During episode 8 of Glee's season 3, Sam returns to help New Directions at their sectional peformances. During much of the episode drama takes a back seat to the actual sectional competition. New Directions' choices for their sectional performances are a tribute to the Jackson family.
Sam returns to Glee in this episode, and he gets Toby Keith's current hit single "Red Solo Cup" as a showcase. It is a tribute to the red solo plastic up as a party accessory. "Red Solo Cup" is the second single from Toby Keith's album Clancy's Tavern. It is a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as reaching the top 25 of the country singles chart.
At sectionals the group the Unitards perform "Buenos Aires" from the musical Evita. In the show the song represents Eva Peron's ambitions to be a top level actress early in her career. The Unitards end up placing third at sectionals.
At sectionals the Troubletones perform a mash-up of Gloria Gaynor's disco classic "I Will Survive" and Destiny's Child's "Survivor." The frenetic choreography is distracting on the show, but it does include a glorious moment when "I Will Survive" first segues into "Survivor." Gloria Gaynor reached #1 on pop and dance charts in 1979, and it has become a disco classic. "Survivor" was a #2 pop hit for Destiny's Child in 2001. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group.
"ABC" was the first song performed by New Directions at sectionals. Instead of showcasing a single club member, the lead vocals rotate among multiple performers. "ABC" was a #1 hit for the Jackson 5 in 1970 knocking the Beatles' "Let It Be" out of the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the second #1 hit single for the Jackson 5 following "I Want You Back" to the chart peak.
"Control" was the second of three singles performed by New Directions at sectionals. The concept of taking control of one's own life fit many recent plot lines in the show. "Control" is the title song from Janet Jackson's breakthrough album. It was also her fourth consecutive top 10 pop hit from the album. It was a #1 dance and R&B hit.
For their third Jackson family song in their sectionals performances New Directions tackled Michael Jackson's "Man In the Mirror." It was the fourth of five #1 hit singles from the album Bad. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Record of the Year and hit #1 on the iTunes digital sales chart following Michael Jackson's death.
In the closing minutes of this week's Glee episode, key members of the Troubletones reunite with New Directions as they plan for competing in regionals. The cast sings "We Are Young," originally released in September by the indie pop band fun. It is a rousing anthem for the reunited cast.