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Best Performances on Glee from the beginning: Ranking 10-1

Continuing on with the countdown, here are the Top 10 best performances from Glee*. Look back through my blog if you missed the honorable mentions and 20-11.

10. Darren Criss – “It’s Not Unusual” – “The Purple Piano Project” (3.01)
Darren Criss got to shine with this solo moment to open up the third season. Usually musical moments in this show are tied to some big dramatic event, but this was just Blaine at the new school and kicking things off. Sometimes just throwing in a number for the hell of it works, and this worked really well. I wish the show would do this more often. Instead of manipulating a story to fit the context of a song, just have them do fun numbers that are entertaining to watch.

9. Kevin McHale – “Dancing with Myself” – “Wheels” (1.09)
This was a really lovely moment for Kevin McHale’s character Artie. This really allowed him to open up and have his character become more than ‘the kid in the wheelchair’. It was well choreographed and edited. It was sweet without being too overbearing. I just wish the show knew how to use him better. He hasn’t been given a strong storyline since the first season. It’s a shame because he is an interesting character and McHale is one of the best actors on the show.

8. Idina Menzel & Lea Michele – “Poker Face” – “Theatricality” (1.20)
I have to say this first: not really an appropriate song for a mother and daughter to sing together (“I’m bluffin’ with my muffin). That being said, this was a great vocal performance from both of them. The show could’ve done some big production number to Lady Gaga’s original version of the song. Instead they used the acoustic version and really gave the two ladies a big moment on the show.

7. Lea Michele – “Don’t Rain on My Parade” – “Sectionals” (1.13)
I’m going to make a big statement here: I think this will be one of the most iconic moments in television. Rachel coming out from the back of the audience and doing this number. In the future when there are clips of this show talking about the history of television or some kind of countdown that People magazine does, this will be shown. It’s a great number and Lea Michele knocked it out of the park. Let’s all just forget when she tried to copy it at the Tony Awards the following year. That wasn’t even close to this.

6. Idina Menzel – “Funny Girl” – “Theatricality” (1.20)
Idina Menzel is a Tony winner and it’s easy to see why. This isn’t one of the most memorable Streisand songs (it wasn’t in the original Broadway musical, it was written specifically for the film version), but Menzel made it her own and it was incredible to watch a few minutes of television dedicated to Idina singing this song. It was absolutely beautiful and Idina’s vocals have never been better. Idina does a version of this song on her concert tours now and it sounds even better live with a full orchestra.

5. Chris Colfer & Lea Michele – “Get Happy”/”Happy Days Are Here Again” – “Duets” (2.04)
This version was an homage to the classic Judy Garland & Barbra Streisand (that three Streisand songs in a row on here) performance from Garland’s variety show. It was one of the greatest musical moments on television and Glee* played tribute to it in a smart way. Really almost copying the exact movements and wardrobe. You didn’t have to know about the Streisand/Garland version to enjoy, but if you did it made it even more enjoyable.

4. Darren Criss & Dalton Academy Warblers – “Teenage Dream” – “Never Been Kissed” (2.06)
This was Darren Criss’ first appearance on the show and what an entrance! It was the first time we saw the Warblers do their a capella background noises as well. Criss is one of the show’s best vocalists and this was just a taste of what was to come from him. I also think this ended up being the most downloaded song ever from Glee. It’s a testament to the greatness of the arrangement and the vocals.

3. Naya Rivera & New Directions – “Valerie” – “Special Education” (2.09)
This was a huge moment for Naya Rivera and the show. It was well choreographed and fun to watch. Naya’s vocals were insanely good and it made her standout from the rest of the cast. I never even heard of this song before. I’ve tried to go back and listen to the original Zuton’s version and Amy Winehouse’s cover, I don’t enjoy them as much as this version. I think the upbeat tempo and background vocals really take this to another level.

2. Kristin Chenoweth & New Directions – “Home” – “Home” (1.16)
I have to admit, this song makes me cry a majority of the time I listen to it. There’s something so beautiful about the song itself, but add Chenoweth’s powerful vocals and the rest of the cast acting as a back-up chorus and it’s heavenly. The final “Home” in the song is phenomenal.

1. Kristin Chenoweth & Matthew Morrison – “One Less Bell to Answer”/”A House Is Not a Home” – “Home” (1.16)
The top two choices both come from the episode “Home” and feature Kristin Chenoweth. It’s my favorite episode of the entire series and it’s thanks to these two numbers but mostly because of this one. I never knew that Streisand (four in the top 10!) version, but I’ve listened to it and it doesn’t match these vocals from Chenoweth & Morrison. There’s something so incredibly sad about their vocals and the way they express their sadness is incredibly cathartic. The staging of the performance was a little corny, but it didn’t take away from the power behind the voices and the song.

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