Episode 18 of Glee's season 3 focused on multiple plotlines including auditions for NYADA, domestic violence, and Puck's attempts to graduate from high school. This week's show included multiple songs from Broadway musicals.
Puck is frustrated that he may not graduate from high school. However, he is trying to hide his consternation, and the emotion erupts in a snarling song about the end of school forever. Alice Cooper released "School's Out" as the title single from his fifth album in 1972. He has said there are two times a year that you live the best three minutes of your life. One is Christmas morning, and the other is the last three minutes before school is out for the summer. "School's Out" was Alice Cooper's first top 10 pop hit single climbing to #7 and helping propel the album to #2 and platinum certification.
Charged with singing songs that demonstrate the power of women to avoid domestic violence, Santana, Mercedes, Brittany, and Tina come up with "Cell Block Tango" from the musical Chicago. It is the tongue in cheek depiction of circumstances behind the crimes committed by convicted murderesses. Coach Sue and Roz are not amused. "Cell Block Tango" is a showstopping number that is presented early in the first act of Chicago.
At the last minute in his NYADA audition, Kurt decides to cast aside his problematic version of "Music Of the Night" from Phantom Of the Opera in favor of "Not the Boy Next Door" from The Boy From Oz which he feels fits him better. The result is a powerful performance that receives kudos from the school's dean portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg and presumably earns him admission to the school. "Not the Boy Next Door" closes the first act of The Boy From Oz which is an autobiographical show based on the life of Australian songwriter and performer Peter Allen. Hugh Jackman won a Tony Award playing the lead role.
In their frustrations in helping Puck study for his final exam to graduate from high school, the guys of Glee happen upon using the classic song "The Rain In Spain" from My Fair Lady as a memory aid. They deliver the song in a punk rock version fitting the personality of Puck. However, in the end Puck fails when too many questions on the exam are not "included in the song."
As the domestic violence plot line is wrapped up, Santana, Mercedes, Brittany, and Tina promise Coach Bieste a song. Their choice, and finally a song that truly fits the empowerment theme, is a soulful version of the inspirational "Shake It Out" by Florence and the Machine. "Shake It Out" has had the unusual distinction in the US of being a top 10 dance and top 10 rock hit. In the UK it went to #12 on the pop singles chart. The song has been certified gold for sales in the US.
The title of this episode, Choke, comes from the fact that Rachel choked in the middle of her audition from NYADA and forgot the words to "Don't Rain On My Parade," her favorite song. She lets all of the emotion out in a powerful version of Kelly Clarkson's "Cry" from the album All I Ever Wanted. It was not released as a single in the US but has become a favorite track from the album.