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School dances and nudity: Those are among the first two subjects that will be the focus of Glee when the Fox musical returns next week for the second half of its fourth season.
The first episode back will see McKinley stage a Sadie Hawkins dance, and the women’s empowerment spills into NYADA to see Rachel grab the bull by the horns and Tina set her sights on a new guy. Elsewhere at the dance, an old romance between two members of New Directions could be rekindled, and the Men of McKinley take to fundraising.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with a few members of the Glee cast at Fox’s Television Critics Association’s winter press tour to get the scoop on what’s ahead on the musical dramedy.
1. Rachel Berry, empowered: The theme of McKinley’s Sadie Hawkins dance will have an impact on Rachel, Lea Michele says. “Rachel learns she needs to take the lead in her relationship with Brody,” she tells THR. “The last scene in the episode is a shocker — it doesn’t get too racy, but she makes a bold move.” Meanwhile, Rachel will also encourage Kurt (Chris Colfer) to explore a new romance. “It’s in the ‘Sadie Hawkins’ episode that Kurt meets his new love interest, and Rachel encourages him to take the lead and move forward to make it happen.”
2. Hope for Finn and Rachel? While Rachel is still exploring her relationship with Brody (Dean Geyer), Michele says she’s “hearing some rumors” about Rachel and Finn (Cory Monteith). “[It’s] nothing permanent yet, because I think it’s important that they’re each in their own storylines that I think are really good for them individually,” she says. “I’ve heard some fun stuff that we might get to be doing together.”
3. Old Rachel vs. New Rachel: The Jan. 31 “Naked” hour will largely revolve around Rachel as she struggles with whether or not to take a part in a student film that includes a topless scene. “She’s torn between the old Rachel and the new Rachel. The new Rachel is more grown-up, and she’s making more adult decisions, but the old Rachel in penny loafers and knee-highs would never do anything like that,” Michele teases. “I got to do a duet with myself where the old Rachel is singing with the new Rachel. We did this awesome song, and I had to do the whole thing as the new Rachel and then again as the old Rachel, and they’re syncing it together to have me on-screen together. She’s torn,” she laughs, no doubt a nod to the ’90s Natalie Imbruglia hit.
4. Romance rekindled: While both Artie (Kevin McHale) and Sugar will head to the Sadie Hawkins dance stag, there’s a strong possibility that the duo won’t remain solo for long. “She starts to have real feelings for Artie and clams up,” Vanessa Lengies tells THR. Both Lengies and McHale say they’ve been rooting for the former couple, whose initial romance in season three was short-lived (she ultimately picked Rory, though they dated briefly afterward), to reconnect. “I think they’re great together, and I love Vanessa to death; we’ve been vying for that to happen,” McHale tells THR.
5. More boy-band-type performances: The Sadie Hawkins dance will be a big one — big musical numbers — with McHale noting that the show’s history of featuring boy-band-style musical numbers will continue. “We’re not doing a boy-band song, but we’re doing it in a boy-band way,” he says, noting clues can be found on both his and co-star Blake Jenner’s Twitter feeds. “It’s a song I was very excited to do.”
6. Nudity? The “Naked” episode will hit home in both New York and Ohio, with both Rachel and Chord Overstreet’s Sam getting a lot to do. “There may be a Men of McKinley calendar,” McHale teases with a grin. “I can’t give away what month Artie is, but I was very happy about it. I had to wear a crazy-ass costume and it’s good.” Meanwhile, the nudity will likely benefit a worthwhile group: the struggling New Directions.
7. Love is in the air for Jake and Marley: Jacob Artist hints that the couple’s relationship will continue to develop. “There’s a lot of cute moments for them,” he teases, including a love song duet with Melissa Benoist‘s Marley. As for his date to the Sadie Hawkins dance, Artist remained tight-lipped, indicating it would be satisfying. “It’s not Kitty, I’ll tell you that!”
8. Sadie Hawkins mastermind: Jenna Ushkowitz says Tina is on the hunt for a new partner in crime. “Blaine Anderson is my date!” Ushkowitz enthuses. “Tina gains a new ‘love interest’ and is looking for a new partner in crime because Mike is gone and thinks Blaine is a good date, so she comes up with the whole idea for the dance so she can ask Blaine.
9. Tina’s new love interest? Ushkowitz says Tina fans will get their due as her character finally takes her turn in the spotlight. “Tina has come into her own as a senior, thinking she’ll be a leader in the glee club and take charge this year, because there’s nobody to fight her,” she tells THR. “She’s getting what she wants so far, even if it means she has to be a little bit of a bitch.” Part of Tina’s newfound “take-charge” approach will feature a long-awaited solo to a “strong, powerful woman song.” “She’s been sitting back and watching for the past three years, and she’s going to get what she wants this time,” Ushkowitz says of the solo. “It’s a really cool number with a bunch of dancers and big production values. It’s one of those numbers in which Tina feels like she’s finally made it.” While the actress, who has been with the series from the start, loves single Tina, she says love is never off the table for anyone on the show. “Part of Tina thinks Blaine might be that for her, which is crazy,” she says, noting Mercedes’ (Amber Riley) season-one romantic crush on Kurt. “I don’t know how far it will go, but it might just be another crush where you think that maybe he’s not gay and it leads to friendship, which always ends up happening after the crush goes away — it happened to me in high school!”
10. Sue’s baby daddy: Jane Lynch tells THR that there’s still no word on who the A-list father of her new daughter is, but she has two candidates. “I always say Javier Bardem, but I don’t know if we’re going to get him on Glee,” she jokes. “I think it’d be funny if we got Principal Figgins’ sperm, but the baby is really blond and very white, though Sue’s DNA would probably kick his DNA’s ass!”
Glee returns Thursday, Jan. 24 at 9 p.m. Hit the comments with what you’re looking forward to seeing.
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