Only in its first season, and Glee has already put out two albums and one quasi-album (for “The Power of Madonna”). So if tomorrow is episode nineteen, that must mean ... it's time for Glee: The Music, Volume 3: Showstoppers! And it's about time! Hitting stores tomorrow and covering the show's numbers through the end of the year, it features several yet-to-be-aired tunes which offer concrete clues about future plot. So, in the spirit of Glee, we embraced fantasy, analyzing the most tantalizing of the new tracks for what they might foreshadow (we left out Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Morrison’s duet on “Dream On,” as we generally know from previews what to expect). Below, our thoughts on the plot turns five songs on Volume 3 may reveal, from the realistic to the ridiculous.
The Big Reveal: “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miz
This has got to be the big Shelby Is Her Mom reveal. As Rachel’s Life-Changing Number, we’re sure this one will take place (a) in a dark, empty theater, post-Vocal-Adrenaline rehearsal, and (b) there will be much swirling camerawork, circling Lea Michele and Idina Menzel’s heads, and we will feel dizzy. This will be the Glee equivalent of “Confrontation” (also from Les Miz): a moment of truth, crazy melodramatic-duet style. For what other reason could Rachel be singing “And still I dreamed she’d come to me/That we might spend the years together”?
The Character Resurrection: “Loser”
The liner notes tell us the lead vocals on this Beck cover come from Puck, Finn, and three long-absent characters: Sandy (yes, we know he had a brief cameo in “Run, Joey, Run”), dim-witted Howard
the janitor, and, drum roll please, Terri! She’s not gone for good! So how do all five arrive at the same “I’m a loser, baby” state of affairs? We’re betting that at some point, Quinn moves back in with her parents, shunning both Puck and Finn; Sandy’s been out of the picture too long to be feeling all that swell; and Howard and Terri work together at the Linens-n-Things–esque emporium, which, well, speaks for itself. We assume the number will comprise a multi-scene montage, but it’s more fun to imagine Sandy’s secret stash of pot having something to do with it. A group smoke session on the football field after-hours, with this motley crew, would be true entertainment.
The Sensitive Dudes Unite?: “Beth”
Though we’ve usually thought of this one as the odd, ultracheesy ballad in Kiss’s catalogue, this rendition is surprisingly touching, and it’s sung by Finn and Puck, which leads us to think it indicates some development with Quinn. In our fantasy world, right before Quinn’s about to give birth, her name is revealed to actually be Beth (didn’t Quinn Fabray kinda sound a little stage name–y?), and her two guys break out into confused, sad song in a fuzzy childbirth montage. Either that, or the baby’s name is Beth (it’s already leaked that it’s a girl), and Puck and Finn both want to be daddy but schoolwork is getting in the way. But doesn’t a fake name sound like more fun?
The Mysterious Plot Twist?: “Poker Face”
The second Lea Michele–Idina Menzel duet on the album, done in an oddly bare-bones, cabaret-style arrangement (which makes that “bluffin’ with my muffin” line all the more wonderfully conspicuous). We’d like to think that Jesse actually is as scheming as he looks, but maybe not in an evil way — perhaps he started dating Rachel knowing that Shelby is her mom, as a move to help bring them together? It’s all very piano bar: We imagine an open-mike night at the bar Lima just happens to have, and Jesse leads Rachel there, knowing the girl can’t resist the opportunity to steal someone else’s spotlight and therefore she'll jump into a duet with her (secret) mom. Or maybe it’s not a conventional duet, and merely the prelude to Rachel and Shelby’s first meeting, in which each privately agrees to withhold emotion. Drama either way!
The Long-Awaited Solo: “Bad Romance”
Spoiler alert: It’s the Tina solo we’ve wanted for what seems like forever! Though other soloists are involved — notably Chris Colfer, who sings the intro and leads the recurring chorus (hearing him yell “Cuz I’m a freak, baby!” is utterly fabulous); Amber Riley, sounding great as usual; and Naya Rivera and Dianna Agron, whom we have trouble distinguishing between — this is really all about Jenna Ushkowitz finally getting the chance to show off her pipes. So why Tina? We presume further complications in the Tina-Artie coupling must be ahead, but all these ladies and, well, Kurt, have been romantically wronged this season. We’d like to think that after a charming pre-regionals bonding session, Kurt decides the only cure for continual heartbreak is epic Gaga, spurring a magnificent fantasy number. In our mind, that number would be “Big Spender”–esque: the boys as spectators, the ladies rocking it dominatrix style.