New Directions pays tribute to Whitney Houston, and Kurt and Blaine have relationship problems
Glee Dance With Somebody
Credit: Adam Rose/Fox
The fourth season of Glee was full of ups and downs, but one consistent bright spot was Lea Michele's Rachel Berry, who stretched her wings…
S3 E17
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Goosebumps. That’s what I got when the Glee kids let loose with “How Will I Know,” which, apropos of nothing, kicked off the hour-long tribute in style. Last night was billed as the Whitney Houston tribute with the McKinley High kids saying goodbye to Houston and, in the process — with just 42 days to go until graduation — saying goodbye to their high school selves. Or at least, that’s how Schu explained this week’s assignment. “This week isn’t about passing judgment on Whitney, it’s about celebrating her legacy; honoring her memory.” The best way for a bunch of ‘so emotional’ high school seniors to do this? Sing a Houston track that personally related to their own struggles. Man, Glee club weekly assignments have gotten oddly specific since ‘sing a mash-up.’

Not surprisingly, the kids were all on board, including Rachel who was looking forward to singing the Star Spangled Banner in the style of Ms. Houston. Whitney Fact: Watch her 1991 Super Bowl performance. It’s simply incredible. But — sorry Rachel — apparently Whitney’s biggest fan was one Kurt Hummel, who dashed off sans-Blaine to music store Between The Sheets to find the perfect number to sing. Which will be tough, because according to Kurt, all her songs were perfect for Kurt.

While he shopped, Kurt met his stalker biggest admirer, a teen named Chandler, who just had to tell him his hippopotamus head broach was amazing. Could he BE more blatantly flirting? (One and only Friends joke. Promise.) It’s not every day that someone openly thinks you’re absolutely incredible, so naturally Kurt was flattered. When Chandler asked for his phone number, Kurt hesitated, but wound up giving it to him so Chandler could continue to send Kurt over-the-top compliments for the next few days. Sample: “Are you an astronaut? Because your smile is out of this world.”

When Rachel called Kurt out on his texting — a slippery slope to sexting — Kurt insisted he wasn’t doing anything wrong, and that he just liked the excitement. Turns out, Blaine and Kurt were getting to the old married couple — or lesbian bed death — stage of their relationship, and hadn’t had an unscheduled make out session in a month. First of all: Is that the hip new thing high schoolers do? Schedule make out sessions? If you have to schedule a kissing sesh with your boyfriend in high school, you may be doing it wrong. Secondly: Rachel smartly pointed out that if he was uncomfortable showing the texts to Blaine, he probably shouldn’t be sending them. Too bad Rachel can’t be this smart about her own relationships.

NEXT: Problems in paradise for Blaine and Kurt

Hanging out the next day, Blaine discovered the Chandler texts and was more than a little upset. Kurt insisted it wasn’t cheating, and Blaine insisted it was. The whole exchange was frankly just a set up so Blaine could state, “It’s not right, but it’s okay,” which of course led into the song, a number Blaine performed for “anyone that’s been cheated on,” complete with back-up dancers that looked the same as the original 1999 video. I know this problem has obviously been raised before, but with all the personal singing that goes on in that group for their individual numbers, is it any wonder they are all so emotional with each other? They don’t have a choice. They’re all getting a 24/7 tell-all anytime someone completes an assignment.

But you know how the old adage goes: If one Whitney song starts a problem, another Whitney track will usually end it. At least, that’s what happened for Kurt and Blaine. After Blaine played the spurned lover for one day of Glee practice, Kurt finished by singing an extremely emotional and extremely high version of “I Have Nothing,” which I originally thought was about his father, but that later Kurt insisted was about Blaine. Probably both.

Kurt was feeling so choked up about his dad because he was starting to get ready to leave for New York, which meant clearing out some junk in his room. That’s tough for any parent to see, and Burt was no exception. Starsky and Gay Hutch then had an intense heart-to-heart about how they would always care about each other, but Burt explained it would never be the same. He told his son, “We made each other men.” I wasn’t crying, of course. But I did have some water on my face.

That moment may have had me reaching for tissues, but it was about to get even sadder: After their respective solos, Kurt and Blaine went to talk to Emma, who had fashioned herself a relationship counselor after her talk with Sam and Mercedes. Tell me you caught Emma’s quick wink to Kurt when he promised he was “actively listening” to Blaine’s complaints. And Blaine certainly had some complaints: After they got past small stuff such as snapping at waiters — Seriously. Don’t do this — and putting bronzer in his moisturizer, they opened their hearts and got to the real problem: Kurt talked about NYADA all the time, and Blaine wasn’t looking forward to next year when he was going to be all alone and away from the love of his life. This was the kind of real-life fear that everyone has at the end of high school, when everything is changing super-fast. It’s like what Finn wished for last week — you just want everything to stand still. Blaine and Kurt’s relationship is going to change in a few months, but their teary confessions and ‘I love you’s’ finally put them on the same page with a promise to always be together. Here’s hoping.

NEXT: Quinn + Joe = ?

While Kurt and Blaine added new heat to an old love, Joe and Quinn were just getting started. Or trying to anyway. Joe looked around the school and realized he was the only perpetually single member of New Directions and wanted in on the fun, so he set his sights on fellow God Squad member and current patient-in-recovery Quinn, and offered to take her to rehab. She said no, no, no yes. During one of her sessions, he was about to kiss her, but instead pulled away. Quinn assumed it was because no one could ever love her in a wheelchair, which isn’t even true. Had she watched Artie at all the past couple of years? Dude is a player.

Of course, the problem wasn’t Quinn. It was Joe’s out-of-control feelings. He went to talk with Sam for some Bible Talk, where Joe confessed that the problem was he was concerned his feelings for Quinn were getting in the way of his feelings for God. Or, as he put it not-so-subtlety to Sam, his in-his-pants feelings were the issue. Sam explained that some of the Bible’s rules are kind of old-school, an explanation Joe didn’t totally buy. Later, when he was at another rehab session with Quinn, he got a little excited, and the two of them talked about their feelings for each other. Quinn was getting down on herself, and Joe suggested, “Maybe you could use my eyes to see yourself…the way I see you.” GROAN. Joe should be instantly disqualified from The Bachelorette: McKinley High edition for using such a cheesy line. Unfortunately, Quinn liked what she heard, and said she would never want him to give up his faith. She said she hoped this could be the start of something new for them. Some other musical high schoolers know all about that.

Finally, over in adult land, Schu and Emma were wedding planning. But instead of getting married later in the year like they had originally planned, Schu wanted to move the wedding up ’til May. He even hired a wedding planner who wasn’t Jennifer Lopez to assist. But when Emma questioned why he was so desperate to move the wedding up, Schu finally confessed that the real reason he was so anxious to get married was because he wanted all the Glee club kids there. Sue was right: Mr. Schuester desperately needed some adult friends. It’s a good thing Schu is a cute dancer/part-time rapper because confessions like those could make some women seriously question whether the wedding should still happen at all. He came to his senses, however, and agreed that getting married later would work — the Glee gang would show up no matter what. Cut to everyone in the auditorium singing together, as Mr. Schuester looked on proudly. Enjoy it! We’ve only got a few more weeks of spontaneous group harmonizing left.

NEXT: Musical grades plus top quotes!

Musical Grades:

“How Will I Know”: Haunting, beautiful and a lovely different arrangement than the version that Houston made famous. Song of the night. A

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody”: Vocally, it doesn’t hold a candle to the original. But I’ll never say no to watching Brittany dance, and with this uptempo track she gets the whole club in on the Whitney-inspired fun with her killer moves. B+

“Saving All My Love for You”: Joe gets some PG touching in at a therapy session turned loveshack. Perfectly pleasant but not an episode standout. B

“So Emotional”: Why don’t Santana and Rachel sing together more often? Because they typically hate each other. This upbeat toe-tapper was good old-fashioned Glee goodness, and their powerhouse vocals complemented each other nicely. A-

“I Have Nothing”: Kurt always knows how to pack an emotional song punch, and this tearful tune is no exception. The arrangement was slightly high for my tastes, but his angelic voice still shone through. A-

“It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay”: For entertainment value, it was fantastic, but it was also more than a little ridiculous and paled quite a bit in comparison to the original. Vocally, it didn’t measure up. C

“My Love Is Your Love”: Nice closer of all the kids harmonizing together one last time…for now. B+

Top Quotes:

“Quinn, you’re still dancing in my dreams. And you can fly and breath fire.” –Brittany

“That whole outfit is amazing. You must get compliments all the time.” “I don’t, actually.” –Chandler and Kurt

“I didn’t cheat on you” “Cheetahs have the fastest land speed of any living animal.” –Kurt and Brittany

“Finn sends me cutesy text messages all the time. Normally they’re puns about my boobs, but I still appreciate the effort.” –Rachel

Here’s the thing about me. I can be super helpful, but when you ask me stuff, you’ve got to be real specific.” –Sam

“We’ll need a pretty big stage because I will be rapping.” –Mr. Schuester

“It looks weird if a person just has tan hands!” –Blaine

“Quick, say something irritating so I can get the taste of this out of my head.” –Santana to Rachel

“You stuck by me, forgave me for sleeping with your women.” –Puck getting emotional and nostalgic with the other guys in the locker room

Tell me: Did you like the tribute to Whitney Houston? Are you happy Quinn and Joe are heading toward being a couple, or would you have preferred Quinn stay single? What did you think about Kurt and Blaine’s troubles?

Episode Recaps

The fourth season of Glee was full of ups and downs, but one consistent bright spot was Lea Michele's Rachel Berry, who stretched her wings…

Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.

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