Ah, Glee. Pure anarchy and questionable creative decisions all tied up with one offensive, cliche bow. After six seasons, five unforgivable rap performances from Mr. Schu, and one sex riot, Glee produced a wopping 754 song covers. Five of these, I argue, are actually better than the original (That’s right, they have a .66 success rate!). And before you try to argue with me, remember: only true Gleeks hate Glee.
- Blame It On The Alcohol
I will die on this hill. Likely alone, but here nonetheless. When listening to the original, I yearned for Jaime Foxx and T-Pain to destroy the Glee cast and unequivocally stake their claim as R&B’s resident party animals. But, what they don’t have is Rachel Berry’s dads’ wine coolers to add that extra performance oomph. And boy, does it make a difference. Artie goes absolutely crazy on this song, and I don’t even like him. Honesty is in my blood, what can I say?
Lovely song both ways, this really comes down to the voices themselves. Am I saying that Chord Overstreet (It’s okay, his name makes me giggle too.) has a better voice than Jason Mraz? No. But, I do think the chemistry that is exhibited in this scene makes the performance a bit more engaging. Playing the guitar together? Genius! Boys, take notes. Also, Dianna Aragon’s lightness might compliment this specific piece a little bit better than Colbie Callait’s power. It’s about balance, people! In the wise words of Santana Lopez, “So frickin’ charming.”
- Smooth Criminal
This is definitely the most controversial of the bunch, and before you come for me, just let me explain. This is a refreshing twist. The cellos, the duet, Naya Rivera… you see what I mean. Because the Glee version incorporates a battle between two voices, the layering and harmonies add a level of suspense that is just. more. engaging. Yes, Michael Jackson is an icon, this song is a classic, blah, blah, blah. THESE ARE MY OPINIONS. Let me have them!
- Say A Little Prayer
If Aretha Franklin was this song’s original singer, then it would not be on this list. But, I think The Unholy Trinity did beat out Dionne Warwick (the song’s actual O.G. singer) by a tiny margin. The Glee version is an other-worldly type of satisfying that scratches some sort of itch you didn’t even know you had. Ignoring the fact that Santana and Brittany sound like a full gospel choir, this solidified one of the most iconic trios in television history. Have my roommates and I tried to learn this choreography in our living room? We have. Next question.
- Run Joey Run
This one might be cheating a bit, since it’s a notoriously terrible song; I actually found one article listing it under the category, “blatantly bad 70’s music.” Sounds fitting. What a huge accomplishment, then, that Glee was able to create a nail biting, cinematic, musical experience with this piece. A battle between three lovers? Rachel Berry’s unfathomable ego? JONATHAN GROFF? This version has it! It’s so entertaining that you might forget you’re watching a high schooler’s poorly edited passion project. Still better than the original.
And here my list has come to an unfortunate conclusion. If only Glee had produced more good performances in their over 700 covers. To tide you over until it comes back to any streaming platforms (I hate you, Netflix!) “Slave 4 U” and “Valerie” are some solid honorable mentions. Wouldn’t say better than the original, but comparable at least. For now, go try to slip the Glee cast’s rendition of “Blame It On The Alcohol” onto the aux at the next party you go to. See if anyone bats an eyelash.