Hands up, how many of you watch Glee? You know who you are! Glee is currently one of America’s biggest shows with over a million viewers tuning in each week in the UK.
The success of this show is phenomenal and the cast are even embarking on a world tour. For those who are unfamiliar with the show, it follows a group of outcasts AKA gleeks, who make up the glee club, ‘New Directions.’ In each episode they sing and perform songs from a range of genres, but we never thought they would be embracing the sounds of R&B and Hip Hop. It’s not something that fits in the world of Glee, but they do make it work. If you don’t believe it, have a look yourself.
In the first season, the diva of the group Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley) made it clear that ‘I’m Beyonce; I ain’t no Kelly Rowland’. The feisty girl has already flaunted her talent singing the R&B classic Respect by Aretha Franklin. But Mercedes actually pulled out all the stops when she sang her first lead solo, Bust Your Windows by Jazmine Sullivan, and Kanye West and Jamie Foxx’s Gold Digger. She perfected the high notes in her performance of Jill Scott’s Hate on Me and since then the sounds of R&B and gangster rap has come naturally to the show.
We have seen soulful sounds of Monica and Brandy’s Boy is Mine, performed by Mercedes and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera), where they are both fighting over the same man. What better way than to sing out your heart R&B style. Even the glee club teacher, Mr Schuster gets in touch with his Hip Hop side with Th-th-th-th-thong Song- Although he is no Sisqo his dance moves and vocals definitely takes you down memory lane.
In the second season, R&B and Hip Hop tracks become more evident with the season opening up with Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind. Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) the newbie of the group marks his territory with Travie McCoy’s Billionaire, and Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale) has this unique swagger when he raps on the track. Even on Jamie Foxx’s Blame it on the Alcohol he flaunts his rapping skills. Gwyneth Paltrow made a guest appearance and came out with a surprising performance of Cee Lo Green- Forget you and performed this single at the Grammy Awards 2011.
But one of the best numbers to date has to be the Destiny Child’s Bills Bills Bills performance, by The Warblers, another glee group, with Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) singing as the lead. The track still keeps its vibe, but with the beatboxing and Blaine’s soulful voice, he has taken an iconic song and managed to make it his own. Blaine, one of the newest members of the cast, has already proven his singing ability. He has the swag and soulful voice; give him a song and he is sure to do it justice.
But it’s not all about the singing. The big dance numbers are a huge part of the programme. Is this what makes this show so watchable? The Thriller/Heads Will Roll performance for the Super Bowl special was epic! The characters dressed up as zombies on the football pitch and performed an amazing spectacle, and not forgetting the infamous Single Ladies routine- ‘Put your hands up!’ hilarious!
Harry Shum Jr who plays Mike Chang has starred in dance films including You Got Served, Step Up 2 and Step Up 3. His moves are sharp, slick and street. But it is not just the guys who know how to shake it – the girls can too. Keep your eye on Heather Morris who plays the ditzy member of the group, Brittany Pierce. She’s no stranger to the dance world either, she was Beyoncé’s backing dancer and taught the whole cast the Single Ladies routine. Hip Hop star Eve made an appearance in season one. Maybe Heather can put in a good word with Beyoncé and get her to make a guest appearance!
Here at Flavour Magazine we’re hoping the producers behind Glee continue to surprise us with new twists on old hip hop favourites. Watch this space…
Words by Jaskiran Mankoo
After mounting a live stage concert event that played to sold out crowds and great acclaim in four American cities last year, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy are proud to announce the Glee cast will travel to Europe to perform on the arena stages of London and Manchester this June.
Beginning Wednesday, June 22 at Manchester, England’s MEN Arena, Glee stars Lea Michele (Rachel), Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Mark Salling (Puck), Dianna Agron (Quinn), Naya Rivera (Santana), Heather Morris (Brittany), Harry Shum, Jr. (Mike), Chord Overstreet (Sam) and Darren Criss (Blaine) will perform in an all-new singing and dancing celebration of the Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning show.