Throughout Glee‘s second season, sassy Cheerio Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) evolved from detestable school bitch into a fully drawn, leading character thanks to some hilarious back story (she’s from the tough neighborhood known as Lima Heights Adjacent and her dad’s a doctor, which means he like went to med school or something), more solos (at Sectionals, no less) and a major subplot (her secret “lebanese” love with Brittany). So how do the powers that be reward her hard work? With the chance to be a solo star. (Just don’t break up the band!) Rivera has signed her own deal with Columbia Records and will begin work on her debut album after the Glee tour wraps this summer.
Groan. While even the most cynical Glee has to admit the stars are talented (you can eye roll all you want, but when they do good covers, the do them well), yet these actor-musicians haven’t quite figured out the formula for a successful solo career. Mark Salling released his own disc last fall—we forgive you for missing his single “Illusions,” we wish we had—while Matthew Morrison (and his trusty ukulele) is currently promoting his debut album on the road with NKOTBSB this summer. Glee tour numbers and album sales continue to do gangbusters, so producing solo records may seem like a good idea in theory (i.e. squeeze the Glee machine until it runs dry of its last profitable enterprise) but in defense of the fans, we’re still unsure about who these people are outside of their Ryan Murphy creations. Rivera has covered everything from Brandy to Tina Turner and Amy Winehouse on the show—though Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird” (below) might be her best—so we know she has range, but what kind of solo artist will she be? Guess we’ll have to wait until season three, when Rivera pimps her own solo music under the ruse that Santana is headed for Lilith Fair after graduation.