Glee season three starts tonight, promising a school year comprised of fewer guest stars, less Trouty Mouth and plenty of slushies. In anticipation for the songs we’ll hear in a matter of hours—minus one, for those who can’t wait—we’ve been mulling over some of the show’s worst renditions of both famously great songs and puzzling song selections. Sure it’s easy to pick on Artie’s frequent rap breaks, Mr. Schuester’s half-baked attempts at sex appeal and the tendency for Lea Michele’s voice to overpower the less seasoned performers around her, but these are not the only stumbles Glee has had in its short lifespan. Before tonight’s new episode, revisit the 10 musical memories we’re least fond of from the show’s two seasons. You’ll notice some trends within our choices below: bad songs are still bad, whether sung by the Glee cast or a stranger on the corner, the overall “funk” sound is not a good fit for New Directions and Olivia Newton-John doesn’t always make things better. Consider us approaching season three with our glass half-empty, but maybe that’s a good thing. Any new songs can’t be much worse than these!
10. “I FOLLOW RIVERS,” LYKKE LI — SEASON 2, EPISODE 17 “A NIGH OF NEGLECT”
PERFORMED BY: TINA (JENNA USHKOWITZ)
We stand by our feeling that Ushkowitz’s Tina Cohen-Chang is completely wasted on the show, with an underdeveloped storyline and a criminally underused voice. Despite being one of New Directions’ founding members, her solos now exist as punchlines, ending abruptly for some cheap laughs before the next commercial break. In yet another one of her interrupted performances, Tina’s choice of Lykke Li for the group’s “Night of Neglect,” is certainly appreciated—if a slightly backwards compliment—but never fully clicks. She’s more of a belter, and it doesn’t help that her vocals are set against the backdrop of an angry auditorium crowd compromised of glee club enemies like Sandy Ryerson. In the words of Sue Sylvester’s minion Becky: “Boo! Kiss my ass!”
9. “ONE,” U2 — SEASON 1, EPISODE 18 “LARYNGITIS”
PERFORMED BY: RACHEL (LEA MICHELE), FINN (CORY MONTEITH), NEW DIRECTIONS
Before you curse us for mentioning Rachel Berry and the word “worst” in the same sentence, please realize that we’re very much Team Berry here at Popdust. But for all her solos and the endless emotion behind her voice, this U2 cover feels flat, unoriginal and a little cheesy. The Glee kids can do a lot with their performances, but sometimes we just want to see them defeat the slushie yielding football players and render Sue Sylvester speechless rather than decipher a Deeper Meaning with one of their impromptu performances.
8. “SOMEBODY TO LOVE,” JUSTIN BIEBER — SEASON 2, EPISODE 13 “COMEBACK”
PERFORMED BY: SAM (CHORD OVERSTREET), PUCK (MARK SALLING), ARTIE (KEVIN MCHALE), MIKE (HARRY SHUM JR.)
The lesser of two tracks of the same title. While season one’s group version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” was triumphant and high energy, Sam’s take on the Justin Bieber tune leaves us wanting more, even with the help of his go-to boy band. Whether that’s a result of his vocal inferiority or The Bieb’s overwhelming appeal is still to be determined. Here’s to a Jefferson Airplane cover in season three!
7. “U CAN’T TOUCH THIS,” MC HAMMER — SEASON 1, EPISODE 17 “BAD REPUTATION”
PERFORMED BY: ARTIE, TINA, KURT (CHRIS COLFER), MERCEDES (AMBER RILEY), BRITTANY (HEATHER MORRIS)
We said we’d try to stay away from picking on Artie’s rapping, but this is hard to bypass. The rag-tag group gets points for their wardrobe and dance moves (Brittany S. Pierce, ladies and gentlemen) but when will covering MC Hammer stop being something people do?
6. “(YOU’RE) HAVING MY BABY,” PAUL ANKA AND ODIA COATES — SEASON 1, EPISODE 10 “BALLAD”
PERFORMED BY: FINN
We have to love Finn for vowing to care for the unborn child that’s not really his, and for the stupidity that leads him to believe he’s on his way to becoming a teen dad. For the sake of spoilers, one word: hot tub. But between the awkward dinner table setting and his extra twang on Paul Anka‘s frequently used “baby,” this is the sort of retro sound that won’t captivate a teenage audience.
For the Top 5 worst covers, including Mr. Schuester’s failed attempts at rapping his way to Sexy Town, click NEXT.