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Posted at 11:06 PM ET, 11/16/2010

Gwyneth Paltrow can sing -- on 'Glee'!: We watch so you don't have to

By Lisa de Moraes

Gwyneth Paltrow made her appearance on "Glee." (Fox/Adam Rose)


WaPo TeamTV's Emily Yahr filed this dispatch:

This week on "Glee" we learn Gwyneth Paltrow has a movie coming out in January.

Sure, Will Schuester and his ex-wife have a disastrous fling and Mercedes feels left out now that Kurt hangs out with new BFF Blaine all the time. But after a commercial break ad reminding us that guest-star Paltrow's new flick "Country Strong" (in which she plays a rehabbed country singer gunning for a comeback) arrives in theaters soon, we realize Paltrow's impending singing career was the real take-away on this episode. They don't go in for subtlety much on "Glee."

In another episode of the series about a high school glee club where the lives of the high school students take a back seat to the adults with a product to plug, Paltrow plays substitute teacher Holly Holiday. Holly wants so badly to be cool that she incorporates Lindsay Lohan's stints in rehab into her Spanish lessons, lets the kids do whatever they want, gives them test answers in advance of the test and throws around words like "Tweet." She hopes to overthrow Will Schuester, who's out sick with the flu, and land one of those coveted arts-based teaching jobs.

And, in the midst of this diabolicalness -- she sings! Proving to the skeptical glee students that she knows today's hottest hits, Holly kicks things off with "Forget You," the bouncy song by Cee Lo that cheerfully tells an ex-lover exactly what he thinks of them. Holly switches around a few pronouns, belts out the tune, and proceeds to show the world what it looks like when an Oscar-winning actress who has played Jane Austin's Emma, and Shakespeare's girlfriend, tries to do the robot dance move.

Later, she gains the trust of the class by pointing out that Will never lets them perform any songs from the current decade (unless it's done by Journey). She even wins over prickly Rachel Berry by joining her in a duet of "Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag" from Chicago, and shakes around the stage in a skimpy red fringed dress -- like Bristol Palin on "Dancing with the Stars."

Of course, Will finds out and confronts Holly in the glee club room -- and infects everyone with his flu germs. That's after he and Mike Chang do a very weak imitation of Donald O'Connor performing "Make 'Em Laugh" from "Singin' in the Rain" -- it's a flu-inducted hallucination.

Because storyline is not this show's strong suit, Paltrow's Holly drives Will from his own class, but seconds later she's looking helpless in a hideous brown beret as Sue Sylvester -- who has somehow promoted herself to principal in the absence of Figgins, also out sick -- reprimands Mercedes for putting TaterTtots in Sue's car. Mercedes, you see, is angry that Sue has cut unhealthy food from the cafeteria menu.

Still with me?

Earlier in the episode, Sue and Holly had done some serious bonding over red wine and an episode of "Hoarders," and of course Sue saw Holly as a way to thwart Will. But now Sue dumps Holly because Holly has no idea how to discipline students. Really?

So Holly winds up at Will's place to tell him that "when things get too serious, I retreat." This pleases Will. But wait! Here comes Will's ex-wife, Terri, wandering in to say "Hi" after their previous night's VapoRub induced romp in the hay! Bad timing! Terri notes -- correctly -- that Holly Holiday sounds like the name of a stripper or drag queen, freaks out, starts to leave and says she'll be back -- but Will tells her to get lost for good. And that's the last we'll ever see of her. Until another sweeps month.

And because every episode of "Glee" needs a fairy-tale ending, whether it makes sense or not, Will invites Holly to join the class in a mash-up of the classic "Singin' in the Rain" and Rihanna's "Umbrella," blending the styles of both teachers. It would be a beautiful moment, except that Paltrow proceeds to hit us over the head with the fact that she can sing ... which, coincidentally, is the theme of her new movie.

Set list:

"Forget You" by Cee Lo
"Make 'Em Laugh" from "Singin' in the Rain"
"Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag" from "Chicago"
"Umbrella" by Rihanna (feat. Jay-Z)/"Singin' in the Rain" from the musical


Here's Gwyneth Paltrow proving how cool she is with Cee Lo's "Forget You":


Holly Holiday and Rachel Berry take on a tune from "Chicago":


And for comparison's sake, the classic "Singin' in the Rain" performances...

Mr. Schuester and Mike Chang trying to "Make 'Em Laugh":


...vs. Donald O'Connor's performance in "Singin' in the Rain":


Will Schuester, Holly Holiday and the glee club mashes up "Umbrella" and "Singin' in the Rain":



....vs. Gene Kelly in the actual musical:

By Lisa de Moraes  | November 16, 2010; 11:06 PM ET
Categories:  Glee  
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Next: 'Dancing with the Stars' recap: Brandy sent packing, Bristol survives to finale

Comments

Am glad to see Paltrow getting some air time. She is doing a great job of both acting and singing.

Posted by: mbrumble | November 17, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

OK even my daughter who luvs Glee agreed Paltrow was TERRIBLE!!! I regretted watching this episode but my baby begged me to give it a try. The girl who sounds like Adina Mendel can BLOW!!!!! My daughter said the cast ususally does most of the performing but Paltrow is PRETENDING to sing to pimp her movie! hahahaha PLZ don't insult Renee Zellwegger and the other actress who did EXCELLENT in Chicago!!!

Posted by: MDlady2 | November 17, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Hater...Gwyneth was awesome.

Posted by: JessL212 | November 17, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Really MDlady, terrible? Considering she's an actress first and not known for singing or dancing, Gwyneth WAS awesome.

Posted by: koala70 | November 17, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Awesome may be a bit strong. Paltrow was, however, surprisingly good.

Posted by: Lefty_ | November 17, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed Paltrow on Glee! I didn't enjoy Will's ex or "Make 'Em Laugh" - ugh to both. Loved "Forget You" and the mashup at the end!

Posted by: MILWI | November 17, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

This is such a terrible review; you're mocking the show but you're taking it out of context. The ENTIRE SERIES is over-the-top and that's why people watch it. Well, that and the singing. And, I generally think Gwyneth is pretty blah but she did a solid job singing. Everyone's a critic and you are a hater.

Posted by: jsbac45 | November 17, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I'll be honest -- Glee was one of the few tv shows I would watch live (TiVO spoils you), but this season has left me disappointed. They haven't included a true storyline, it's like they pick the songs they want to cover and then write an episode around it...and it's becoming very obvious now. I have 3 episodes waiting for me...and I'm really not too pressed to watch them. Something tells me that I'll be reading this column until some real story-lines start sneaking into the show.

Posted by: townhousekids | November 17, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

you forgot to mention the best part of the episode: the brief snippet of "Conjunction Junction"!

Posted by: mikejacobs99 | November 17, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing the prejudices we bring to things, isn't it? I thought that Gwyneth did a surprisingly great job, especially for someone not generally known for her singing and dancing ability. I agree with mikejacobs99 that the snippet of "Conjunction Junction" was my favorite part! The story line was non-existent and the Chicago number was completely out of place for a teacher who kept stating that she wanted to let the kids sing current songs-- the "current" version of Chicago has been around since 1996, which is based on the 1975 musical, which is based on a 1920's play! Surely GOOP and Edina Lite could have come up with something a little more current ("Wicked" anyone?).

Posted by: inkydog | November 17, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

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