Let’s hear it for New York: Vulture can confirm that the first big musical number of Glee’s season-two premiere (airing September 21) will be built around the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys duet “Empire State of Mind.” The reason: Our heroes will be spending this season (or at least a semester) trying to get to Nationals, which are being held in the song-appropriate Big Apple. To underscore this upcoming arc, “Empire” is the centerpiece of the new season’s first footage-filled on-air promo, debuting right here on Vulture (watch it after the jump).
While the song doesn’t serve exactly the same defining role as last year’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” (which more summed up the mood and theme of the show, while “Empire” is more of a plot illustration), it may be a running touchstone for New Directions’ push for New York glory; Fox marketing president Joe Earley hints, “There’s a good chance we’ll be hearing the song again.” (Flash mobs, start working out some new choreography.)
In addition to the NYC reveal, there are some other spoilerish elements revealed in the spot. Among the nuggets:
— Finn admits he still has feelings for Quinn.
— Mrs. Shue’s return, in full-on Fatal Attraction mode.
— Mr. Shue’s game plan for year two: “We have to go from a small rebel force to a giant wall of sound,” he preaches. He also answers critics of Glee who might not have liked season one’s song choices: “They say we only sing show tunes and eighties pop. Let’s show them how down we are.” (Though a teacher’s use of the word “down” would seem to indicate: not very.)
— One Sue Sylvester zing. “Not everyone can be a champion. We need fry cooks and bus drivers,” she tells Will.
— The return of Hip-Hop Artie!
And here’s the promo …