The New Directions, the Glee Club at the center of the hit musical series Glee, had a lot of really memorable moments. A group of high school kids who came together out of true love for music and dance, they performed at several show choir competitions, which, aside from the day-to-day drama of the characters, provided the show with its main narrative drive.

Sure, not all the numbers were great and, as the show went on, some became increasingly implausible. However, plenty of performances truly touched the audience’s hearts, numbers that managed to capture the true magic that only really good music can bring. At its finest, Glee was a celebration of uniqueness and diversity, expressed through unadulterated and shameless joy. These performances are perfect examples of that valuable message.

10 Keep Holding On

Sung during the early days of the show, on the season one episode “Throwdown,” “Keep Holding On” represents a lovely moment within the show. The song, already quite inspirational, acquired an almost anthemic nature, especially after such an intense episode.

With Mr. Schuester and Sue’s rivalry escalating to violent new heights and Quinn’s pregnancy finally widely revealed, the New Directions rally behind their pregnant friend, singing about the importance of resistance and hope. The message may be blunt and a bit heavy-handed, but it’s genuine enough to actually land successfully.

9 Time Warp

Tribute episodes were a big thing on Glee. Over its six seasons, the cast participated in sixteen of them, some better than others. “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” isn’t a particularly good or even memorable hour of television, but it features one of the best group numbers the show ever did.

With the entire members of New Directions (sans Puck) dressed as characters of the legendary musical, they perform a rousing rendition of “Time Warp” in the auditorium. As with many of their numbers, there is no audience present, only Mr. Schuester. However, this is one of the times when that’s actually a positive, allowing the kids to let loose and sing just for the fun of it.


8 Cool Kids

The Glee of season five bore little resemblance to the show that audiences first met and fell in love with. This was corrected in season six, with the arrival of a third generation of kids to form the New Directions. This lot was actually quite fun, even managing to recapture some of the magic that the original cast achieved during the height of the show’s popularity.

See also  The Avengers' Shawarma Scene Gets New Meaning, Thanks To DC

“Cool Kids” by Echosmith is sung during the episode “Child Star” and it’s classic Glee. There’s no elaborate production, no flashy costumes, or absurdly high notes or belts. Instead, just eight kids in green shirts, enjoying a song that perfectly fits with the show’s themes.

7 Loser Like Me

If there was ever a song that could be considered Glee‘s rallying cry, it’s this one. Originally written for the show, it was performed as part of the New Direction’s setlist in season 2’s Regionals competition. Within the show’s context, it’s written by all members of the ND, basing the lyrics on their experiences as McKinley’s outcasts.

Some of the lyrics are a bit clumsy, which is okay since they were supposed to be written by a bunch of seventeen-year-olds. But what’s truly commendable is how they manage to be both self-deprecating and inspiring, much like the show itself. Mainly sung as a duet between Rachel and Finn, it would’ve benefited from featuring more members as soloists, but it’s still one of the show’s greatest and most iconic triumphs.

6 Some Nights

The new cast of characters introduced in season four took center stage in the episode “Dynamic Duets.” The plot ranks as one of the show’s zaniest, but the songs featured are all killer. At the end of the hour, the new New Directions go to the auditorium to perform a stirring rendition of Fun’s “Some Nights,” which ranks among the highlights of the season.

Featuring eight soloists, the show makes perfect use of its versatile cast to give a fresh spin on this already lively tune. Truly exciting and unforgettable, “Some Nights” is probably the season 4 cast’s finest moment.

5 Don’t Stop Believing

The number that took Glee from average musical series to an actual cultural phenomenon, “Don’t Stop Believing” might be the song that a lot of people first think of when they think about the show. And while it’s definitely an indelible moment in the series, as it signals just how much magic is in store, it features only half of the original New Directions. As such, its power is only half of what it could be.

See also  'The Hunger Games' Casts Its Cato & Clove

Still, “Don’t Stop Believing” remains a staple of the show, the song that preaches the message of hope that Ryan Murphy and company worked so hard to convey. Three more covers of the song were released, but only one of them really comes anywhere close to the soaring heights of the first one.

4 We Are Young

In season three, Mercedes, Santana, and Brittany briefly leave the New Directions to form their own glee club, The Troubletones. They face the New Directions during Sectionals, but end up ranking second. After Rachel promises them that The Troubletones will get to perform one number in both Regionals and Nationals, as part of the New Directions, the three girls rejoin the glee club, embracing their old friends.

The fact that they do it to the beat of Fun’s bold statement of a song makes the reunion even better. The tune’s inherent melancholy perfectly fits the scene’s background and purpose, resulting in a heartwarming sequence that ranks among the show’s very best moments.

3 Somebody To Love

The first number sung by the complete line-up of the original New Directions, “Somebody to Love” is when the audience fully understands just how amazingly talented these kids are. Rachel, Finn, Artie, and especially Mercedes are all at the top of their games, delivering a soulful, honest and breathtaking rendition that would make Queen proud.

Like all the best Glee performances, it’s not exaggerated or overdone. Instead, it actually resembles a high school choir doing their level best to knock the socks off their audience, and they succeed. After this performance, nothing was ever quite the same.

2 Journey Medley

For their first Regionals competition, the New Directions performed a medley of Journey songs and immortalized themselves in the pantheon of great television performances. Finn and Rachel opened the whole thing with an electric and intimate duet of “Faithfully” before the whole club went into a mashup of “Anyway You Want It” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.” Finally, they brought the whole thing home with a second version of “Don’t Stop Believing.”

See also  Full House: 10 Most Hated Supporting Characters

It was a proud moment for all the fans who, after watching these kids struggle for an entire season, finally got to see them in all their performing glory. And while the New Directions ultimately lost, almost everyone in the audience knew that, had it not been for Josh Groban and Olivia Newton-John, they would’ve most likely won. And they should’ve.

1 Paradise By The Dashboard Light

After three seasons of laughter, drama, and lots of songs, the New Directions finally won Nationals, and deservedly so. Their set included Rachel belting a towering rendition of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” and The Troubletones bringing the house down with Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory.” But it was the closing number, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” that not only secured them the victory, but cemented their legacy, and the show’s.

Charming, eclectic, exhilarating, and utterly unforgettable, the number is performed in its entirety, a rarity for the show. But once the music starts, it’s clear why it remained untouched. It’s just too good to cut. Every line, every note hits the spot, making the whole thing a truly incredible experience. When the New Directions are declared the winners, no one complains. It’s very obvious they’ve earned it.

NextOnce Upon A Time: Things From Season 1 That Haven’t Aged Well

About The Author