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Friday, June 27, 2014

Six Glee Performances that Make Us Want to See Alex Newell at PrideFest

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 4:31 AM

Diamonds are Alex Newell's best friend. - YOUTUBE
  • YouTube
  • Diamonds are Alex Newell's best friend.

It's Pride weekend! With thousands of participants and endless entertainment, PrideFest in St. Louis is known nationally as one of the best, and we're anticipating that this year's affair around Soldiers Memorial will raise the bar even higher. Get the full schedule of activities for June 28 and 29 here.

The St. Louis region has much to celebrate during PrideFest 2014. Mayor Francis Slay married four gay couples to push marriage equality into Missouri's spotlight. The city's first queer talk show, "The Gayborhood," debuted on KXFN 1380 AM. The Rams drafted Michael Sam, making him the first openly gay player in the NFL (He's apparently a great DJ, too.) Our neighbors in Illinois can enjoy same-sex marriage. There have been obstacles, certainly, but it's exciting to see the rainbow flag being flown loud and proud around here.

See also: A Rainbow of Songs in Celebration of PrideFest

So when Pride headliner and Glee actor Alex Newell takes the stage Saturday at 8:50 p.m., we'll be hand-jiving right along with him. As "Wade/Unique" on Glee, Newell has pushed transgender issues into mainstream TV's spotlight. We love Unique's character progression, but the real reason we watch Glee, of course, is for the musical numbers. So to prepare for PrideFest, we've rounded up six of Newell's best Glee songs that give us the hippy, hippy shakes.


Unique sings this classic by the Who during the season three episode "Nationals," which, true enough, focuses on the championship round of a national show-choir competition. Performing for Vocal Adrenaline, the rival team to the Glee kids' New Directions, Unique dances on and around pinball machines while giving Roger Daltrey a run for his pounds sterling. Confession: Everything in this performance happens in our mind regularly. Don't be jealous.


In the episode "The End of Twerk," which is both the greatest and saddest episode title in the history of television, Unique struggles with finding her place in high school as a transgender student. Kicked out of the women's restroom and bullied in the men's restroom, Unique's heartbreak is evident as she sings the Beyonce number. She eventually obtains access to the faculty's unisex toilet chamber, but only after choir director Will Schuester gives into cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester's demands to nix a twerk number. For the record, it's OK to roll your eyes at Will.


Mash-ups are huge on Glee, and Unique and her friend Marley are two of the best at the art throughout the seasons. In the episode "Girls (And Boys) on Film," the friends lead the other ladies in a fun, bright homage to both Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. Best reaction: Artie pantomiming cat claws while admiring the girls. Awkward moment: Unique saying "Let's make love" to a bunch of leering high school guys and a recent graduate pretending to be a choir director.

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