Sing-Off: Glee Vs. Smash.
Singing! Dancing! MOTHERFUCKING jazz hands! Glee and Smash, each in their own ostentatious way, have (two)stepped the joys of musicals from Broadway into your living room. As reality television has taught us, one thing makes watching live performances infinitely more entertaining: JUDGEMENT! From the divalicious halls of McKinley to the blinding lights of Broadway, we compare musical numbers from television's only musical shows to ask the ultimate showbiz question: Who did it best?
Glee's "Rumor Has It/Someone Like You” Mash-Up
As any karaoke veteran knows, it's dangerous to tackle an iconic tune. Adele is so absurdly ubiquitous that if you haven't gotten misty-eyed over "Someone Like You”, you should go recharge your cold, robot heart. Covering any jam from "21” could have easily turned an emotional scene into a mediocre American Idol audition (#Snoozefest). Yet with the formation of the Troubletones, Glee found a way to filter Adele's passion into something that feels at once familiar and fresh, showcasing mash-ups at their best! Throw in some snappy choreography and Santana's fiery solo, and you have one of my fave Glee performances ever.
Smash's "Rumor Has It”
Sure, it might seem like the cast of Smash kind of half-assed this "performance” of "Rumor Has it.” Half the song is actually Adele, and their dancing is little more than clapping and shaking their butts. But actually, the performance parallels nicely with the storyline of the episode. Karen Cartright is too special for the chorus, people! She just cannot help overpowering the lead: whether it's Adele or Ivy, it don't matter.
The Wizard of Oz
Glee's "Over the Rainbow”
In Glee's first season finale, Mr. Shue does his best rendition of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's lovely cover of the Judy Garland classic. Remember Season 1, you guys!? Quinn is normal! Schuester is sincere without being annoying! This scene could have actually happened in a high school glee club! The cutaways to the cast feel organic and satisfyingly sweet. When it embraces these moments tenderly, Glee reminds you why it's a world that rivals Munchkinland in intoxicating moxie and whimsy. Adorable!
Smash's "Over the Rainbow”
Is there a better way to open a TV Show about a Broadway show than having Katherine McPhee belt out the song that put her on the American Idol map? I don't think so! The first 2 minutes of Smash's pilot were genius. They set up how naive Karen was (day-dreaming of being on stage at an audition) and juxtaposed that with the cold reality of New York City (the director takes a call mid-song and ogles Ivy's butt). The hope and disappointment that were captured in these early Smash moments were spot on and held the promise of an epic TV show. Of course, about 5 minutes later, we meet Ellis and realize this show is going to be coo-coo-crazy. But, ahh, those first 2 minutes had us saying "tell me more, tell me more!” (Sung to the tune of "Summer Nights,” obvs.)