Glee Episode 11 – Michael – Recap, Photos, Video

GLEE: The glee club performs in  "Michael," a special episode celebrating the music of Michael Jackson, on GLEE airing Tuesday, Jan. 31 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2012 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Justin Lubin/FOX

Tonight, it’s the highly anticipated Glee Michael Jackson tribute, and I’m really looking forward to it!  It’ll be New Directions vs The Warblers, headed by the dastardly Sebastian, as they battle it out for the right to sing Michael Jackson songs at Regionals.

Sebastian fights dirty, REALLY dirty, in his quest to help the Warblers win Regionals, Santana steps in to get revenge,  Kurt supports his man and Rachel finally decide if she accepts Finn’s marriage proposal.  Plus, Kurt and Rachel find out if they are finalists at NYADA.

Note: One of the numbers, The Warblers “I Want You Back” was cut from tonight’s episode. Maybe it will be posted online later like Naya Rivera’s cut Christmas performance of “Santa Baby”.  Still, we’ve got nine big performances tonight.  Enjoy! I’ll be back with a recap later.

There was so much hype for this episode, and I’m such a big Michael Jackson fan, that I kinda forgot that I hate tribute episodes.

Actually, I didn’t hate “Michael”. I wanted more. There were so many songs packed into the hour long episode, that it didn’t leave much room for narrative.   It felt like random plot points were just plopped in between songs. And as many of you pointed, out, the missing Warblers scene, cut for time, left a hole in the story.

I’m going to try something new tonight.  With so many musical numbers driving the story in this episode, I’m going to structure my recap song by song.

Wanna Be Starting Something – The opening number started the show off with a bang, and was my favorite performance of the episode.  Darren Criss is as mesmerizing a performer as ever. I loved everything about this number–the costuming (Kurt looked simultaneously funny and sexy in his leather onesie) the dancing, the arrangement, the way reality morphed into a semi-fantasy as the kids took to the stage, dressed in MJ garb. Loves.

I Want You Back –  Cut from “Michael” for time. The kids visited The Warblers at Dalton in this unseen footage. We can only guess what happened after they watched Sebastian and The Warblers perform this number. And it probably wasn’t good.  But after Sebastian stole ND’s idea to sing MJ at regionals, who could blame them for being upset? And what was up with Blaine spilling set list secrets to Sebastian? He should be telling the Evil Gay Warbler to eff off instead. Sometimes I want to kick Blaine in the nuts.  Anywho, the transition to “Bad” is a little awkward, and I think the elimination of this scene, as many of you pointed out, is the reason why.  Oh. And without the arrangements and background vocals of the Tufts Beelzebubs, the Warblers sound like a glorified boyband. Yuck.  Only missed the exposition this scene probably provided, but not the song.

Bad –  Will posed the question “What Would Michael Jackson Do” to the kids as the week’s class assignment.  Facing off against the Warblers with song–rather than their fists–for the right to sing MJ at regionals appears to be the answer.  Everybody puts on their game face, but this performance doesn’t sound “bad” at all. It lacks the grit necessary to make it believable.  (eta: I’m changing my tune on this performance. Kevin McHale pretty much owns this song.  And while I’m still loling at middle class teenagers acting “bad”, the choreography is a fine homage to the original video).  At the end, Blaine steps in front of a slushie intended for his one-and-only Kurt.  As Blaine writhed in pain on the ground,  I was hoping boyfriend would turn around and punch Sebastian in the face,  or hurt him with one of his high kicks. But alas, the perp Sebastian, and his gang walk away unscathed.

Scream – I quite liked this.  Kurt informs the class that Blaine’s got a scratched cornea and will need surgery–damage from a slushie that was obviously tainted in some way.  Angry, Artie gives an impassioned speech about how he’s sick of being pushed around. He wants to bring a world of hurt to  Sebastian, or the stoopid Hockey Players, or the people in general who throw dirt in his and his friends’ faces.  YES. Payback at last.  I was looking forward to Artie inflicting some major pain. Instead, after Will suggests that he take a time out, a really cool fantasy sequence begins with Artie getting out of his chair.  Mike follows him into the world of “Scream” where the iconic MJ/Janet video is beautifully recreated in black and white photography.   Kevin McHale is a fantastic dancer. We need to see more of Artie’s dream world. And his singing is as soulful as ever. Harry Shum sings again, and of course–dances his face off.

Never Can Say Goodbye –  Quinn is accepted to Yale! It was her essay detailing how she kept a straight A average despite all the major drama in her life. Even her short stint as a pink haired skank didn’t ruin her grade point average! Finn had confronted Rachel earlier in the episode for an answer to his proposal. Now Rachel is asking Quinn for advice.  Quinn, who has been through so much utters the first smart thing she’s said all season. HELLS NO GIRL.  YOU CAN”T FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS IF YOU DON’T BREAK UP WITH FINN! OK, that advice may be a little too drastic, but the teenage marriage thing is a really bad idea.   The conversation leads Quinn to ruminate about her past in song.  I don’t care for Dianna’s performance here–her vocals are so thin–but I really liked the way the scene advanced her story line.  Puck, Finn and Sam join her on stage as she bids them a fond farewell.  I have a feeling Dianna Agron is bidding goodbye to Glee as well.  Her return to season 4 hasn’t been confirmed, and this song really felt like major closure for her.

Human Nature – Sam has not given up on wooing Mercedes back into his life.  He summons her to the auditorium to sing a duet with him. She resists–weakly. It’s been apparent since Sam got back to McKinley that home gurl still had some feelings for her summer love.  This is a very sweet performance. Their first real duet together (Summer Nights was technically a duet, but they weren’t together) the two sound better than I would have imagined and have some chemistry.  It ends with a kiss.  A Sam/Shane showdown is just around the corner, I can feel it.

Ben – Even as a 14 year old Jackson 5 fan, I couldn’t wrap my head around a love song about a rat.  Still can’t! Sorry! Not really sure what was going through the producers’ heads when they picked this song.  Kurt is right by his man’s bedside, holding his hand when Finn and Rachel arrive with chicken soup and pirate movies (Blaine is dressed in jammies, sporting a hilarious eye patch).  Blaine misstep #2 (Dude is seriously socially tone deaf) he whips out some champagne glasses to celebrate Kurt making it as a NYADA finalist. Rachel had not received a letter yet. Oops.  Kurt found out earlier he had made the cut when Burt hand-delivered the letter to school so they could open it together. The result? My favorite scene of the entire episode. Kurt reads the letter and it’s good news. Burt tears up. He tells his son how proud he is, and that no matter how much crap people have thrown at him, he’s won. Hugs and more tears.  Greatest. Dad. Ever. LOVES. Back to the bed room.  Kurt serenades his boyfriend–with the help of his brother and bestie–by singing a song about a rodent.   I dunno. I just was not feeling it.  I want Klaine to sing romantic duets to each other like they used to once upon a time.

Smooth Criminal – Earlier in the episode, after Santana found Kurt moping alone, she promised to bring out Auntie Snixx and eff Sebastian up. YES.  Well, NO.  Kurt won’t condone violence after lobbying so hard against it in his presidential campaign. Santana decides that Prancy Smurf has a point, and decides to join him on the high road.  Santana heads off to Dalton to challenge Sebastian to a musical duel.  Sebastian and Santana play a game of cat and mouse around fancy ballroom chairs as they sing “Smooth Criminal” accompanied only by 2Cellos. It’s bold and it’s beautiful.  My 2nd favorite performance of the episode. After, both claim musical victory.  (My money is on Santana)  Probably because he’s a poor loser, Sebastian hits Santana in the face with a slushie–after he confesses to tainting Blaine’s icy drink with rock salt. OUCH.  I am disappointed that Santana leaves Dalton seemingly defeated…  Yeah. She does win in the end, but I still wanted her to kick Sebastian, and maybe a few of those Warblers, in the ass  (Not the chubby one. He never fully co-signed Sebastian’s shenanigans).

I Just Can’t Stop Loving You – Rachel still can’t decide whether to accept Finn’s proposal.  When Kurt excitedly shares his good NYADA news, Rachel bursts into tears, figuring she didn’t make the cut.  “I don’t know what I’m doing,” she sobs as bestie, Kurt, envelops her in a comforting  hug.  Aw. I heart these two so much. All I want is for them to sail off into the NYC sunset together.  It’s in this vulnerable state that Rachel finally accepts Finn’s proposal. But only after singing a treacly Michael Jackson ballad with Finn.  Not a favorite Finchel duet, by a long shot. And girlfriend? You are TOO YOUNG to get married!

Black Or White – Here’s the big happy ending.  So, it turns out Santana DID kick Sebastian’s ass in the form of a mini recorder she had hidden under her boob!  She captured his slushie confession and was ready to turn him in to the authorities.  Hello juvie! SEBASTIAN YOU HAVE BEEN SERVED.  But wait. Kurt wants to take a road that’s so ridiculously high, it makes no sense. KURT THIS IS THE DUDE THAT ALMOST BLINDED YOUR BOYFRIEND!  Kurt thinks sending Sebastian to jail where he belongs would be some sort of wrongful payback. Wut? The gang invites The Warblers to McKinley to serve them through song rather than ass-kicking.  New Directions relinquishes their dibs on MJ. The Warblers are free to do his songs–but…they’ll never understand him!  And oh, by the way Sebastian…Santana has your confession on tape, but she’s going to take that there high road and not turn your stupid CW hair in to the police!  Super-annoying pacifism aside,  “Black or White” was my 3rd favorite performance of the night.  It’s one of my favorite MJ songs of all time, and New Directions’ feel good faithful rendition was very satisfying.  Lea, Chris and Kevin, shared lead and it was all good.  Eventually, Chubby Warbler breaks rank to join the gang on stage. Before you know it, all the Warblers–save Sebastian–are partaking in the MJ love fest.  That the Warblers would turn their backs so quickly on their old pal Blaine was disappointing.  Thank Cheesus they finally came to their senses!  Remember the cool face morphing from the music video? The kids recreate it here, and it’s super rad.  So, to sum up. In the end, New Directions won because…they’re better people? Gah. Please. Somebody punch Sebastian in the head and punch him soon. Preferably that would be Blaine, who should have told Mr. Dick Face to GTFO a looong time ago.

The episode ends with Rachel FINALLY getting her NYADA letter. And guess what.  She’s a finalist too! But whoops. She told Finn she would marry him. Uhm…. Things are going to get complicated, me thinks!

Overall, I enjoyed the production numbers, but felt the narrative was way too thin. But that’s the way these tribute episodes roll. eta: By the way…Kevin McHale OWNED this episode.

Listen to FULL STREAMS of songs from “Michael”

Download Glee:

CUT From the Episode:


Glee Preview – “The Spanish Teacher”

Wanna Be Starting Something

Never Can Say Goodbye


Smooth Criminal

About mj santilli 34998 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!