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Ryan Murphy Explains 'Glee's' Use of Rebecca Black's 'Friday' (Exclusive)

Glee
Adam Rose/FOX

Co-creator tells THR: “The show pays tribute to pop culture and, love it or hate it, that song is pop culture."

Glee has tipped its hat to Broadway, Lady Gaga and classic rock including its recent Fleetwood Mac-inspired episode, so why would the Fox dramedy, whose goal is to stress the importance of music education and appreciation, cover Rebecca Black’s much maligned “Friday”?

“There’s a rule for it that’s explained in the show,” Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter. “The [glee club] is hired to perform songs for the prom and they were told by the principal to please do popular songs that the kids know.”

Black’s heavily autotuned song became an Internet sensation for all the wrong reasons and landed its 13-year-old singer death threats. The YouTube clip has garnered more than 133 million views.

Murphy noted that Glee’s “Friday” cover — performed by Puck (Mark Salling), Artie (Kevin McHale) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) — offers a different take since it’s sung by males.

“It’s songs that supposedly 17-year-olds are performing for other 17-year-olds,” he noted. “I think younger kids have a definite reaction to that song.”  

He added, “The show pays tribute to pop culture and, love it or hate it, that song is pop culture.”

Glee’s prom episode airs Tuesday on Fox.