There's a reason the critics are raving about Glee, and it's not its hard-hitting approach to tackling teen issues. It's the musical performances! The Gleeks' interpretations of a wide range of ballads, raps, rock anthems and show tunes are what make this campy new series just plain fun. The show's first soundtrack album, Glee: The Music, Volume 1, hits stores today. To celebrate - and to sustain yourself through the hiatus - check out a list of our favorite musical numbers (and a few of our least favorites) and weigh in with your list.
Song: "Don't Stop Believin'"
Original Artist: Journey
Why We Loved It: It's the song that started the Gleek phenomenon, and what a way to kick it off. The talented kiddies of McKinley High take the '80s power ballad and use it as their mantra to get New Directions off the ground. Their peppy cover reached the No. 1 spot on iTunes.
Song: "Somebody to Love"
Original Artist: Queen
Why We Loved It: It's not hard to find somebody to love in this Lea Michele-Cory Monteith duet, who handle the song's complex melodies with layered vocals and cool harmonies. Next question: When do we get to hear their "Bohemian Rhapsody?"
Original Artist: Heart
Why We Loved It: Two words: Kristin Chenoweth. The Emmy winner made us chuckle as the drunkity-drunk April Rhodes, and we were absolutely blown away by her pipes on this Heart classic. No disrespect to Ann and Nancy Wilson, but Chenoweth's version gives the original a run for its money.
Song: "No Air"
Original Artist: Jordin Sparks
Why We Loved It: Fine, once Rachel and Finn start walking through the halls as the wind machine comes on, it morphs into something decidedly cheesier, but Michele's passionate delivery betrays Rachel's feelings for Finn. Quinn's stink eye throughout the song is priceless as well.
Song: "Sweet Caroline"
Original Artist: Neil Diamond
Why We Loved It: Puck (Mark Salling) brought Diamond's sweet serenade out of the barroom and used it to woo Rachel. (As Puck says, together they're "a couple of good-looking Jews.") It's sweet to see him step up to the plate, but it's even sweeter to see that Quinn really loves her baby daddy based on her glowing expression.
Song: "Bust a Move"
Original Artist: Young MC
Why We Loved It: While Mr. Schuester has fly moves and the ability to keep up with the hip-hop jam's rat-a-tat lyrics, the best moment of this entire performance is Kurt's reaction shot when Mr. Schu sings him the line "You're feelin' really fine/cuz the girl is stacked."
Song: "Thong Song"
Original Artist: Sisqo
Why We Didn't Love It: Awk-ward! Will says he's going to teach Emma - who's wearing an oversized wedding dress - how to dance. Instead, he herks and jerks in circles around her, and then he tackles her. Plus, he sings SisqÃ³.
Song: "Gold Digger"
Original Artist: Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
Why We Didn't Love It: Mercedes brings the diva, but Mr. Schu's Kanye impression is too effortful and not plausible enough.
Song: "It's My Life/Confessions Pt. 2" Mash Up
Original Artist: Bon Jovi/Usher
Why We're Torn: Artie's wheelie-poppin' performance of "Confessions" couldn't have been more charming, but Finn's Bon Jovi rendition is a little off. Sure, he's supposed to be jacked up on speed, but his oafish spasticity is distracting.
What are your favorites?