Top 20 Most Unforgettable Glee Moments

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Carly Comtois and Nathan Sharp
These unforgettable "Glee" moments saw the New Directions through the highs and lows. Our countdown includes Rachel's departure, Santana's confession, Nationals victory, and more!

Top 20 Unforgettable Glee Moments

Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Most Unforgettable Glee Moments.

For this list, we’ve chosen memorable moments from this musical comedy series’ six seasons. In case you STILL haven’t seen the whole show, a SPOILER ALERT is now in effect.

Which moment stuck with you over the years? Let us know in the comments!

#20: “Me Against the Music” (& Britney Spears!)

When “Glee” returned for season two, the second episode, “Britney/Brittany”, encapsulated everything that made the second season so joyous and enjoyable to watch. The entire “Me Against the Music” sequence is beautifully filmed and edited, and it serves to showcase Heather Morris’ incredible talent as a dancer. Oh, and did we forget to mention that Britney Spears herself shows up? Her cameo caps an already-mesmerizing musical number and sets a high precedent for the rest of the season and for more high profile guest stars to come. Britney will always be one of our favorites though!

#19: Burt Hummel’s Heart Attack
“Grilled Cheesus”

After Finn sees what looks like Jesus in the grill marks of his grilled cheese, he turns the Glee club to religion. At the same time, Kurt’s father Burt suffers a devastating heart attack and is placed in the hospital. Burt’s heart attack is of course horribly sad, and it makes for some beautiful scenes involving Kurt. That bedside talk regarding an undercooked chicken is particularly touching. But his heart attack also helps lead to some welcome character development for both Kurt and Sue, whose beliefs are directly tied to her sister’s Down syndrome. Isn’t it just like “Glee” to glean themes of faith and religion from a grilled cheese sandwich?

#18: Rachel’s Departure

As season three draws to a close, we find out Rachel is the only member of Glee club to get accepted into a school in New York. While she insists on waiting a year so that Kurt and Finn can re-apply, Finn has different plans. Instead of going through with their wedding, he drives her to the train station. He tells her in order for her to go after her dreams, Finn has to set Rachel free. If that wasn’t already a lot to process, Finn tells her he’s joining the army! Although this was a gut-wrenching scene, at least Rachel gets a proper farewell; surrounded by the voices and people she loved so much.

#17: Coach Beiste Leaves Cooter Menkins

Coach Beiste initially served as a bit of a joke character, especially in “Never Been Kissed” when the kids used her to cool off during make-out sessions. But over time, we saw that she was a complex and troubled woman stuck in an abusive relationship, and that despite her tough exterior, she was secretly pained and vulnerable. Despite being so imprisoned that she gives Cooter a second chance, she finally leaves him in a triumphant moment of self-love and respect in season three’s “Props”. And while a lesser show may have made her departure cheesy and cartoonishly uplifting, here it’s portrayed as painful and difficult. She loves her husband, but she loves herself even more - which is demonstrated by her later coming out as transgender and her eventually taking the steps to transition to a male and becoming Sheldon.

#16: The Double Wedding
“A Wedding”

After six seasons of toying with our emotions, these two on-again off-again couples finally tied the knot in one of “Glee”’s final episodes. Fans rejoiced when Blaine proposed to Kurt back in season five, but were devastated when their engagement was cut short. When Santana and Brittany reveal their master plan to have their friends get married alongside them at their own wedding, viewers were screaming, “Do it!” So not only did we get the “Brittana” wedding of our dreams; we also got the double wedding we didn’t even know we needed, and we couldn’t have been more satisfied.

#15: Shelby Is Rachel’s Mother

When Broadway legend Idina Menzel first guest-starred on the show as head of the rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline, viewers noted how much she and Rachel looked alike. It didn’t take long for it to be revealed to us that she was indeed playing Rachel’s on-screen birth mother – though it’s hard to believe the actresses aren’t related in real life! It took longer still for Rachel to find out that Shelby was her mother. Unfortunately, Rachel doesn’t get the fairytale ending she hopes for since Shelby doesn’t want that kind of relationship with her. But at least we get to hear them sing together.

#14: Will & Emma Get Married
“All or Nothing”

While “Glee” mostly centers around the love lives of the kids in glee club, one of the cutest romances on the show is that of co-workers Will and Emma. After overcoming bad marriages, relationships with other people, and even one failed attempt at a big church wedding, it all comes down to this simple moment. Without a huge and fancy ceremony to scare her, Emma’s finally able to exchange vows with the man she loves, and recalls how she loved him from the “gooey” start. Surrounded by the glee club in the choir room, these two finally – and quickly – skip to the part we’d all been waiting for.

#13: Finn Proposes to Rachel

There are so many couples on this show we eventually lost track, but we always kept our eyes on “Finchel.” These two always had feelings for each other, even when they were dating other people. After Will proposes to Emma, Finn decides he wants to spend his life with Rachel, and decides to pop the question himself. On the auditorium stage where their romance first blossomed, Finn talks about how much of an inspiration Rachel has been to him. Without any grandiose gestures, he gives a heartfelt and genuine speech. Finally, he takes out the ring and asks a surprised Rachel to marry him.

#12: The Prom Meltdowns
“Prom Queen”

On his prom night, Kurt is the victim of a cruel prank and is announced as Prom Queen. It wouldn’t be “Glee” without even more drama though, and we see Finn fight Rachel’s prom date, Jesse; Brittany consoles an upset Santana; and Rachel was blamed for Quinn losing the title of Queen. This episode in particular tackles tough subjects like homophobia, and shows Kurt for the strong character he is when he comes back to accept his crown. Unfortunately, Prom King Karofsky isn’t ready to show who he truly is, and refuses to dance with Kurt. Fortunately, however, this disastrous prom does have its heartfelt moments, and the next year’s prom goes much better when Santana and Quinn rig the votes so Rachel and Finn win prom queen and king.

#11: Quinn Is Pregnant

Season one introduced us to the squeaky-clean Quinn Fabray, head cheerleader, president of the Celibacy Club and girlfriend to jock Finn Hudson. So it came as a shock to viewers – and especially Finn – when Quinn got pregnant. Finn, a sweetheart but not always the brightest, accepted that he was the father and even sang to the unborn child, even though he and Quinn never had sex. Meanwhile, the baby’s actual father, Puck, proved he was ready for fatherhood. Both boys’ songs dedicated to the unborn child melted viewers’ hearts. Ultimately, the baby would find a home instead with Rachel’s birth mother Shelby, but needless to say, the entire experience made Quinn grow into a strong woman, despite everything thrown at her.

#10: Dave Karofsky’s Breaking Point
“On My Way”

“Glee” is not the type of show to resort to one-dimensional characters. In the first season, Karofsky was portrayed as little more than a bumbling idiot. Yet the writers expanded his character, and by the third season, his mental health has deteriorated to a critical point. Dramatically paired with Blaine singing Young the Giant’s “Cough Syrup”, a haunting song about burying pain and feeling numb, Dave shockingly makes an attempt on his own life. While many point to “Teenage Dream” as Blaine’s defining moment, one could certainly make a case for this stirring scene. It’s a nicely edited and scored sequence that adds complexity to a one-note villain, while Darren Criss sings his heart out.

#9: Santana’s Confession

While Finn and Rachel’s relationship was a focal point of the series, audiences also had their eyes peeled for this couple. In season two, Santana becomes tired of the ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement she has with Brittany, and she can’t keep her feelings inside any longer. The two confess their love for one another, but Brittany can’t commit to anything since she loves Artie too. Santana, on the other hand, is concerned about her reputation, as she previously struggled with her sexuality and is afraid of how she’ll be perceived. Luckily, despite the boundaries keeping them apart, this romance was far from over.

#8: “Seasons of Love”
“The Quarterback”

As fun as the bombastic musical numbers like “Me Against the Music” are, nothing beats a touching song from the heart. Such is the case with “The Quarterback’s” “Seasons of Love” from “Rent”. While “Make You Feel My Love” is obviously a huge moment in the series, we must also mention this beautiful sequence, which saw the New Directions saying goodbye to Finn. Our hearts broke as we watched Santana break down into tears over her lost friend. A beautiful send-off for actor Cory Monteith from both old and new cast members, this song sets the melancholic tone for the rest of the episode. Like a funeral, it’s both sweet and tragic in equal measure.

#7: Burt & Carole Get Married

As much as this episode is about Burt and Carole’s wedding – and trust us, we love Burt and Carole – it’s just as much about the union of Finn and Kurt as stepbrothers. The two glee club members didn’t hit it off at first because Kurt had a huge crush on Finn and Finn felt awkward around him, which became especially apparent when they moved in together and Finn insulted Kurt’s... extravagant decor. But during their parents’ wedding, when Finn sings to Kurt, it becomes clear that they now love each other like real brothers, and want nothing more than to be one big happy family, making the day even more special for Burt and Carole.

#6: Quinn Fabray’s Car Crash
“On My Way”

“On My Way” is quite a difficult episode to watch. It ends abruptly, and on an ambiguous and terrifying note when Quinn is involved in a horrible car accident. Wanting to know where her bridesmaid is, Rachel texts Quinn and inadvertently dooms her to paralysis, as Quinn gets distracted by the text and runs a stop sign. It’s a chilling note to end the episode on, especially considering the ominous “to be continued” that flashes across the screen following the accident. We only wish that something more emotionally impacting would have come of it, because her miraculous and speedy recovery was a little bizarre.

#5: “Teenage Dream” (Acoustic Version)
“The Break-Up”

Speaking of “Teenage Dream”, how could we forget the heartbreaking rendition Blaine performs for Kurt in season four’s “The Break Up”? It serves as an intentional call-back to the legendary season two performance, which was sung with vitality and passion thanks to the budding feelings between Blaine and Kurt. On the other hand, this version is acoustic, raw, and darker (literally), which serves to illustrate their respective headspaces and relationship troubles. The stark contrast helps contextualize their break up, and it makes us yearn for simpler, happier times, like their first kiss.

#4: Nationals Victory

The glee club constantly proved they were about more than performing, since we saw friendships, relationships, and lifelong bonds formed there. But sometimes, all we wanted was to see them compete against other glee clubs. Throughout the first two seasons, New Directions came dead last during Regionals and lost Nationals because of an unplanned onstage kiss, so by the time season three rolled around, they – and we – wanted the title. Bad. Opening with a bang with “Edge of Glory,” Rachel then brings the house down with her rendition of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” Finally, the entire cast delivers an energetic and dynamic cover of a Meat Loaf tune. It doesn’t come as a surprise, but we’re incredibly satisfied when they win the Nationals trophy.

#3: “Faithfully”
“Journey (to Regionals)”

This was the moment we were all waiting for, and it was just as beautiful as we had imagined. As they’re preparing to take the stage at Regionals, Finn walks over to Rachel and proudly professes his love to her, leaving her literally speechless. The two then perform a gorgeous rendition of Journey’s “Faithfully”, complete with many longing looks and a spine-tingling reveal of the New Directions on stage. We’re not sure if this is the most iconic duet in “Glee” history, but it’s certainly up there. It was a great song choice, a great performance, and there was great meaning behind the song itself. It was a perfect end to a perfect season of television.

#2: “Don’t Stop Believin’” Performance

You didn’t think we’d forget THIS, did you? In a simple but impassioned performance of the Journey hit, “Glee” proved from its pilot how good the cast could be. What’s more, without this epic performance, Will might’ve given up on the glee club. It’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” that makes him realize a place for kids to feel safe and accepted is possible, and worth fighting for. The song acts as an anthem for what the show’s all about, remaining one of their most iconic performances. “Don’t Stop Believin’” was revisited five more times during the show, including the first part of the series finale where Will remembers that first time. It brought the glee club together in the first place and made us believe in “Glee” from the start.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Pure Imagination”

Will Shuester & Emma Pillsbury’s First Kiss

Kurt Hummel Comes Out

Finn Hudson Outs Santana Lopez
“Mash Off”

Klaine's first kiss

#1: Rachel Sings After Finn’s Death

This is a moment that “Glee” fans still can’t get over. Cory Monteith, who played Finn on the show, tragically died in July 2013, before the cast began shooting season five. With the cast and crew left in shock, production was postponed. When season five did return, it did so on a high note, but in the third episode they finally paid tribute to Monteith by addressing the death of his character, Finn. Besides the opening number where the entire cast sings a song in his honor, as well as Santana’s breakdown, Lea Michele’s performance was most notable, as she had been Monteith’s real-life girlfriend. When Rachel sang “Make You Feel My Love” in his memory, we all felt it.