It's time for Regionals! Sue declares World War Sue on Will and the Glee Club, and uses her nefarious wiles to prevent them from singing the song they planned to use in competition. Rachel raises her idea of singing original songs. The other kids are quick to dismiss the notion, until Quinn, angling to insert herself between Finn and Rachel, speaks up in support and convinces everyone else to go along. Their original efforts are a combination of horribly awesome and awesomely horrible, and earned this episode its grade. But Will steers the kids in the right direction, and they pen a not-horrible anthem celebrating their loserhood. Rachel, meanwhile, stung by the realization that Finn and Quinn are dating, writes a typically whiny diva solo number, which she proceeds to knock out of the park in competition.
While all of that is happening at McKinley, the Swallows are also planning their songs for Regionals. The original intent, as usual, is to have Blaine sing lead on a couple of current pop songs while they stand around behind him and make their doo-wop noises. But then the team's mascot (Pavarotti the canary) dies, and Kurt's heartfelt musical tribute to the chirpy little guy makes Blaine realize that he's been an idiot by not going after our fashionable little cutie all this time, so he convinces the rest of the Swallows to let him and Kurt sing a duet at Regionals. And while the performance is great, he admits to Kurt that he really proposed the duet so the two of them could spend time together. And then they get their mack on, yes they do.
Sue, meanwhile, has planned a set for Aural Intensity that is tailor-made for this particular panel of judges -- a Tea Party, not-a-witch politician (played by Kathy Griffin), a stripper-turned-nun (played by Loretta Devine), and (as always), Rod the Anchorman. But Sue doesn't count on our stripper-turned-nun being more of a stripper and less of a nun, so her pandering set-list doesn't win the day, leaving the way open for New Directions to win! So it's off to Nationals they go.
Featuring the original songs "Loser Like Me," performed by New Directions, "Do It Right," performed by Rachel, and "Hell to the No," a stunningly infectious and hilarious song performed by Mercedes. And also featuring some unoriginal songs: Maroon 5's "Misery" and Pink's "Raise Your Glass," performed by Blaine and the Swallows, Hey Monday's "Candles," performed by Kurt and Blaine, and the Beatles' "Blackbird," performed by Kurt. And, best of all, Rachel's "Only Child," Santana's "Trouty Mouth," and Puck's "Big-Ass Heart." Suck it, Diane Warren.
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The episode opens on a bunch of bored Swallows, studying in the Dalton Academy Wood-Paneled Multi-Purpose Room. Suddenly, Blaine bursts through the doors, throws two handfuls of paper into the air, and starts singing Maroon 5's "Misery." They all start singing along, except for Kurt, who looks to be completely over this place. The party eventually moves out into some corridor/foyer type space, with Blaine dragging Kurt along for the ride -- a move that just accentuates how short Blaine is. Eventually, Kurt gets off his throne and joins in the dancing and singing in a totally half-assed way. As the song finishes, Blaine announces that this will be their opening number for Regionals. As the crowd breaks up, Blaine reminds the audience that Kurt, as the newest Swallow, is responsible for caring for the team's mascot, Pavarotti the canary, by praising the Burberry-esque cage cozy that Kurt found for the bird. He also asks Kurt what he thought of the song. Kurt, after asking for permission to drop an honesty bomb, tells him that as good as Blaine is, he's getting tired of singing backup for Blaine in every single song. Judging by the look on Blaine's face, that honesty bomb was more of an ego-seeking cruise missile. Title card.
McKinley Non-Academy music room. Rachel leads Finn into the room, telling him that she took all of his notes about "My Headband," and that for her second song she really dove deep into the source of her pain. And then, with Tinkles accompanying her, she sings a song about how awful it is that she'll never need bunk beds and that she's the only Berry on her family tree. After repeating the line "only child" about a million times, she finishes the song and tells Finn, "It's called 'Only Child.'" Finn demonstrates his absolute bad taste by telling her it's better than "My Headband," and then tells her that it still feels like she's just playing around, and that she still needs to get to the really difficult kind of pain in order to write a good song. As the two of them debate, we see them from a distance. Which is when we realize that Quinn is watching them from the doorway.
And now the camera will start to follow Quinn around, as she gives us a voice-over: "Sometimes I worry about Finn. I mean, how damaged does a guy have to be to be into someone as annoying as Rachel? Still, he is a good guy, and I do really like him. He's my first love, and first loves are forever. And another thing -- without him, I'm never gonna get one of these." And with that, the camera cuts to her opening a display case holding a massive collection of tiaras on velvet pillows. Either those are all the crowns her mother has ever won, or Quinn has flown off and broken into the Tower of London. Quinn's V.O. notes how stupid it is for her to want to be prom queen: "You're smart, and super pretty, and relatively sane for a girl." But damn it, she does care about becoming prom queen. "Prom queens live, on average, five years longer than regular people." But to win, she needs to have Finn on her arm, since he's a shoo-in to win prom king after bringing home the football championship. Which means she needs to ensure that Finn doesn't go back to dating Rachel. As we cut back to her staring at Finn and Rachel in the music room, she tells us that she's decided to play it cool by keeping Rachel, her enemy, closer than her friends.