We are celebrating Glee’s tenth anniversary on FanFest this week and what better way to do so than with a Darren Criss appreciation post?! From the minute Criss entered the scene on Glee, the show seemingly shifted and for the better. His character brought so much to the story, especially Kurt Hummel’s, and his talent radiated through nearly every number. So, without further ado, here are 5 songs that we always felt Criss sang better than the original!
1. “Teenage Dream”
Original Artist: Katy Perry
Episode: 2×06 – “Never Been Kissed”
Blaine’s first song on Glee really set the scene for Darren Criss’ vocal chops. The character of Kurt’s love interest had been a long-awaited arrival and when Blaine finally showed up he completely nailed his first number and we only wanted to hear him sing more. It was the Glee audience’s first introduction into the acapella world and The Warblers really added a little something extra to Katy Perry’s pop hit. Not only was the performance well received on the screen, but it also became Glee’s second #1 single on the Billboard Digital Songs Chart, which was huge for the show.
2. “Somewhere Only We Know”
Original Artist: Keane
Episode: 2×18 – “Born This Way”
I’m sure this will probably upset a lot of alternative rock fans, but Darren definitely sang “Somewhere Only We Know” better than Keane. I can guarantee that the number of people who actually knew of this Keane song before it was on Glee was very minimal, and that’s just one of the reasons why it’s on the list. Glee often sang songs that weren’t very mainstream or popular, but oftentimes Darren’s covers of these types of songs were equally captivating and enjoyable and made you say, “what song was that?”. Criss always sounded great when he was backed by The Warblers, but there was something about his voice here that was stronger, making the words feel more powerful than they do in the original.
3. “Raise Your Glass”
Original Artist: P!nk
Episode: 2×16 – “Original Song”
There are very few people that I would personally admit covered a P!nk song better than P!nk, but that’s only because I’m a huge fan of hers, however, The Warbler’s performance of “Raise Your Glass” sung by Darren Criss definitely stands on its own. Maybe it’s because his voice is a little softer than hers and the backup of The Warblers, yet again, makes this song shine a little bit brighter.
4. “Cough Syrup”
Original Artist: Young the Giant
Episode: 3×14 – “On My Way”
In my opinion, this was by and far the most powerful and meaningful song that Blaine sang on the show, which, of course, is aided by what’s actually going on throughout the number. The secret about McKinley High’s resident bully Dave Karofski being gay had come out, which lead him to a suicide attempt and for such a heavy scene there was no other option than to have Darren sing. Much like with “Somewhere Only We Know” he had a way of taking a song that you may not have ever listened to on your own before and making it a staple in your music library. You can tell Darren knew that he had to bring it because his passion, energy, and emotion during the performance are all top notch.
5. “It’s Time”
Original Artist: Imagine Dragons
Episode: 4×01 – “The New Rachel”
The Imagine Dragons are awesome and their recording of “It’s Time” is that as well. However, Darren’s cover has a little bit more life and fun to it. He sings it a little bit higher and isn’t drowned out by the instruments as much as the Imagine Dragons version is. Not to mention the whole performance from the show was just an all-around good time. Honestly, Darren just sings it better.
What’s your favorite Darren Criss number?