10 ‘Glee’ Performances Still Getting Standing Ovations a Decade Later (VIDEO)
Ten years ago on May 19, Glee premiered on FOX and quickly became a cultural phenomenon.
The series sold out stadium tours, sent decades-old songs to the tops of the charts, and made superstars out of its cast. It also gave (octave-spanning) voice to high school outcasts everywhere. And a decade later, we’re still YouTubing many of Glee’s 700-plus performances.
In honor of the show choir dramedy’s 10th anniversary, here are 10 of our favorites.
“Don’t Stop Believin'”
This series premiere showstopper didn’t just sell audiences on Glee, it represented everything the show stood for: optimism, aspiration, and color-coordinated costumes.
“Don’t Rain on My Parade”
Rachel’s breakout sectionals performance serves as proof positive of Lea Michele’s vast talent, and it likely introduced a whole generation to Barbra Streisand.
“And I Am Telling You”
Amber Riley brings the house down with every solo — think “Ain’t No Way” and “I Will Always Love You” — but this one might be the best example of her, ahem, vocal staying power.
“I Want to Hold Your Hand”
The Glee music supervisors turned a happy-go-lucky Beatles hit into a stripped-down tearjerker for Kurt’s ode to his ailing dad, and they did so to heartbreaking success.
Speaking of stripped-down versions of pop songs, this arrangement of one Lady Gaga’s first hits is endlessly clever, and the casting of Idina Menzel as Rachel’s biological mom was a masterstroke.
“Maybe This Time”
We’ll never forgive the Glee producers for not reuniting Menzel with her Wicked costar, but at least we got Kristin Chenoweth belting out this Cabaret ballad in concerto with Lea Michele.
“Rumour Has It / Someone Like You”
In a show filled with mash-ups, this is a standout: A seamless blend of two Adele songs with Mercedes and Santana providing electrifying emotion and tension.
“Make You Feel My Love”
Real-life tragedy suffused the show in this Adele cover, meanwhile, which Lea Michele tearfully soldiered through after the death of Finn portrayer Cory Monteith, her off-screen boyfriend.
“If I Were a Boy”
Years before bathroom bills became a national talking point, Alex Newell gave poignant new meaning to this Beyoncé song, as Unique struggled to find safety as a trans student at Lima High.
“Somebody to Love”
Queen songs seem ripe for a cappella covers, and this one shows New Direction at its finest. Suffice it to say, the group number cemented these performers as somebodies to love.