My Favorite Underrated Glee Performances


Image from Fox via Getty Images

Devin Wilkes, Editor-in-Chief

I’m a Gleek and I’m proud. That’s not a sentence you hear every day, and certainly not one that most Glee fans will admit, but it’s my truth. 

Ryan Murphy’s musical dramedy, Glee, is a show that cannot be entirely described simply using words. IMDB describes it as the tale of “a group of ambitious misfits [as they] try to escape the harsh realities of high school by joining a glee club headed by a passionate Spanish teacher.” However, it is so much more than that; it’s about family, love, drama, and societal criticism. I admit, Glee is also one of the most ridiculous shows on television, with its plethora of plot holes, unfiltered one-liners, and stereotypical characters. But at the core of what makes the show truly special is its over-the-top music performances  

Since its first episode in 2009, Glee’s characters performed over 700 songs, with mostly covers of all genres as well as some original songs and mashups. Sure, songs like “If I Die Young,” “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” and, of course, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” have become certified Glee classics, but it’s a crime to disregard the show’s lesser-known and equally iconic performances. In honor of Glee’s last day on Netflix being last week, I have decided to share ten of my favorite underrated performances featured within the show’s six seasons.


“Keep Me Hangin’ On” – Season 1, Episode 7

This season one performance epitomizes why it was a robbery that Quinn only had six solos throughout the entire show. It’s just so her, from her signature Cheerios uniform and ponytail, timeless song choice, and fierce choreography and set-up.


“Empire State of Mind” – Season 2, Episode 1

The “ba-ba-ba’s” really get me. This is one of those pure, happy ensemble numbers that put a smile on my face. 


“Me Against the Music” – Season 2. Episode 2

I vividly remember watching this episode in elementary school and my life was changed by this performance. All of the songs throughout the “Britney/Brittany” episode easily make it one of the leading episodes in the show, but the production value of this Santana and Brittany duet put this song towards the top of my list. 


“Landslide” (feat. Gwenyth Paltrow) – Season 2, Episode 15

This criminally underrated tear-jerker may or may not have been my most-streamed song on Spotify in 2018.


“Light Up The World” – Season 2, Episode, 22

One of the few original songs featured in the series, “Light Up The World” is truly the definition of electronic dance party pop of the 2010s and ranks in my personal top three favorites. It would have won them Nationals if Finn and Rachel had been able to suppress their teenage hormones.


“Disco Inferno” – Season 3, Episode 16

“Saturday Night Glee-ver” was the last episode I watched before Glee’s removal from Netflix, and I cried actual tears during this song. I honestly think every performance from this episode deserves a spot on the list, but this one stands out because it represents Mercedes’s true blossoming into a star. I love her!


“How Will I Know” – Season 3, Episode 17

This musical tribute to Whitney Houston properly honors her legacy by really emphasizing the vocal talents of the all-stars of the New Directions: Rachel, Mercedes, Kurt, and Santana. The acapella magic of their voices sends chills down my spine every time.


“Let’s Have A Kiki / Turkey Lurkey Time” – Season 4, Episode 8

Okay, hear me out! This may be one of the cringier mashups on the show, but I love it because it’s camp.


“Party All the Time” – Season 5, Episode 13

One thing about Holly Holiday is that she is going to give an exceptional show! The vibrant 80s aesthetic, stylish wardrobe, and huge cast of dancers make me question why this performance is rarely talked about among Gleeks.


“The Winner Takes It All” – Season 6, Episode 13

Will and Sue certainly have one of the weirdest relationships on Glee; half of the time they are stark rivals and the other half they are close, respectful friends. This duet in the finale episode provides a satisfying conclusion to their iconic combination of competition and friendship that has entertained audiences throughout the show.


Glee is one of my favorite shows because it is a mixing pot of diverse and relatable characters, hilariously blunt (and at times problematic) banter, and show-stopping musical performances. It may not be perfect, but it certainly is a lot of fun. Hopefully, it will make its way to another streaming platform in the near future.