Credit: Mike Yarish/Fox

With just one more episode left before Glee throws away the pitch pipe forever, emotions are running high—and the cast has channeled that into the last set of performances on the series finale.

Lea Michele revealed to EW at PaleyFest that her final solo on the series would be “This Time,” an original song written by Darren Criss that sent Michele to her knees during the final week of filming. “It was the most special day,” Michele said. “I got to say everything to everyone here and everyone who will watch it that I wanted to say, but you can’t think of the words, and he wrote them.”

Criss told EW what went into the writing of the swan song: “I wrote ‘This Time’ as a love note to all things Glee. The show itself, the emotions of the people leaving it—both the characters and the actors themselves, the effect it had on everyone — I tried to cram all these ideas into a single person’s narrative. I wanted Rachel’s words to encapsulate not only her own personal journey, but everyone’s experience of being a part of this show—whether you were behind the camera, in front of the camera, or watching it at home for these past few years. Hearing Lea sing this song was a really cathartic moment for me. It was a perfect way to say goodbye to the whole experience, and I really look forward to getting to share it with the world. I hope ‘This Time’ will resonate with as many people watching Glee as it did for me and those of us who had a hand in making it. “

Michele’s last solo marks Criss’ second original composition—he penned the stellar “Rise,” which played in last week’s episode. The series finale—airing this Friday, March 20—flashes back to the earliest days of New Directions before taking a five-year leap forward into the future.

Listen to EW’s exclusive premiere of the song below, and try not to let emotions overwhelm you when you realize that you’ve just heard Rachel Berry’s final note.

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