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Glee: 10 Musicians Who Loved The Covers Of Their Songs

Lea Michele will debut as Fanny Brice on the Broadway revival of Funny Girl starting September 6th. The actress already sang many of the musical’s best-known hits on Glee, attracting acclaim from fans and critics, and even Barbra Streisand herself. Streisand praised Michele’s renditions of Funny Girl’s most emblematic songs, calling her “so gifted.” Like Streisand, many other singers loved and praised Glee’s updated covers of some of their best-known hits. From Kary Perry to Cee Lo Green, these musical icons loved receiving the Glee treatment back when the show was on top of the world.

10 Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand as Katie Morsky posing for a photo
Rachel Berry is a well-known fan of Barbra Streisand. The character adored Streisand, signing many of her most iconic songs throughout the show’s six seasons, including “My Man,” “Being Good Isn’t Good Enough,” and multiple numbers from Funny Girl. In 2011, Streisand replied, “never say never,” when asked if she’d ever appear in Glee. She went on to praise Michele and fellow co-stars Darren Criss and Matthew Morrison, who also covered some of her songs on the show, calling them “so gifted,” as reported by Today. Considering Streisand is notoriously dry in her praises, these three should count themselves lucky.

9 Katy Perry
Katy Perry performing at Superbowl Halftime Show.
“Teenage Dream” is one of Glee’s most streamed songs of all time. It’s also arguably the best cover the show ever did, injecting an already great song with a healthy dose of old-school charm. The song served as the introduction of Blaine Anderson, played by Darren Criss, who became an instant fan favorite. As it turns out, it wasn’t only fans who loved Criss’ cover. The original singer, Katy Perry, tweeted her reaction after the number first aired. In later interviews, she called his version “amazing,” praising the show’s changes and saying she “welcomed a creative mind to anything” (via Access).

8 Cee Lo Green
CeeLo Green sitting in his chair on The Voice, holding a white cat.
Academy Award winner Gwyneth Paltrow made her Glee debut in season 2 and returned twice again to play cool substitute teacher Holly Holiday. Paltrow had the privilege of taking the lead in one of Glee’s all-time best covers, singing Cee Lo Green’s hit “Forget You.” The song performed great on the charts and received a positive reception from critics and audiences, including Green himself. The singer, songwriter, and producer praised Paltrow’s vocal ability and claimed she “sounded better than [him]” (per Digital Spy). Green and Paltrow even performed together at the 2011 Grammys, along with some very colorful muppets.

7 Britney Spears
Britney Spears and Heather Morris in Glee
The Princess of Pop lobbied hard to have her own tribute episode on Glee, and she got it! Spears first brought up the subject on Twitter before the episode became official. She filmed a small cameo for the episode, which involved the cast recreating some of her most iconic videos. Spears then live-tweeted the episode, particularly praising the show’s cover of “Toxic.” “Britney/Brittany” is not one of the best episodes in Glee’s second season, but it does feature some wonderful covers and showcases Heather Morris’ incredible dancing skills. Britney received another tribute episode in season 4, but the less said about “Britney 2.0,” the better.

6 Demi Lovato
Dani and Santana smiling at each other in Glee.
Demi Lovato was a fan of Glee, to the point where they even appeared in a recurring role ins season 5. Before they made their debut, the show made a rendition of their hit single “Give Your Heart a Break,” performed as a duet between Rachel and heart then suitor, Brody. Flattered by having her song on the show, Lovato tweeted at Lea Michele. The singer thanked Michele for the cover, telling her she “was amazing.” Lovato eventually got to sing alongside Michele during their stint on Glee, with the two doing a cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar” alongside Adam Lambert and other cast members.

5 Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson smiling while on her chair in The Voice.
Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson had two of her songs covered in Glee – “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” is not strictly her song but is closely associated with her. Amber Riley sang lead in both songs, displaying her impressive vocal chops and impressing Hudson. The now EGOT winner was also a fan of the show, going so far as to declare she would love to have a guest stint on the show. Hudson said Glee was “such an amazing show” and expressed her hopes at the possibility of appearing (per Digital Spy). Alas, the cameo never materialized.

4 fun.
Members of the band fun in tuxes and looking at the camera.
Season 3 featured the anthemic “We Are Young” as a group number between the newly united New Directions and Troubletones. The song became one of the most popular of the season and remains closely associated with the height of the show’s popularity today. The original singers, fun., loved the show’s version. Lead singer Nate Ruess called Glee “such a progressive show” and expressed his satisfaction with its treatment of his hit song (via Entertainment Weekly). Glee would cover another fun song in season 4, “Some Nights,” as another group number.

3 Madonna
Eva Peron singing in front of a microphone In Evita
The Material Girl was the first major artist to allow Glee the rights to her entire music catalog, thus opening the door for the show’s first-ever tribute. “The Power of Madonna” featured covers of nine songs, including one of the best mas-ups in Glee history, and showcased Madonna’s public image as a staunch feminist and trailblazer.

Following “The Power of Madonna,” the Queen of Pop praised the episode, calling it “brilliant” (per Us Weekly). Madonna particularly praised the performances of “What It Feels Like For A Girl,” “Express Yourself,” and “Vogue,” and stated her daughter Lourdes was also a fan.

2 Lady Gaga
The Countess with vampire kids behind her in American Horror Story: Hotel.
Mother Monster was one of the first artists Glee fully embraced, which makes sense considering they both rose to prominence simultaneously. While Gaga never received a proper tribute, season 1’s “Theatricality” comes close, featuring a memorable staging of “Bad Romance” and an even more memorable, slowed-down version of “Poker Face,” sung by Michele and Idina Menzel.

Gaga was always supportive of and enthusiastic about Glee. Shortly before the original airing of “Theatricality,” Gaga expressed her excitement at her songs on the show, stating she loved “the cast and the creativity of the writers” (per Entertainment Weekly). Gaga revealed she went to musical school and used to “dream that someday the students would be signing my songs.”

1 Journey
The band Journey posing together.
Glee became an instant success thanks to their version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which they covered in the Pilot episode. The song became an anthem for the show and its loyal fans — the famous Gleeks –, and Glee covered it three more times throughout its six seasons.

In 2013, Journey’s bassist Ross Valory stated that the band was grateful for the exposure provided by Glee and HBO’s The Sopranos. “We’re finding young school kids singing these songs, and they weren’t raised with them,” said Valory, acknowledging that the band’s popularity was generational, “passed down from parents to kids” (via The Hollywood Reporter).

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