Tonight, following the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers matchup in Super Bowl XLV, an all-new episode of Glee premieres. Or as Bill Maher so astutely noted on Friday’s Real Time, “Just what America needs: An over-the-top, homoerotic spectacle. And then Glee!”
FOX picking its most zeitgeisty show to follow football’s biggest game wasn’t a total shocker, but it will be interesting to see just how much of the audience stays tuned for Glee after the post-game analysis wraps up. In a nod to its NFL lead-in, the amped-up episode’s storyline is centered around McKinley High’s warring glee club and football team factions.
To ease non-Gleeks into the show’s song-and-dance, free-to-be-you-and-me universe, there’s been a ton of PR around the Super Bowl episode. Besides the ubiquitous cast interviews and the talk surrounding Katie Couric’s cameo, which have subtracted some of the surprises in store during “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle,” full song performances have also leaked. You’ve probably heard that Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” has been mashed up with the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll,” and maybe that Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” The Zombies “She’s Not There,” and Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills” are also on tonight’s cover roster, while Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” soundtracks a Cheerios routine. (And if not, well, now you know.)
Though the “Thriller/Heads Will Roll” mashup has folks buzzing, and no doubt grabbed the lion’s share of the episode’s production budget, it’s “Bills Bills Bills” that might just provide the bigger payoff. Taking a page from the Glee playbook — in this case, the show’s uber-popular acapella cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” which reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 — once again Darren Criss and The Beelzebubs of Tufts University the Dalton Academy Warblers are called from the bench to perform a song written from a female perspective.
Tackling Destiny’s Child no-scrubs smash, a 1999 #1 hit for the pop/R&B trio, it’s Glee‘s still-genius gender flip that makes the fellas’ “Bills, Bills, Bills” a total touchdown.