After paying tribute to Cory Monteith a month ago, "Glee" returned to Fox Thursday night and the theatrics were back at the center of the story. In the episode titled "A Katy or a Gaga," the Gleeks, in both Lima and New York City, made the performances all about spectacle, covering two of the biggest pop princesses, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
At McKinley, the New Directions are faced with impending Nationals. To boost morale, Mr. Schuester decides to have the singers try on the personas of Gaga and Katy. But there's a catch. Any member who considers him or herself a Gaga has to try on the Katy persona, and vice versa.
Of course, that leads to Blaine in full-on "Applause" drag (wig and all), belting out the tune alongside Sam, Artie and Ryder, who also each pick an unforgettable costume from the video. Well, everyone but Marley gets into Gaga mode. She's the only Katy to rock a vintage "California Gurls" costume, not ready to go full Gaga. She should have remembered that even Katy buried her Teenage Dream persona. Their super-campy take is a solid B+ effort.
To pay homage to Katy, the Gagas (New Direction singers Jake, Kitty, Unique and Tina) decide to focus on the music. Forgoing the costumes and spectacle of the "Applause" performance, their performance is all about Perry's moving ballad "Wide Awake." Given how emotional the song is, their stripped-down take is a big A-.
While everyone else has to share their pop picks, guest star Adam Lambert, playing the glitzy Elliot Starchild, rolls into Kurt, Dani and Santana's band audition in full Ziggy Stardust mode. "Sorry I'm late. People kept stopping me on the street, asking if they could take their picture with me," Lambert declares, with Dani adding, "Yeah, you look friggin' badass."
So is his rendition of Born This Way single "Marry the Night," which he blasts out like a real rock star. It includes him swinging from a chandelier in a top hat. It's an A+ performance that would make Gaga proud.
While Kurt is initially skeptical of letting Starchild join the crew, his pal Rachel (who also eventually joins the band, ready to start living again after Finn's death) convinces him to let Starchild join. And while Santana wants to name their band the Apocalypsticks, much to Kurt's dismay, Rachel suggests Pamela Lansbury. We guess that's better.
The episode wraps up with a performance of Perry's Prism anthem "Roar," with the kids in both Lima and NYC performing the tune in their own way. The New Directions take the stage, with pretty spot-on reenactments of the looks from Perry's jungle-themed video, to prove to bad-girl Principal Sylvester that they can't be held down by her rules.
Meanwhile, the kids of Pamela Lansbury belt out the tune in band rehearsal. Which performance is better? While the Lima Gleeks go for theatrics, you have to love Demi Lovato and Adam (and their big vocals) in NYC. Both performances are solid A-.
Next week's episode (November 14) is titled "The End of Twerking." Principal Sue wants to take down the Miley-approved dance move while the kids just want it to be all about "rebellion." This week may have had Lambert, but next week's special guest will be a wrecking ball.