If the Lost pilot promised a scripted version of Survivor, the Glee pilot promised a scripted version of American Idol. Amid all the drama surrounding the creation of a student show choir at an Ohio high school, the producers found time to stage a dozen musical numbers, mixing contemporary Top 40 hits, Broadway show tunes, and classic rock and pop chestnuts. The misfit kids were refreshingly unique and non-stereotypical; it was the adults who were cartoonish, from hiss-worthy villain Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) to doe-eyed Emma (Jayma Mays) to earnest, square-jawed Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison).
Granted, it was pretty hard to identify with Will when he extorted jock Finn (the late Cory Monteith) into joining the singing group by planting marijuana in his locker, but as would so often be the case on this series, you couldn’t argue with the results. That final rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” (an ’80s song viewers should already have been tired of, after its revival in The Sopranos and Rock of Ages) justified all the silliness that had come before. (It also became a much-downloaded chart hit around the world.) You could tell that, given the right coaching and the right material, these young singers could become huge stars.
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