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New Directions takes to the football field to perform a mash-up of Michael Jackson's ''Thriller'' and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' ''Heads Will Roll.'' Says star Kevin McHale, who plays Artie and takes lead vocals on the song, ''We found out on tour that we were going to be on after the Super Bowl. No matter how long the show goes, no matter what, we won't have more viewers than this. And that's crazy. I was thinking about that, like possibly 34 million people will hear me do a Michael Jackson song. I'm good. I can die happy.''
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The Super Bowl episode finds Cory Monteith's Finn once again trying to bridge the gap between the geeks and the jocks. Says Monteith, ''He's back to being leader Finn, he's taking control. He's also trying to motivate the rest of the football team to come on board with the glee club.''
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The Super Bowl episode is Glee's most elaborate and most expensive episode to date. Says co-creator Ryan Murphy, ''Everything is bigger and sort of super-sized.''
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Lea Michele and the cast endured hours of make-up for the zombie look and also had to learn this new incarnation of the Jackson hit. ''I've been listening to our version of 'Thriller' in my car like every day and blasting it so loud,'' says Michele. ''I'm so worried people in other cars are gonna hear it and it's gonna be spoiled but it's really great.''
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The battle between the glee club and the jocks is the primary focus of the Super Bowl episode. ''We've always explored from the pilot, this idea of the conflict of these two worlds: the glee club and the cool, popular jocky kids at the school,'' says co-creator Brad Falchuk. ''It's now coming to a very serious head and it's coming to a point where it's so severe that Coach Beiste and Will feel like they need to take some action.''
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McHale bears the full impact of a group slushie attack.
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The Glee producers wanted to make sure their version of ''Thriller'' paid homage to the original but still was its own standalone performance. Says Murphy, ''We didn't want to do a Michael Jackson step-by-step re-creation. So we borrow none of the choreography. We borrow none of the costumes. But we put our spin on it.''
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Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch, pictured here with Lauren Potter) pulls out all the stops to get her Cheerios to win a cheerleading championship, including risking Brittany's (Heather Morris) life and tackling a pyrotechnic performance of Katy Perry's ''California Gurls.'' ''It's Sue trying to top herself, so Sue choreographed it and there are guys on BMX bikes and girls with fire,'' says Lynch.
For more on the post-Super Bowl episode of Glee, pick up this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly.