Let’s be honest, no one watches Glee for the plot. Every episode of Glee, cast members give their hand at a song or two, creating beautifully unrealistic standards of a typical high schooler’s vocal range. My personal guilty pleasure, Glee covers are questionably successful; the show has the most entries into the Billboard Hot 100. Yup, Rachel Berry defeated acts such as The Beatles, David Bowie, and Madonna. Before I list my favorite Glee covers, I have one thing to admit. “Don’t Stop Believing,” is not on the list. I’m not sorry. It’s overrated.
15. “It’s My Life/Confessions Part II”
In hindsight, the episode might be one of the most questionable episodes in the entire series. That is no easy victory. In this Season 1 episode, the Glee kids split into boys vs girls to try and make the mash-up to end all mash-ups. Who knew that Usher and Bon Jovi would blend together so well?
14. “Beauty School Dropout”
What else can I say? Darren Criss’s voice is buttery, smooth and beautiful. In the most underrated episode of Glee (Yup, I like the “Glease” episode), “Beauty School Dropout” is cheeky, fun, and memorable.
13. “Bills, Bills, Bills”
When paying tribute to a girl group as iconic as Destiny’s Child, it’s important to bring the sass. Fortunately, the Warbler’s acapella rendition of “Bills, Bills, Bills” hits it out of the park.
12. “Can’t Fight This Feeling”
One of my favorite Finn moments, “Can’t Fight This Feeling” is perfect in displaying emotional grit. The song speaks to me. Suddenly, I can empathize with him. My girlfriend (who is President of the Celibacy club) is impregnated by my best friend, and I gullibly believe that we accidentally had sex by sitting in a hot tub together? Been there and done that.
11. “Teenage Dream (Acoustic)”
A perfect callback to Klaine’s first moments, Blaine pulls off an emotionally charged cover of a “typical” bubblegum pop song. What makes the song even better is its position in the story. An episode named “The Breakup” features the split of some of the most iconic couples in Glee (and Finn and Rachel). Moments before breaking up with long time boyfriend Kurt, Blaine sings this song. Full of resentment, Blaine understands that letting go is the right thing to do.
10. “If I Were A Boy”
Beyonce would be proud. A moving tribute speaking on toxic masculinity as well as gender dysmorphia, “If I Were A Boy” perfectly sets up Unique, one of the first transgender characters to grace the screen.
9. “Don’t Rain On My Parade”
Rachel is annoying. She’s self centered, a narcissist, and has constant sociopathic tendencies . However, the moment I hear the pompous trumpets, I’m a Rachel Berry fan.
8. “Bust Your Windows”
I’m so happy that we can stop talking about Rachel and start talking about the real star of New Directions: Mercedes Jones. What’s more ridiculous than Mercedes constantly being snubbed for solos, is that at one point in Glee, Mercedes was chasing Kurt. Remember, this was when Glee was good.
7. “River Deep, Mountain High”
What’s better than one super diva? Two super divas! One of the more underrated duos, Mercedes and Santana have perfect chemistry. And that chorus! Pop perfection!
Finally, Will knocked some sense into his abnormally large head. Giving Santana a solo was so easily the right decision. Glossy and energetic, Naya Rivera kills Amy Winehouse’s signature tone.
5. “I Say A Little Prayer”
Although only one minute long, the song perfectly encapsulates everything that is The Unholy Trinity. Sassy, poetic and mind blowing, I circle back to this song every month. However, I will admit that it is a little unrealistic that Santana and Brittany have the ability to sound like an entire choir gospel.
4. “Thriller/Heads Will Roll”
A pivotal moment in the first season of Glee, “Thriller/Heads Will Roll” is cool and retro. Mashing together two iconic Halloween songs, the song is unironically a banger. Suddenly for two minutes, I don’t know if I’m watching Glee or accidentally tuned into the newest Jordan Peele movie!
3. “Cough Syrup”
Sung during one of the most heartbreaking moments of the entire show, Blaine passionately croons of suicide and self-harm. The show cuts from Blaine onstage to Karofsky, a closeted bully, attempting. Moving and alarming, the show handles the event very well, and this song is definitely an example of that.
2. “Smooth Criminal”
Who knew that a lesbian and a gay man would have more chemistry than half of the Glee couples? This song makes me want to learn how to play the cello. The climax of the episode, it felt as if Glee had been leading up to this performance. The arrangement is passionate, sensitive and intense. The bridge is awe inspiring, the way that Naya Rivera hits the note, and then suddenly back into the chorus, it’s beautiful.
1. “I’m A Slave 4 U”
The Britney episode is required reading before anyone can talk to me. Essential viewing and impacting the entirety of the world for years to come, “I’m A Slave 4 U” is the culmination of every song on this list. Although set in the context of another classically absurd Glee episode, the song is unapologetically good. The dancing? Singing? Chemistry? It’s all there. Honestly, I feel empowered just watching the scene. Brittany S. Pierce jumps from iconic Brittney Spears moment to moment. The most underrated former Glee cast member, Heather Morris absolutely kills it.