grade: B+