"Glee" has returned for a third season and the New Directions faced their first week of school rife with relationship shake-ups, awkward assignments and Slushie-tinted adversity -- just another typical week in McKinley's glee club, albeit one with nary a current pop hit and Broadway as far as the eye can see.
Thanks to a few club exits -- Sam has transfered to another school, Lauren can't take the hit on her social status, and Quinn has gone from prepster to a pink-haired, Ryan Seacrest-tramp-stamped member of the Skanks, McKinley's bad girls -- the club lacks manpower. Enter the Purple Piano Project, Mr. Schue's way to encourage new membership by placing purple pianos around the school and imploring the club members to burst into song in their presence to lure recruits.
The first purple piano attempt doesn't go quite as hoped, with the gang bursting into a spunky version of The Go-Gos "We Got The Beat" in the cafeteria, only to instigate a food fight and inspire the first ever clearly tone-deaf auditioner and reject from the club, Sugar. Watch:
Undeterred, Rachel and Kurt are making big plans to take their talents far from Ohio when they graduate, and in preparation for a college interest meeting, the two work up a cheeky Broadway take on the Streisand version of "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" complete with hats, brooms and fanciful choreography that makes you wish for a full hour of the Kurt and Rachel Cabaret Act, or at least the rumored spin-off next season. Unfortunately, when the arrive at the meet-up they're confronted with several look-a-likes who make McKinley's divas realize they're not exactly the unique snowflakes they've imagined themselves to be.
After watching newcomer and "former Gerber baby" Harmony shine on an "Anything Goes/ Anything You Can Do" mash-up backed by the tap-dancing faux Kurts and Rachels, the pair sob in the car until they pep-talk each other into not giving up on their dreams no matter how difficult they may be to achieve.
The much anticipated transfer of Blaine Anderson from Dalton to the choir room is swiftly dealt with this episode -- who knew your parents would let you leave a posh private school your senior year just to spend more time with your boyfriend? Blaine makes his debut to the school in the same courtyard he performed in last as a visiting Warbler, singing the Tom Jones classic "It's Not Unusual" supported by Santana and the Cheerios. It comes dangerously close to the infamous Carlton performance from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and then goes above and beyond with Blaine's hip-swiveling, banister-sliding ways. Everyone's amused until the Cheerios gasoline dump and Quinn's rogue cigarette butt cause the purple piano to burst into flames. Watch a clip:
Flaming ivories can't stop the club from pushing for their dreams this season, and they cap the episode with the big closing number from Hairspray, "You Can't Stop The Beat." Rachel takes an unusual slow start on the song, beginning in the choir room and, in true Glee fashion, dissolving to the auditorium complete with costumes, sets, impeccable choreography and a solo from often underused Mercedes. Glee is back in full force, and the only complaint is the televised version cut Kurt and Artie's adorable duet from the second verse.
What do you think of the start of this season? Is "Glee" back on track from last year? Was there too much Broadway and not enough pop for your liking? Tell us in the comments below!