‘Glee’ Recap: Sectionals Surprise, Plus a Shocking Kiss!

In case anyone forgot, Lea Michele is still very much the star of FOX’s Glee — and this week’s episode did a very good job of reminding us that.

But while Rachel shines at NYADA, her former beau Finn (Cory Monteith) is in the middle of a total show choir meltdown after Marley (Melissa Benoist) fainted during New Directions’ first number at Sectionals. Can the show go on even when their female lead can’t?

Note: Spoilers if you haven’t watched Thursday’s episode, “Swan Song.”

The New Directions were disqualified from Sectionals after they fled the stage to help Marley after her fainting spell, which means for first time in four seasons, the glee club has nothing to compete for. Without a victory at Sectionals, that means there’s no Regionals and even worse, no Nationals — gasp!

Now, I know what some of you are thinking: What’s the point? No, seriously, what’s the point of Glee without a big, overdone Nationals performance to look forward to at the end of every season? But I have to admit, I’m excited to see where this could lead. One of the more surreal aspects of the series was New Direction’s need to compete. We’ve all seen the Community spoof at this point, haven’t we? But when you take away the big prize at the end, it gives the writers room to actually develop stories.

However, since this is Glee we’re talking about, there’s no telling that the writers will actually do such a thing, but I have hope that this risky move is for the better. It’s refreshing to see the series break away from its standard formula.

But that doesn’t make Finn any less bummed about the glee club’s loss. After all, he had only been in charge for a few weeks and he’s already letting everyone down. And it doesn’t help when the entire glee club ditches glee to join other extracurricular activities and Sue Sylvester takes away the choir room for her Sue de Soleil.

Just in case you were wondering, Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Blaine (Darren Criss) join the Cheerios, Artie (Kevin McHale) joins the marching band as drum leader (obviously), Unique (Alex Newell) signs up for the floor hockey team, Teen Jesus (Samuel Larson) joins a inter-faith paintball league and bros Ryder (Blake Jenner) and Jake (Jacob Artist) join the basketball team.

So while Finn drowns his sorrows in sad Christmas music, Rachel is at the top of her game at NYADA. She’s been personally invited by Carmen (Whoopi Goldberg) to perform at NYADA’s prestigious Winter Showcase. Why? Because she’s Rachel Berry, that’s why. And just like that, Rachel’s obnoxious cockiness is back!

She even stands up to her alcoholic NYADA dance instructor Cassie (Kate Hudson) after she finds herself at the receiving end of Cassie’s criticism. And with Rachel’s newfound celebrity status, she’s not about to take any crap from Cassie. So it’s time for a diva off (NYADA edition).

After a steamy version of Chicago’s “All That Jazz,” Rachel learns she might want to leave the dancing to the professionals. But while she admits Cassie is a better dancer, she knows she’s the better singer. Now she knows she needs to rely on her voice to get her through the Winter Showcase.

Naturally, Rachel turns to Barbara Streisand for inspiration. “Being Good Isn’t Good Enough” was practically made for Rachel Berry, wasn’t it? And just like that, all of NYADA — yes, even Carmen — gives Rachel a standing ovation because obviously, after only one semester at performing arts school, Rachel is the best singer who ever graced the NYADA stage. You might as well drop out now and save your dads some money, Rachel. Clearly, it’s all downhill from here.

Not only did Rachel win over the respect of her peers, she even won over Brody (Dean Geyer). Sorry Finchel fans, but it looks like Rachel has officially moved on. I can’t be mad at her. She’s doing exactly what an 18-year-old college freshman should be doing. I may not be Rachel’s biggest fan, but I do appreciate the fact she didn’t pine after Finn for months and months after their breakup.

As for Kurt (Chris Colfer), he’s become “very active on the NYADA blogs” — after hate watching Treme, of course. However, his second audition doesn’t exactly “wow” Carmen, who calls Kurt’s performances too shallow. She wants to see emotion and depth without the glitz and glam.

So imagine Kurt’s surprise when he’s called to perform in front of the Winter Showcase. His performance of “Being Alive” is a total show-stopper, so it’s no surprise when he gets accepted into NYADA. But what does this mean for Isabel (Sarah Jessica Parker)? I hope Kurt realizes his future is in fashion and not someplace where he has to stand in Rachel’s shadow.

Buzz Moments

OMG!: When Rachel kissed Brody, I literally gasped. It wasn’t an “OMG-THIS-IS-GREAT-SQUEE.” No, it was more like a “OMG-WTF-WHO-IS-THIS-NEW-RACHEL?”

Thank you, TV gods.: For putting Kate Hudson — and her amazing body — back on my TV screen.

Awk-ward: Wait, so Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Brittany (Heather Morris) are together now? Now, I think it’s cute how Ryan Murphy found a way to reference the “angry lesbian bloggers” who will be upset by this latest romantic development — “I’m worried they’ll turn on you and get really violent and hurt your beautiful face and mouth.” — but I’m just not feeling it. Sam dated Santana; Santana dated Brittany; Brittany dates Sam. It’s like the circle of life.

Hotness: I would, however, like to see a spin-off starring Sam and his many impersonations. Forrest Gump?! Stop being so cute, Sam.

Fab-u-lous: I don’t know if it was the snow or the holiday knitwear, but when the glee club reunited with Finn to sing “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” I had so many emotions. Finn just looked so happy. Therefore, I’m happy. Jesus, Glee is turning me into such a sap.

Can. Not. Wait.: To see Burt and Kurt reunite in the Big Apple for Christmas! As much as I adore Klaine (and find myself mildly amused by Ryley), my favorite duo on Glee will always be Burt and Kurt.

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 8 — A step up from last week, but I could have used more glee time and a little less Rachel. (Did she really have to sing Silent Night too?)

Below, take a look the latest scoop from Glee newbie Blake Jenner. Glee airs Thursdays at 9 PM on FOX. 

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