'Glee' Recap: Katy Perry vs. Lady Gaga - Rolling Stone
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‘Glee’ Recap: Katy Perry or Lady Gaga?

Adam Lambert joins the cast as New Directions take on pop hits

If there’s one thing that can make us forget that Finn is dead, it’s Adam Lambert joining the cast of Glee! We’re sure that’s what the producers would like us to say, and it’s not far from the truth. Glambert is a pretty exciting addition to the show.

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But despite them wanting us to move on, it’s hard to ignore that they’re still basically pretending that everything is picture-perfect in Glee-dom. Aside from a passing comment and a background photo on a wall, there was barely any mention of Finn or the devastatingly sad episode in which they killed off the character.

They essentially leap-frogged right over that life-changing event to shinier, happier times – Sam crushing on the school nurse, Kurt forming a band, the glee club kids arguing over who’s better: Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. We get it, it’s sad. No one wants to dwell on such a depressing storyline. But for a show like Glee, which has deftly tackled heavy subjects in the past, it’s irresponsible and unrealistic and just plain delusional – it’s hard to get past.

But like real life, we must soldier on. And in that sense, the “A Katy or a Gaga” episode was a fun, frivolous hour where the members of New Directions try to figure out which pop diva best represents them.

New Directions Prepare for Nationals While Sam Woos School Nurse, Jake Cheats
When Mr. Schue reveals that New Directions will be going up against Throat Explosion – “the new supergroup the show choir underground has been buzzing about,” according to Blaine – at Nationals all hell breaks loose. “They know no boundaries, they’re constantly pushing the envelope, living and performing on the edge. They’re like mini Lady Gagas,” Blaine deadpans.

“We’re so screwed,” Tina says, adding all in one breath, “They’re total outsiders and misfits, which used to be our niche. But we can’t compete . . . because we lost our biggest Gaga when Kurt graduated last year. Look around, we’re a room full of Katy Perrys now!”

Mr. Schue, ever the peacekeeper, spins things positively: “We’re a potent mix of Katy Perrys and Lady Gagas. So, this week, the Katys will get their Gaga on and the Gagas will bring the Katy.”

With that they split into two groups with Sam taking the lead on Team Gaga because, after discovering Nurse Penny is into bad boys, he wants to appear dark, edgy and weird. And he certainly succeeds. 

His rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Applause” finds him shirtless and wearing spiked angel wings while Blaine sports a ratty wig and mismatched outfit that makes him look like Ke$ha on a bad day and Artie wheels around with a giant inflatable balloon trailing him. Meanwhile, Marley – who’s on edge because she thinks Bree‘s flirting with Jake – skips around the stage dressed in a candy-patterned dress and pink wig while carrying a giant pinwheel lollipop. To this, Mr. Schue throws up his hands in disgust. Mixing Katy Perry and Lady Gaga is like mixing peanut butter and chocolate – it’s not supposed to be done! Oh, wait . . .

When the song ends, Sam yells at Marley for not wearing the Gaga-inspired “seashell bikini” they had agreed on. Upset about baring too much skin, she says, “I’m sorry but I am who I am and I’m not gonna change that for any number – or any guy!” To which Mr. Schue replies by suspending her from glee club for putting her “personal agenda” above winning the championship.

So, to be clear, she got suspended because she didn’t want to be naked with just seashells covering her breasts and hoo-ha? What kind of a message is that sending to girls (and guys) who watch the show? If it wasn’t blatantly obvious by the handling of Finn’s death, it is right at this moment: Glee has lost its way. (Later, Marley is chastised by Jake for not putting out – “you don’t care that it’s bumming me out! Most girls let me in their pants after six hours!” he yells before storming off to seemingly sleep with Bree. Quite a catch there, ladies.)

Meanwhile, on the flipside, Team Katy decides to scale things back because, according to Tina, what people like about her music is that it isn’t over the top, it’s more “girl next door.” So Tina, Kitty, Jake and Unique decide on a stripped down setting, sitting down with just a piano to sing “Wide Awake.”

In the end – cute couple alert! – Sam wins over Nurse Penny by proudly admitting he’s a Katy, not a Gaga before they make out in the infirmary. More “Teenage Dream” than “Bad Romance,” for sure.

Kurt Forms a Band in NYC
Here’s where Glambert makes his grand entrance – over in NYC when Kurt seeks to start a band with Santana and her new girlfriend Dani (played by Demi Lovato). Rachel has refused to join because it’s “too soon.” 

After Kurt spends all his money on renting an audition room, just one person shows up: flamboyant showman Starchild. And it’s epic. Dressed in a fanciful tux and top hat covered in glitter, which Kurt calls “Project Runway . . . Season Six,” Starchild attacks Lady Gaga’s “Marry the Night” and makes it his own. The scene is basically a four-minute music video for Lambert where he struts, pouts, poses and literally swings from a chandelier. Lady who?

But Kurt is unimpressed, calling him “outré” and showing him the door while Santana and Dani protest. 

After hearing about the dazzling audition, Rachel tries to convince Kurt that Starchild is exactly what his band needs. But Kurt is looking to be “mainstream,” he’s tired of not fitting in. Besides, he didn’t catch Starchild’s real name or number. Luckily, the flamboyant frontman “stalks” Kurt at his diner, dressed down and asking for a second chance as plain ol’ Elliott Gilbert.

From there, the newly formed quartet – which eventually picks up Rachel – chooses the name Pamela Lansbury because “It’s got the sex appeal of Pamela Anderson and the quiet dignity of Angela Lansbury.” 

Previous recap: Farewell to Finn Hudson


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