A Definitive Ranking Of ‘Glee’ Covers That Slap Harder Than The Originals

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And that’s what we’ve missed on Glee!

During COVID-19 isolation, it would seem that a lot of us have rewatched Glee. And while we’ve come to realise how cooked the whole thing is, we’re also remembering why we loved the show in the first place, and that’s all because of the music.

Ultimately, we’ve gotta hand it to Ryan Murphy and the cast of Glee for entertaining us for a good few years when we were younger. So, let’s reflect on the show’s high-points by counting down the best Glee covers in its six season run. 

Top 20 songs from Glee, ranked:

#20. ‘It’s My Life/Confessions Pt. 2’ (Season 1, Episode 6)

In hindsight, ‘Vitamin D’ was probably Ryan Murphy convincing us to all take drugs.

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. And while ‘Halo/Walking on Sunshine’ was great, we have to hand it to the boys for knocking this one out of the park. Who knew that Usher and Bon Jovi would blend together so well? 

#19. ‘Maybe This Time’ (Season 1, Episode 5)

Some people watched Glee for the drama and others watched it for the music. This cover goes out to the latter.

In “The Rhodes Not Taken”, Ryan Murphy nabbed the Wicked icon Kristin Chenoweth for one of the greatest duets to ever grace our TV screens. If you were a musical theatre nerd, I guarantee that this meeting of Broadway-alumni ranks high on your list.  

#18. ‘I Lived’ (Season 6, Episode 13)

It was the final song ever performed on Glee. Do we really need to say anything else?

Even if you slowly phased out of Glee as the seasons went on, this meeting of the generations was always bound to cause the waterworks. 

#17. ‘Me Against The Music’ (Season 2, Episode 2)

Just hear me out, Heather Morris may be one of the most underrated actresses ever. Her singing and dancing ability flew under the radar throughout the entire first season of Glee but really came to fruition in this particular episode.

Paying homage to the princess of pop Britney Spears, Brittany and Santana both use happy gas to take them to another level – one with a big dance number and a big budget. It was a highpoint of “Britney/Brittany”, but – let’s just say – it wasn’t the highest point. To be continued…

#16. ‘Bust Your Windows’ (Season 1, Episode 3)

Three episodes into Glee and viewers were left wondering if this was just going to be a platform for Lea Michele and Cory Monteith. “Acafellas” proved us all wrong.

As Mercedes develops a crush on Kurt Hummel and is subsequently rejected, she – and you guessed it – busts the windows out of his car. It’s camp. It’s catchy. And it’s one hell of a musical number. Punkee is an Amber Riley stan account, by the way. 

#15. ‘Telephone’ (Season 2, Episode 1)

It took a resurgence on TikTok for us to realise just how cooked Glee was. But, it also took a resurgence for us to realise how over-the-top the choreography was.

In the Season 2 premiere, “Audition”, we’re introduced to Sunshine Corazón who battles it out with Rachel Berry in the school bathrooms. It was a bold choice taking on two vocal legends but hey, we think they did a good job!

#14. ‘Thriller/Heads Will Roll’ (Season 2, Episode 11)

The 11th episode of Glee Season 2, “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle”, was watched by over 27 million people. Why? Because it followed the Super Bowl of course. And in true Super Bowl fashion, Glee performed an incredible spooky mash-up on a football field.

Honestly, ‘Thriller/Heads Will Roll’ will forever go down in history as a Halloween-party essential and we love to see it. 

#13. ‘Push It’ (Season 1, Episode 2)

‘Push It’ is one of those performances that’s remembered, not because it’s particularly good – but because of its chaotic energy.

In “Showmance”, the Glee kids perform ‘Push It’ at a school assembly, against Mr Shue’s wishes, and – as you can expect – it’s horny. Like, it’s outrageously horny. And my adolescent self couldn’t handle it.

Ultimately, this performance sums up Glee in a nutshell: it’s awkward and overly sexual but for some reason, you can’t take your eyes off it. 

#12. ‘Jessie’s Girl’ (Season 1, Episode 18)

Cory Monteith will live in our hearts forever.

This Glee star had the voice of an angel and no song better showcases this than ‘Jessie’s Girl.’ Plus, we will always wonder if Ryan Murphy created an entire character called Jessie for the purposes of this song coming to fruition. 

#11. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Season 1, Episode 22)

Okay, speaking of Jessie, we have to shout out Jonathan Groff’s contribution to the Glee TV series. Hey may have played Kristoff in Frozen and Frozen 2, in addition to playing Holden Ford in Mindhunter, but we will always remember Jonathan Groff as the gorgeous singer who made Vocal Adrenaline the powerhouse that it was.

Honestly, I’d put this song higher but I don’t think I could live with myself if I ranked a Vocal Adrenaline song in the top 10. 

#10. ‘Toxic’ (Season 2, Episode 2)

Similar to ‘Push It’ which has already appeared on this list, ‘Toxic’ is fully charged with sexual tension. Where ‘Push It’ saw the core Glee cast performing at a high school assembly, ‘Toxic’ did so with an extended ensemble cast and the help of Mr. Shue.

Honestly, this performance is so sexy, my adolescent mind couldn’t help but stan. 

#9.’River Deep Mountain High’ (Season 2, Episode 4)

There are three types of numbers; solos, duets, and ensemble numbers. When I think of the most iconic duets, this is what comes to mind.

In this season 2 episode, Naya Rivera and Amber Riley give us a Broadway-ready performance that can vocally outshine most pop female-collaborations. While the “Duets” episode gave us plenty to love, this was by far the best. 

#8. ‘Smooth Criminal’ (Season 3, Episode 11)

Now we’re getting into the good stuff. In Glee, most of the songs performed sound like karaoke versions of the original tracks. But, with a little help from 2Cellos, Ryan Murphy was able to elevate the idea of a cover.

In the case of ‘Smooth Criminal’ (the best song performed in “Michael”), the Glee cast put their own twist on the Michael Jackson classic. And yeah, it pays off. 

#7. ‘Rumour Has It/Someone Like You’ (Season 3, Episode 6)

In “Mash Off”, Santana is dealing with a whole lot of issues. She’s realised she’s in love with her best friend, her queerness is slowly finding its way into the public domain, and she’s feuding with people. Somehow, Naya Rivera is able to sum all of that up in one powerful performance of Adele’s best songs.

Who knew two Adele songs could be mashed together to create an incredible masterpiece?

#6. ‘Teenage Dream’ (Season 2, Episode 6)

Darren Criss is one of the few Glee cast members who has found success post-show, and this performance proves why.

‘Teenage Dream’ was pop perfection before Glee took it on, so it was absolutely a risky choice. But, ultimately, it was a risk that pulled off.

In this scene, Kurt and Blaine just meet and – to refresh your memory –  it’s love at first sight. Sigh. 

#5. ‘Valerie’ (Season 2, Episode 9)

Naya Rivera. There isn’t actually anything else to say at this point.

#4. ‘Umbrella/Singing In The Rain’ (Season 2, Episode 7)

Glee was never afraid of a mash-up, but we have to say, ‘Umbrella/Singing In The Rain’ takes the cake.

Sung predominantly by Mr. Shue and Holly Holliday (Gwyneth Paltrow), this mash-up was everything a mash-up should be. These were two completely different songs, with different messages and different melodies. They came together thematically and – through the power of performance – became a smash hit. 

#3. ‘If I Die Young’ (Season 5, Episode 3)

There isn’t a song in the entire Glee discography that will make you cry as much as this one.

When Cory Monteith passed away, not only did the actors and actresses need to say goodbye to their beloved friend but so did the characters.

In this tearjerker of an episode, Ryan Murphy and the entire Glee crew pay homage to the star in the best way possible. As the actors can barely contain their emotions when acting, it makes for one insanely cathartic episode with this song at its peak. 

#2. ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ (Season 1, Episode 13)

Say what you want about Lea Michele, but the Broadway star has pipes and this song showcased them.

It was the first-ever sectionals and Rachel Berry, in true Rachel Berry fashion, stole the show – all while inspiring a whole generation of theatre kids to gun for solos. 

#1. ‘Don’t Stop Believin” (Season 1, Episode 1)

You didn’t really think anything else would be in this spot, did you? 

Glee became a phenomenon on day one and that’s all because of this song. There’s a reason the track was sung again and again on the show, but nothing beats the OG. A bunch of losers copping their first win? All while in colour-coordinated outfits? We absolutely love to see it.