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A 2010 Musical Gleeview – My Picks for Glee’s Top Ten Musical Moments from Season 2 (so far)

New Year’s Eve is a time for getting so wasted that you forget your own name reflection.  As 2010 comes to a close, many of us will undoubtedly spend time crying into our tenth glass of champagne    making out with that dude in the corner with the tongue ring  looking back on the past year, and seeing how it “measures up” to previous years.  And I’ll be the first one to admit that all the gut checking and personal evaluation that we tend to do during these last few days of the year .  . . well . . . it kind of sucks. 

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But you know what doesn’t suck . . . evaluating TV shows, instead! 🙂

If you read entertainment magazines at all, or just spend time talking to TV viewers, you probably already know that Glee, while still a ratings darling, in every sense of the word, has, for many, fallen short of the high expectations it created for itself, during its spectacular premiere season.  (That vastly overused term “Sophomore Slump” has even been bandied about.)  And while I agree with a lot of the criticisms that have recently been lodged against the show, I still think that Glee gave us fans a lot to love this year . . .

But I’m going to talk about the musical performances, instead. 😉

What follows are (in no particular order) my picks for the Top Ten Musical Moments from the first half of Glee’s second season:

(1) “One Love” – Puck Puckerman and Artie Abrams (originally sung by Bob Marley)

One of my biggest complaints about the second season of Glee had to do with its CRIMINAL underuse of my FAVORITE character on the show, Mark Salling’s Bad Ass Bully with a Heart of Gold, Puck.  Yes, I do realize that Mark Salling was absent from the show for a few episodes, while he was promoting his own album.  But would it have KILLED the writers to throw the poor guy a bone or two, in the storyline department?  Wasn’t it bad enough they took his girlfriend, Quinn, away, and inexplicably paired her with that Macauley Culkin-look alike?

But I digress.  Puck’s single solo of the season thus far, came in the form of a mellow Bob Marley cover, sung while strumming on an acoustic guitar, during lunchtime, at McKinley High.  At first blush, one would think that Salling’s Puck and Kevin McHale’s Artie would be an odd choice to sing this particular duet.  Yet, Puck’s rebel mystique and crushed velvet voice  complimented Kevin McHale’s Artie’s Elvis Costello-esque geek chic mystique surprisingly well.  See for yourself!

You see?  A little Puck can go a LONG way in making this blogger happy! 🙂

 

(2) “Forget You” – Holly Holiday (originally sung by Cee Lo)

Initially, when I read that (1) the often stodgy-seeming Gwyneth Paltrow would be guest starring on Glee, to promote her star turn in the upcoming music-heavy film, Courtry Strong; and (2) she would be performing a neutered version of Cee Lo’s “F*&k You,” (a song who’s success is largely based on its ingenious pairing of an innocent Motown backbeat with highly explicit lyrics) I was extremely skeptical.  Yet, when the actual episode aired, I was surprised by the inherent likeability and youthful energy Paltrow put into the Holiday character.  And “Forget You,” while admittedly no where near as awesome as the original “F*&k You,” was fun and compulsively watchable in its own unique way.  After all, Cee Lo’s version of the song doesn’t feature Heather Morris’ Brittany doing “The Robot,” in time with the music!

Check it out!

(3) “Sweet Transvestite” – Mercedes Jones (originally sung by Tim Curry)

Speaking of neutered versions of racy songs that surprisingly didn’t suck on Glee . . . many Rocky Horror Picture Show fans were initially up in arms, upon hearing that Glee writers chose a FEMALE to play the iconic Dr. Frank-N-Furter (a role made famous by actor, Tim Curry, in the original film, thirty-five years earlier) in their incarnation of the cult-classic musical.  And yet, while the bizarre way the show’s writers chose to censor this song boggles my mind (She couldn’t say “transsexual?”  But “transvestite” was OK?), as Mercedes, Amber Riley put a clever twist on the well-loved song, giving it a spunky feminine naughtiness that was entirely her own . . .

(4) “Teenage Dream” – Blaine and the Warblers (originally sung by Katy Perry)

Going along with my “if you want to change the entire meaning of a song, simply change the sex of the singer” theme, I was super impressed by Darren Criss’ Blaine and his Dalton Academy Warbler’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” in Glee‘s sixth episode, entitled “Never Been Kissed.”  While the original song is poppy, syrupy sweet, and generally “girlicious,” this Glee version is old-school snappy (something you could picture Frank Sinatra or Sammy Davis Jr. singing), thought-provoking, and, yes, VERY, VERY GAY. 

(Then again, that last characteristic may have more to do with the Warblers — in their Harry Potter Gryffindor robes, singing about “skintight jeans,” and dancing like Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air — than with the song itself.)

(5)  “Just the Way You Are” – Finn Hudson (originally sung by Bruno Mars)

In the eighth episode of Glee‘s second season, entitled “Furt,” Kurt’s dad, Burt, and Finn’s mom, Carol, got married amongst the entire cast of Glee and some underpaid extras  family and friends.  During the reception, in a sweet and highly emotional moment, Finn, who, up to this point had always been kind of a homophobe, embraced (both literally and metaphorically) his new homosexual stepbrother, Kurt, by dedicating the above-referenced Bruno Mars song to him.  The result was a poignant and uplifting musical extravaganza that you can witness in its entirety here.

(6) “Me Against the Music” – Brittany S. Pearce and Santana Lopez (originally sung by Britney Spears and Madonna)

In contrast to the previously listed songs on this countdown — most of which were selected for their unique interpretations of popular music — this musical number was selected due to the obvious appreciation that its creators have for the original version.  When it originally aired, the Britney Spears’ themed “Brittany/Britney” episode of Glee was much maligned for its almost complete lack of a cohesive storyline, and its synthetic (and at times just plain weird) Extended Music Video on Acid (or, perhaps more appropriately, Laughing Gas) quality. 

And yet, it was this episode that was responsible for finally displaying to Glee fans the long hidden talents of Heather Morris.  Who knew the daffy and childlike Brittany had such hot moves, or such a sweet, pop song-friendly voice?  The performance (which was part of a dream sequence, shared by both Brittany, herself, and Naya Rivera’s Santana) is an almost frame-by -rame recreation of the original “Me Against the Music” video, performed by Britney Spears and Madonna.  In this incarnation, Brittany gives a surprising amount of grace and class to the role of pop tart, Spears, while Santana expertly embodies the older, more sophisticated, Madonna.

(7)  “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – Kurt Hummel and Blaine  (originally sung by Everybody and Their Mother)

I’m not usually a fan of Christmas music.  But even I have to admit that Chris Colfer’s Kurt and Darren Criss’ Blaine did a bang-up job of breathing fresh new life into a VERY OVERPLAYED holiday anthem.  Not only does the song look and sound different, because it is being sung by two men (as opposed to a male and a female), it also features an oddly ironic and humorous tone, thanks to Colfer’s and Criss’ playful intonations and liberal use of self-aware facial mugging. 

Kurt and Blaine are sweet with one another, and have an obvious romantic chemistry.  And yet, they aren’t taking themselves or the song too seriously, which I, as a Holiday Song Cynic, found extremely refreshing.  Filmed in the living room-like confines of Dalton Academy’ s study lounge (complete with working fireplace and Yulelog), the mood of the performance is as casual and comforting as its two likeable leads.

(8 ) “Stop in the Name of Love / Free Your Mind” Mashup – The Glee Boys (originally sung by The Supremes – “Stop in the Name of Love” and En Vogue “Free Your Mind”)

Glee‘s mashups tend to be either hit or miss with me.  And, lately, I think the show has started to go a bit overboard with its seemingly compulsive need to throw ANY two completely unrelated songs together just because the producers think it might “sound cool.”  But, for me, this particular mashup REALLY WORKED. 

Who would have thought that a 60’s squeaky clean pop tune like “Stop in the Name of Love” would complement En Vogues’ Angry Anthem for Racial and Sexual Tolerance so well?  The fact that the song is performed as a tribute to one of my new favorite Glee characters, Coach Shannon Beiste . . .

. . . and features the typically ripped t-shirt and leater-clad Puck in a POWDER BLUE SUIT, only adds to its charm!

(9) “Telephone” – Rachel Berry and Sunshine Corazon (originally sung by Beyonce and Lady Gaga)

When Fox started promoting Glee’s Second Season, much press was given to the recent addition of Internet sensation and Filipino pop star Charice to the cast.  The actress had her primetime debut in the first episode of the Second Season.  She played Sunshine Corazon, a 9th grade foreign exchange student with an innocent charming demeanor and a powerful singing voice. 

The Sunshine character was featured in not one, but TWO songs during that episode, which was entitled “Audition.”  During those two performances, she quickly proved herself to be everything she was hyped up to be, and then some.  Then, inexplicably, the character TRANSFERRED SCHOOLS!  She hasn’t been seen or heard from since!  Talk about a TEASE!

“You mean to tell me that I flew halfway across the world for under TWENTY MINUTES of screen time?  WTF?”

Fox’s bait-and-switch tactics notwithstanding, Charice’s Sunshine Corazon, along with Lea Michele’s Rachel Berry, starred in what was, in my opinion, one of the most fun and creative musical performances of the first half of the second season.  I strongly suspect that when Beyonce and Lady Gaga wrote and performed the music video for “Telephone” they never envisioned that one of the most popular covers of the song would be filmed in a high school bathroom! 

“Whatchu talkin’ about, Glee?”

In terms of the song, Lea Michele’s voice complements Charice’s perfectly, as if the two were born to sing together.  But the performance actually made this list for two definitively non-musical reasons: (1) the clever way in which Sunshine’s bubbly cuteness is used to highlight Rachel Berry’s b*tchface, and increasingly grating diva dramatics; and (2) the AWESOME ending of the video, where Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester tells the girls to “SHUT UP!”  (You see, while I’m at home, watching Glee on my couch, I tell Rachel Berry to “SHUT UP” at least once, during just about every single episode of Glee!  In that moment, I felt like Sue Sylvester read my mind.)

Either Rachel Berry is really angry at me right now, for making the above comment, or she is just extremely constipated.

In case you are interested in checking out Sunshine Corazon’s also fabulous performance of “Listen” (from the musical Dreamgirls ), which was also featured in this episode, you can find it here.

10) “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” – Kurt Hummel (originally sung by The Beatles)

In an episode entitled “Grilled Cheesus” — which was arguably the most controversial hour in the Glee’s short history — Kurt’s father Burt suffers a heart attack, and falls into a coma.  Burt’s hospitalization calls to the forefront the Glee kids widely varying feelings about God and religion.  Kurt himself just so happens to be an atheist, a fact that deeply troubles some of the more religious characters on the show, who wish to provide him comfort and solace in the only way they know how, through prayer. 

In a Five-Hanky Speech, toward the end of the episode, Kurt explains to his classmates that, while he doesn’t believe in God, he does believe in his father, and the strength of their extremely close relationship.  For him, this worldly relationship surpasses any sort of spiritual one. Kurt then breaks into a sorrowful rendition of The Beatles, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” 

As Kurt sings, the performance is intercut with fond memories Kurt has of his father and his childhood.  During those scenes, Young Kurt is played by a 13-year old actor named Adam Kolkin.  The two actors look so much alike, it’s truly shocking that they are not related.  (Way to GO, Casting Directors!  You get a cookie! :))

The cumulative impact of Kurt’s speech, his musical performance, and those heart-wrenching flashback scenes was something that stayed with me, long after the final credits rolled on this episode.

So, there you have it, my Top Ten Musical Moments from the first half of Glee‘s Second Season.  Did I miss any of your favorites? 

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Glee, music, Top Ten Lists

When Bad Dancing Happens to Good TV Stars . . .

When you’ve resorted to “ass-slapping,” it’s never a good sign . . .

Ahhhh, dancing.  We all do it on occasion.  But only a few of us can actually do it well.  But, even if you aren’t exactly the “Life of the Dance Party,” perhaps, you can sleep better tonight, knowing that you are not ALONE.  In fact, there are many, otherwise, very cool, talented, and debonair television stars out there, who undoubtedly dance just as bad as you do! 

Anyone who watched television during the 90’s, undoubtedly remembers The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

If you ever watched The Fresh Prince, you probably know that, regardless of what an AWFUL dresser he was (see picture above), Will Smith, who played the titular character on the show, was a VERY GOOD DANCER!  His cousin, Carlton (played by Alfonso Ribeiro), however?  Not so much . . .

Around the same time Carlton was “getting jiggy,” on The Fresh Prince, another, very different, comedy sitcom was also gaining popularity . . .

Seinfeld had always been a show known for its crazy characters, and ridiculous occurrences.   Of all the characters on that show, Elaine (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) was probably the most “normal.”  That is . . . until she stepped out on the dance floor . . .

But that all happened during the 90’s.  And we can’t really blame television stars for dancing badly during the 90’s, right?  After all, in the 90’s, our idea of “good dancing” was this . . .

So, in order to make YOU feel better about YOUR bad dancing, we need to show you some television stars who dance badly, in this decade!

Josh Holloway, a.k.a. Sawyer from Lost

*Sigh*  How I miss Sawyer, let me count the ways.  Not only did he have the best body EVER, he was also the quintessential “Bad Boy,” and a closet romantic, who was pretty gosh darn hilarious, to boot.  Honestly, who wouldn’t want to get a slightly insulting / highly stereotypical nickname from Sawyer, after joining him a rousing round of Bear Cage Sex?

And yet, Sawyer, as much as I adore you, your dancing skills leave a bit to be desired.  Allow me to draw your attention to Bad Dancing Example 1:

And Example 2:

Then again, can you really blame a guy who’ s been stuck on a deserted island with Psychotic Others and Killer Polar Bears for six years for never learning how to “Dougie?”

Ryan Kwanten, a.k.a. Jason Stackhouse from True Blood

Jason Stackhouse’s half-naked body is a sight to behold, FOR SURE!  And yet, just because you look good half-naked, doesn’t mean you dance well half-naked too.  Then again, perhaps, Jason instinctively understood this.  Why else would he be wearing that Creepy Ex-President Mask?

Speaking of True Blood stars . . .

Alexander Skarsgard, a.k.a. Vampire Eric Northman on True Blood

Eric Northman.  Now THAT GUY is the epitome of COOL!  Not only is his body flawless . . .

. . . but he always seems to know exactly what to say to make the girls’  hearts melt . . .

That vamp is like a Human Panty Dropper!

That being said, I’m not quite sure what exactly he was trying to do here:

Speaking of Super Cool and Sexy Vampires doing ambiguously gay things . . .

Ian Somerhalder, a.k.a. Vampire Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries

If you’ve read this blog before, you already know that I am OBSESSED with Ian Somerhalder, in general, and his character Damon Salvatore, on The Vampire Diaries, specifically.  Not only is Damon Salvatore, a Brooding Bad Boy . . .

 . . . the Life of the Party . . .

 . . . and a Hopeless Romantic . . .

 . . . he’s also a FABULOUS DANCER.

So, why, you ask, is HE on this list?  Remember what I said earlier about “Half-Naked Dancing,” not necessarily being “Good Dancing?”  Well . . .

 . . . I rest my case.

In other Bad Dancing Vampire news . . .

David Boreanaz, a.k.a. Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and Angel), and Booth on Bones

David Boreanaz . . . he’s a pretty cool guy, right?  I mean, this is someone who KNOWS how to wear a suit!  And yet, he also looks fairly amazing wearing NOTHING AT ALL . . .

Perhaps, we know him best now as the smart, loveable, and adorably snarky Booth on Bones.  But, like Ian and Alexander after him, David Boreanaz is no stranger to donning THE FANGS.  On both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff, Angel, David played the sometimes sweet, sometimes evil “Angel”  (although, when he was evil they usually called him “Angelus,” weird right?). 

Whether Angel was trying to kiss Buffy, or KILL HER, he always looked like a true gentleman doing it . . . except, of course, when he was dancing . . .

GIF provided courtesy of my AWESOME blogging pal Cherie, over at myspideysenseistingling.

Ummm . . . Booth?  Perhaps, you better stick to your Day Job of playing with skeletons.  Because I’m guessing Dancing with the Stars is not in your future.

Hey, you know who used to be on Angel with David Boreanaz?  Vincent Kartheiser!

What a coincidence!  Because he made this list too!

Vincent Kartheiser, a.k.a. Pete Campbell on Mad Men

A lot of people don’t like Pete Campbell on Mad Men.  They find him slimy, manipulative, whiny and insecure.   Well,  they are RIGHT!  He’s all of those things! 

 (Although, in his defense, he’s gotten A LOT kinder and gentler, this past season.) 

I, for one, have always LOVED Pete.  And a lot of that has to do with Vincent Kartheiser‘s  amazing acting ability.  I just find him so intriguing, and fascinating to watch.  Whenever, he’s on screen, I just can’t keep my EYES OFF OF HIM!  Unless, of course, he’s dancing.  Then, I have to look away . . .

Speaking of Mad Men stars who can’t dance . . .

Jon Hamm, a.k.a. Don Draper of Mad Men

Don Draper, I am very disappointed in you!  You just got engaged to Megan

What the heck are you doing, getting jiggy with Betty White?

I hope you don’t plan on dancing like that at the wedding . . .

Elsewhere in Manhattan . . .

Chace Crawford, a.k.a. Nate Archibald on Gossip Girl

Spotted:  A gorgeous rich white boy, teaching us that, just because you were born with a “silver spoon in your mouth,” doesn’t mean your parents ever paid for you to have dance lessons . . .

And, of course, who could forget . . .

John Krasinski, a.k.a. Jim Halpert on The Office

If John Krasinski wasn’t already married to Emily Blunt and if I looked anywhere near as pretty as Emily Blunt, I’d totally marry him.  This guy is the WHOLE PACKAGE!  He’s smart, sweet, funny, caring, and, perhaps, most importantly, a bit of a goofball.  Did I mention that he makes this face ALL THE TIME?

ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!

In fact, John Krasinski is almost TOO perfect.  I mean, what would I bring to the relationship? 

Aha, now I know what I would bring!  Two right feet, for his dual left ones . . .

So, you see Fellow Bad Dancers, you are in VERY GOOD COMPANY!  There are plenty of successful, attractive, and powerful people, who don’t know there mambos from their cha-chas.  Heck, our very own President might be one of them!

But even if your the Worst Dancer in the World, that’s NO EXCUSE not to be dancing!  Dancing brings people together.  It makes them happy.  It gets their hearts racing, in a good way.  In short, dancing makes the world go round. 

So, don’t worry about looking silly.  Just strap on your party shoes, hit the dance floor, and EVERYBODY CUT FOOTLOSE!

(Grrr!  Pesky Copyright Requirements 😦 . . . Click on the embedded link, if you want to DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY!)

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under 90s television, Alexander Skarsgard, Awesome 80s movies, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dancing Television Stars, Dirty Dancing, Gossip Girl, Ian Somerhalder, Jason Stackhouse, Lost, Mad Men, Ryan Kwanten, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood