Asking someone to pinpoint their favourite song Glee has covered is kind of like Sophies Choice. As a whole, the cast of Glee has cumulatively covered 500 songs. Of those 500 songs, the fierce Naya Rivera has covered a little more than ‘a handful.’ As Santana, Rivera has belted out the tunes of greats like Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Alicia Keys, and Amy Winehouse.
Naya Rivera’s voice was first heard on Glee’s cover of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” but since then, she has gone on to cover many other songs by different artists from different genres. Hell, she even sang an emotionally charged version of Taylor swifts “Mine.” Did you cry? We sure did. Even non-Britanna fans can’t deny the passion and emotion she put into the song. It was definitely a tear-jerker.
Naya’s voice is sultry when necessary, and a power house when need be. Her vocals can seduce you like in “Cold-hearted,” it can make you want to dance like “Nutbush City Limits,” or can make you want to belt with her like in “Girl on Fire.” Sometimes, Naya’s voice just makes your jaw drop. You can’t deny your jaw did not hit the floor after her and Amber Riley tore it up with that Adele mash up of “Someone Like You/ Rumour Has it.”
Over Glee’s four seasons, we have heard Naya own so many iconic numbers, and even songs we have never heard before. Thanks to Naya, I now love “Songbird” and “Coldhearted.” We at PopWrapped have decided to compile a list of our 5 favourite songs Naya Rivera has taken on and killed on Glee over the past four seasons. We even made a count down, just for the list to be climactic. You are welcome.
5) Girl On Fire
Not only was Rivera’s take on this tune enthralling, but also the way it was weaved into the story was brilliant. First the “Girl on Fire” is Brittany, as Santana sings about having to let her go. Then, all of the sudden, the “Girl on Fire” is Santana. She belts out the song with incredible energy as she climbs up the steps of the subway, and then up the stairs to a mysterious door. By this point we were all just screaming internally, “OH MY GOD SHE WENT TO NEW YORK OH MY GOD SHE IS CRASHING WITH KURT AND RACHEL OH MY GOD OH MY GOD.” So eloquent, really. Regardless, it was one of Rivera’s finest musical moments.
It is shocking Glee took four seasons to cover Taylor Swift, but when they finally did, they didn’t disappoint. Who would have known a T-Swift song would create the emotional intensity needed for Britanna’s break up? The number was tender and loving enough to be relevant to the story, and Rivera’s tears made the whole scene seem all too real. It takes true talent to convey emotion, and really perform while singing. When watching this performance, you believe it is a very private moment between Santana and Brittany. Rivera made the Swift song soulful, emotional, and sang the hell out of it.
3) Nutbush City Limits
Rivera proved she could own any Tina Turner song when her and Amber Riley took on “River Deep Mountain High,” and brought down the choir room. It was for Sanatana’s big return to Glee last season that Rivera, clad in a new cheerleader uniform, showed the Glee club how the veterans do it. With the help of her Kentucky cheerleading classmates, Santana sang, shook, shimmied, and showed the Glee club who’s boss. Rivera performed the song with an incredible energy that had audience tapping their toes, and resisting the urge to get up and dance with them. This was one of those show stopping numbers, and it was the perfect one to kick off Santana’s season 4 plot line.
Ah, Santana’s first credited solo. We were all taken aback way back when, when Mr. Schue opted to give the rest of the new directions a chance to get the spotlight. Boy was that a good chance, because Santana was fierce belting out “Valerie.” Rivera has covered two Amy Winehouse songs on Glee, and that is for good reason. Rivera has the perfect voice to represent the late musicians soul, attitude, and energy. She hopped around the regionals stage like she owned herself, and Rivera recreated the energy when performing the number at Glee Live. “Valerie” will probably go down as not only one of Rivera’s greatest numbers, but also as one of Glee’s greatest performances. Not to mention her and Darren Criss did a great live cover of the tune as well at one of Criss’ concerts.
"Mine" marks the end (for now) of Britanna and "Songbird" in the “Rumours” episode marks the beginning of their journey. While she addresses her feelings for Brittany with "Landslide", she finally accepts and acknowledges them with this number. With "Songbird," Santana confesses her true feelings for Brittany. Fleetwood Mac, the original creators of the song, has more of a country sound to them, but Rivera takes a more soulful, balladic approach to the song. Again, Rivera proves her ability to draw emotion from an audience. Her rendition of the classic song will give you goose bumps, with its intensity and purity. This was Rivera’s first chance to seriously act while singing, and she succeeded far beyond her wildest dreams as her characters relationship with Brittany and her coming into herself impacted so many.