Nationals. In the lobby, Rachel drops the exposition bomb that there are fifty choirs there, and that ten will move on from the first round to compete in the finals. And everyone is super-optimistic that New Directions can win the entire thing. Which is the sure kiss of death. Especially since they just wrote their songs and don't appear to have had time to actually rehearse. But I guess miracles can happen.
Cut to some no-name all-girl choir singing Usher's Yeah. And they are great. I especially like the incongruity between their chiffony white dresses and their hip hop dance moves. Anyway, halfway through the performance, Will sees Dustin leaving the theater, and he gets up and follows him. He's mad because Dustin tried to sabotage New Directions by sapping their confidence. Dustin is at the t-shirt vendor, buying t-shirts for his kids to sign and send to all the teams they beat. Will tells him not to waste money on a shirt for McKinley, since he's quite confident New Directions will kick Vocal Adrenaline's ass. Dustin responds by calling Will a bag of meat. In return, Will buys a t-shirt to send to Dustin. Yawn.
Women's restroom. Rachel enters and finds an incredibly puffy-faced Sunshine Corazon throwing up. Rachel accuses her of bulimia, but she's actual vomiting from nerves. It seems that a year in the iron grip of Dustin Goolsby has destroyed her love of singing. And apparently caused her face to gain ten pounds. Anyway, the point of this scene is that Sunshine is still mad at Rachel for sending her to a crack house, and Rachel apologizes and tells her she did it because she (Rachel) was jealous of Sunshine's talent. And she talks Sunshine out of fleeing back to the Philippines before taking the stage. Hurray for redemption!
And then Sunshine and Vocal Adrenaline perform an original song, "As Long As You're There." And it's mostly a solo with some backup dancers. Not that exciting. Commercials.
It's just about time for New Directions to perform. Rachel and Finn are waiting backstage, at opposite ends of the stage. As per usual, Finn walks over to Rachel. But this time she meets him halfway. She congratulates him on his awesome song. He just wants to ask her why she's suddenly gone from pining after him to rejecting him. She tells him she's not rejecting him -- she's just choosing her dream of a career in New York over him. Which kind of requires rejecting him. And then the announcer introduces the Nude Erections, and they walk out on stage and start singing "Pretending," another original song. It's purely a duet, and it's fine in that overly earnest sappy way. While they sing, Jesse St. James sits down next to Will in the audience. Jesse: "I couldn't stay away." Will: "From the show? Or from her?" And then at the end of the song, Rachel and Finn kiss. Which causes the entire audience to fall into a stunned silence, until Will vainly tries to get some applause started. But not before Jesse, shocked, asks will if the kiss was rehearsed. Since nothing is ever rehearsed, we already know the answer to that question. And then the rest of the kids start singing the upbeat original, "Light Up The World." Lots of fun, with Heather Morris's best vocal work to date. And Quinn does have a kicky new hair cut.