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Ranking the best characters of ‘Glee’

In its run from 2009 to 2015, “Glee” achieved success unlike any other TV show, with 207 of its songs, primarily covers of popular music, making it to the Billboard Hot 100. 

Throughout all six seasons of the musical sitcom, the show explored a wide range of characters in depth, spotlighting their talents and personalities. With immense insight on each character, it’s difficult to pick a favorite, however, it’s not impossible.

In consideration of musical performances, comedic effects, iconic moments and overall contribution, here are the best characters on “Glee.” 

Rachel Berry

Often referred to as the main character of “Glee,” Rachel Berry is confident in her talent and determined to fulfill her dream of performing on Broadway, making her an incredibly annoying yet hilarious character.

Despite her egoistic nature, it’s hard to deny the vocal talents of actress Lea Michele, who was featured in a total of 206 songs with some of the most notable being “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” “Defying Gravity” and “Oops!... I Did It Again.” 

Quinn Fabray

Quinn Fabray was bound to be an iconic character as a head cheerleader turned teen mom. The sass of every TV prom queen ever, season one’s storyline revolves around Quinn’s pregnancy and desperation to protect her boyfriend, Finn Hudson, from falling for Rachel Berry.

Joining the New Directions out of pure hatred for Rachel, Quinn, portrayed by Dianna Agron, is featured in 45 songs such as “I Say A Little Prayer,” “Lucky” and “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.”

Overall, Quinn’s role in the social hierarchy of high school fluctuates significantly throughout the series, leading to complex character growth. Additionally, her queen bee status and dramatic storylines added to the comedic aspect of the show.

Finn Hudson

A main character up until actor Cory Monteith’s tragic death during season four, Finn Hudson was the lovable co-captain of the New Directions, as well as the varsity quarterback, bridging the social gap between the popular and not-so-popular students. A natural-born leader, Finn, despite his lack of singing experience, was always able to unite and encourage the New Directions. 

Finn Hudson’s lovable, dimwitted demeanor also adds a refreshing, comedic element to “Glee.” Finn performed a total of 106 songs including “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Losing My Religion.” 

Kurt Hummel

The sassy fashionista Kurt Hummel was an important representation of queer teenagers in small, conservative towns. Even through relentless bullying, Kurt expressed himself through fashion statements and performances. Additionally, his rivalry with Rachel and quick-witted humor helps make the show what it is. 

The theatrical main character, portrayed by Chris Colfer, was featured in 111 songs, the most reputable being “Defying Gravity,” in which he proved his soprano talent despite being told it was a song for females. He also performs in “Rose’s Turn” and “Le Jazz Hot.”

Brittany Pierce

Brittany Pierce was promoted to regular character in season two. Not only did her airhead personality contribute significantly to the comedic value of the show, but her relationship with Santana communicated a powerful, realistic story of discovering sexuality that was long overdue for TV representation. 

Furthermore, Brittany, portrayed by Heather Morris, was featured in 65 songs and was responsible for two iconic Britney Spears-themed episodes, in which she performed “I’m A Slave 4 U” and “Hold It Against Me.”

Mercedes Jones

What makes Mercedes Jones a favorite main character on “Glee” is her impressive gospel-like vocals, characterized by impressive runs and riffs and her bold sass. Mercedes knows her worth and is arguably the most unproblematic character. Furthermore, she’s confident in her identity despite being a minority at school, making her representation all the more special.

Mercedes, portrayed by Amber Riley, showcases her belt in 122 songs including “Bust Your Windows,” “Hell To The No,” a "Glee" original song, and “I Will Always Love You.”

Sue Sylvester 

Sue Sylvester was a major character throughout all six seasons, dedicating most of her time to either destroying the New Directions or strengthening her cheerleading squad. Although Sue’s intentions are undoubtedly ill, her quick-witted, often offensive remarks and schemes make for a hilarious show. 

Santana Lopez

A major character for all seasons, Santana Lopez’s catty, bold remarks make her an iconic character, especially as her character grows from bullying others and sleeping around with guys to a blossoming relationship with Brittany and an acceptance of herself and those around her. 

Lastly, of course, Santana’s incredible vocals shone through in 110 songs, particularly shining through Amy Winehouse covers like “Valerie” and “Back To Black.” 


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