Gwyeneth Paltrow showed what it was like to be the coolest substitute in town on last night's (Nov. 16) episode of "Glee."
The actress made her first appearance on our favorite glee club comedy as Holly Holiday, the hippest substitute at McKinley High, who helms the club when Mr. Shuester comes down the flu (and Rachel tries to rule song selections with an ultra-diva attitude). Paltrow attempts to help the show choir modernize and voice their opinions of what songs to perform -- most of which come straight from the Top 40 radio chart. Ironically, three of the four musical numbers in this episode were Broadway classics.
Video: Gwyneth Paltrow Performs "F**k You (Forget You)" on "Glee"
While there are only a few things we love more than a Mr. Schue solo (like his shirtless scenes, which happened again this week), his re-incarnation of "Make 'Em Laugh" from "Singing in the Rain" was sort of lost in translation. The great thing about "Glee" musical numbers is that they introduce classic songs with a modern twist, but that didn't happen with this one. For clarification, there is no "Singing in the Rain" hatorade being sipped here. It just seems that this number would have been enjoyed much more if we were dressed up, sitting in a Broadway theater rather than in pajamas watching "Glee" from our couch. Plus, Schue was totally owned by Mike Chang's dance moves.
Video: "Make 'Em Laugh" from "Glee"
This episode does get props for being self-deprecating about many of the frustrations fans may have with the series. More than one joke was poked at the glee club's (or rather Schuester's) love of Journey covers. The episode also made light of Rachel's frequent (and successful) spotlight-hogging solos. Even if tackled in a sardonic way in the show's opening, Rachel was still the only student to duet one-on-one with Paltrow. However, Rachel showed off exactly why she is the Broadway queen of the club with her tap-stepping and rump-shaking mash-up of "Chicago" numbers "Nowadays"and "Hot Honey Rag."
Video: "Glee" Mash-up of "Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag"
The show's finale clip, a mash-up of Rihanna's "Umbrella"and "Singing in the Rain," was the most epic in production value, if not in enjoyment. Does anyone else find it strange that a club constantly struggling for financial support can afford fake waterfalls for a rehearsal number? The spectacle of puddle splashing and synchronized umbrella choreography was something to behold, but it had nothing on either of last week's epic mash-ups.
Video: Gwyneth Paltrow and "Glee" Cast Perform "Umbrella" and "Singing in the Rain"
Next week wedding bells will ring on "Glee," and we heard a promising clip of Bruno Mars' "Marry You" in the episode preview that has us on the edge our seat. In the meantime, we're going to cross fingers that next week will have more Darren Criss/Blaine (who tops the Billboard Digital Songs chart, and our iTunes most played list, this week with his rendition of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream").
And where did John Stamos go? His solo during an otherwise lack-luster "Rocky Horror" episode was a strong high point of the season. More Uncle Jesse singing please, Ryan Murphy!