A dream is something that fills up the emptiness inside. The one thing that you know, if it came true all the hurt would go away.
—Jesse St. James, Dream On
Jesse St. James is a recurring character on Glee. He was a senior at Carmel High School in Akron, Ohio, the male lead of Vocal Adrenaline and one of the main antagonists in Season One. He was instructed to befriend Rachel by Vocal Adrenaline coach Shelby Corcoran, who is secretly Rachel's biological mother. Jesse and Rachel began dating, and he briefly transfers to William McKinley High School, joining New Directions. Once the truth about Shelby is revealed, Jesse transfers back. He ends his relationship with Rachel by egging her in the McKinley High parking lot along with his fellow members of Vocal Adrenaline, humiliating her.
In Season Two, he returned to McKinley to apologize to Rachel about lying his situation and to rekindle their romance. However, in New York, Rachel chooses Finn over him thus leading to Jesse's departure.
In Season Three, he is appointed the new Vocal Adrenaline coach, replacing Dustin Goolsby. He takes Vocal Adrenaline to a Regionals victory and a second place at Nationals.
He is portrayed by actor and Broadway star, Jonathan Groff.
Rachel meets Jesse for the first time while visiting the music store. He approaches her while she is looking through a book of Lionel Richie's sheet music, taking her by surprise. She is immediately flustered, but Jesse remains relaxed, and cocky, telling her that her rendition of Don't Rain on My Parade was flawed because she lacks "Barbra's emotional depth." But he assures her that she is talented, going on to explain that he is a senior hoping to win a fourth consecutive National title and that he's landed a full ride to UCLA the following year. Spotting a piano, Jesse sits down to play, prompting Rachel to tell him that she's nervous about singing in the store. He sighs, saying, "I remember when I used to get nervous," then explains that he gives impromptu concerts for the homeless to give back. He begins singing Lionel Richie's Hello, Rachel chiming in later. He then tells her that they should do it again sometime.
Jesse is then mentioned in a scene between Rachel and Finn, where Rachel explains to Finn that she's moved on and is now dating Jesse. Jealous and worried, Finn tells Mr. Schuester about Jesse, who then goes to confront Shelby Corcoran, the director of Vocal Adrenaline about the relationship. Jesse is leading Vocal Adrenaline in a performance of Highway to Hell by AC/DC when Will arrives. At the song's close, Shelby says it was like "watching beige paint dry," and then instructs Jesse to give a "showface." Jesse obliges, as does the rest of the club, following his example.Throughout the remainder of the episode, Jesse's motives for dating Rachel are questioned, even after Shelby assures Will that he isn't spying on them. Afraid of losing the two most important things to her right now, Rachel then goes to confront Jesse to see if he really loves her or if he's using her, telling him that "if it turns out [he's] just playing [her, she] might die." He laughs, saying she's even more of a drama queen than he is, before telling her, that he's nuts about her and would never hurt her. Rachel that they keep their relationship secret, and Jesse says he understands. While they are kissing, Shelby appears, making eye contact with Jesse before walking away.
Jesse is first shown in a flashback scene where he and Rachel are making out on Rachel's bed. Rachel explains to the others that he suggested that they "do it," and when she said she wasn't ready, he got "really crabby" and left shortly after, leaving behind the Care Bear that she got him. However, he later concedes that he was wrong for trying to pressure her into doing something she didn't want, and apologizes for it. He says that she deserves epic romance and promises to wait until she is ready. Rachel then tells him that she is ready. Jesse goes over to Rachel's house at a later date, and they are one of the three couples shown in a dream sequence, all six of them singing Like a Virgin. In the non-dream world, Rachel stays in her bathroom with the door closed. Jesse asks her to come out so they "can talk... or sing about it." Rachel then emerges, and explains that she can't be with Jesse completely knowing that she'd be "sleeping with the enemy."
Jesse then transfers to William McKinley High School. He explains that his parents are in Bali, and he's opted to quit Vocal Adrenaline and move in with his uncle, so as to be with Rachel. Brittany asks Mr. Schuester if Jesse is his son. Mr. Schuester welcomes him into the group, which infuriates Finn. The others think he is only there to spy on them, also protesting that with him there it will be even harder to get solos. Rachel, however, is pleased to have Jesse there, as that means that as a member of New Directions, she can have an open relationship with him. Jesse then spots Finn and Rachel talking in the hallway and approaches them, challenging Finn to a sing-off. Finn instead welcomes Jesse to the group, saying he appreciates having another male lead to help him support the group, and invites Jesse to help with their new Madonna number. He is then shown in the group number Like a Prayer in which Jesse sings back-up in addition to a small solo with the choir in the background.
When Mercedes starves herself and gets hungry, she sees Rachel and Jesse St. James walk past together as a couple.
Jesse first appears in the scene where the others are watching Sue's own version of Physical. He urges them to post it online when Finn suggests it, saying, "You guys need to stop being such asses and start being badasses." Later on in a glee club practice, Jesse is skeptical when Will suggests they sing songs with bad reputations. He claims that the song Ice Ice Baby "should be arrested for the crime of sucking." However, after watching Will get the club involved in some loose choreography and joining in himself, Jesse admits that it the song has been "paroled."
Later on, Rachel shows her "bad reputation" music video, Run Joey Run, and Jesse realizes that she had triple-cast him in the part of the "hunky, heroic male lead" with Puck and Finn. Jesse says that being triple-cast with two other guys opposite your girlfriend is humiliating. Hurt by Rachel's actions, Jesse leaves the choir room Later, Jesse attempts to talk with Rachel about what happened. She explains to him that she has a "pathological need to be popular," saying that a fellow star should understand. Jesse agrees, saying that if that's all they were, two stars, he would understand. But he isn't just another star; he is her boyfriend, and he should be enough for her. He says that since he gave up everything to be her "one and only," he can't see past that. He asks her not to talk to him at ballet club, furthering the point that he is actually hurt by what she did. When Rachel sings Total Eclipse of the Heart at the next glee club practice, Jesse chimes in, along with Finn and Puck. There is then a scene with Jesse and Rachel and what is presumed to be the ballet club, where Jesse takes over the song for a brief period of time. Back in the choir room, the members of the club leave the room, until it is just Rachel and Jesse. He looks up at her, hurt, before leaving the room as well.
Jesse returns to help Rachel find her biological mother. It is revealed that he was in fact acting on Shelby's orders, but Jesse confesses to Shelby that he is starting to like Rachel, however, she wants him to befriend her so that she will finally be able to meet her daughter, Jesse on the other hand has taken befriend to mean seduce. Nothing is said as to whether her motives also include sabotaging New Directions.
Jesse returns once again and it is revealed that he has transferred back to Carmel High School and left New Directions for Vocal Adrenaline, claiming that he was misconsidered at McKinley High School. All Vocal Adrenaline members perform Another One Bites the Dust in the beginning of the episode. Jesse calls Rachel asking her to meet him in the parking lot where Vocal Adrenaline eggs her, during which Jesse looks guilty and hurt. Jesse holds his egg, not wanting to throw it. When Giselle pressures Jesse to be "one of them," he looks at the egg in his hand and walks slowly to Rachel. She tells him to "break it like you broke my heart." He tells her that he loved her and, with a very pained expression, smashes the egg on her head. The males of New Directions are enraged and threaten to mess Jesse's face up, but Will calms them down, calls Jesse and asks him and his team to meet them in their auditorium. New Directions get back on Vocal Adrenaline at the end of the episode, performing Give up the Funk and Jesse confesses he is "truly depressed" because Vocal Adrenaline was never able to "pull off a funk number."
He is seen performing Bohemian Rhapsody with Vocal Adrenaline. Though he has no lines in the episode, he does continually look over at Rachel when the results are announced. He seemingly cannot take his eyes off her, looking over at her again even after Vocal Adrenaline is named the winner of Regionals, making it the fourth consecutive year that they have won. After he is lifted into the air by his teammates, holding the first place trophy, Jesse looks over at Rachel again.
Jesse shows up when Rachel is practicing Rolling in the Deep as a potential song for prom. He interrupts her after she sings the first two lines, and they continue the song as a duet. When they finish singing Rachel asks Jesse what he was doing there and he says he was kicked out of college for not attending his classes and that he also wanted to see Rachel. He goes to the prom with Rachel, Sam, and Mercedes as friends. While the four are at dinner, he proposes that he start a show choir consultant business, which Rachel takes to with enthusiasm, calling him the "show choir whisperer." Finn and Quinn appear, Finn shooting a jab at Jesse, to which he responds with a compliment to Quinn and an offer to step in when she gets tired of her "boyfriend stomping on [her] pretty little feet." Later at prom, when he's dancing with Rachel, Finn comes over after seeing Jesse nuzzling Rachel's neck and says he should keep it "PG." Jesse defends himself saying Finn's not her boyfriend and that he should 'beat it'. Finn shoves Jesse and he retaliates. Sue returns right as Finn tries to punch Jesse, and they both get kicked out of prom.
Will announces that Jesse is going to be helping the glee club. When Finn says that he and Rachel should sing a duet at Nationals, Jesse says all the other guys are better, and, though Mike can't sing, he can dance. He also says Finn sings and dances 'like a zombie that has to poop.' Jesse convinces Mr. Schue that they should hold auditions to see who should be lead at Nationals. Santana, Kurt, Mercedes, and Rachel are the only ones that signed up, because Jesse's comment made Finn second-guess himself as their lead.
Later when Kurt and Finn find out about the death of Jean Sylvester and offer for the glee club to put together the funeral, Jesse says they shouldn't let anything distract them from the competition, saying that Vocal Adrenaline have already been hard at work and they should be too. The club does not take his advice and help with the funeral anyway. When Santana, Kurt, and Mercedes audition, he offers biting criticism in return, to which they take offense. When Rachel comes out and says she is singing My Man, he asks if she's singing about anyone in particular, and she says, "No, not really." When Rachel finishes, he praises her, which angers the others. In a later scene, Jesse is having Brittany tape him and Mr. Schue announcing the results. Brittany asks Jesse to come onto Fondue for Two to judge her cat. Jesse then tells Mr. Schue that with Rachel as their lead, they will win Nationals.
Later we see Rachel in the auditorium. Jesse walks in, and Rachel asks why he wanted to meet her there. He said she was going to sing lead at Nationals, but then he said the real reason he came back was for her. He admits that he once thought that fame was the most important thing in his life, but now he knows that there is something more important: her. They kiss, not knowing that Finn is there and sees them. When Jesse and Rachel walk up to the list for who will be singing lead, it just says that there's an emergency Glee club meeting. Mr. Schue then announces that he will not be picking a lead vocalist based on their auditions, and that they will be doing original songs at Nationals.Pretending, Jesse comes and sits next to Will telling him he couldn't stay away. When Will asks if he couldn't stay away from the show or Rachel, Jesse does not respond. After New Directions performs Rachel and Finn are talking about how they did and the kiss they shared on stage and when Finn says it was "The kiss of the century," Jesse says he was wrong and that it was unprofessional and it cost them the competition. He turns to Rachel and says she looked beautiful and that she did great, but she shouldn't have kissed Finn. Finn tries to tell Jesse to back off, claiming he was jealous of what they shared together. When Rachel asks Jesse what he's doing in New York, he says he came for her. This does not move her, she does not continue talking to him and kisses Finn later in the episode.
Jesse can also be seen at the back of the group when New Directions goes to look at the results. He looks disappointed and upset. In a later scene, Kurt tells Blaine that afterwards Jesse told the others that it was the kiss that cost them Nationals. Blaine agrees that the kiss was unprofessional.
Although it is unconfirmed, it is most likely that Jesse officially resigns after Nationals from assisting New Directions win the competition.
Jesse accuses Kurt and Mercedes of being sent by Will Schuester to spy on the Regionals performance of Vocal Adrenaline, the glee club which he has now become the coach of. Jesse then reveals his intention of firing Wade Adams to the two of them following the competition. He is mortified upon seeing Wade dressed up as a woman as he leads the performance, and he forces his way past the audience to get to the stage, ordering Wade to get off the stage. Wade refuses, and receives a standing ovation from the crowd as the performance concludes.NYADA's Carmen Tibideaux in hopes that she'll get a second shot at getting into the arts college. As he tries to get under her skin, she points out that they dated long enough for her to know that when Jesse gets nervous he gets mean. He relents and admits that Vocal Adrenaline's loss at last year's Nationals broke their eight-year winning streak. Another loss would mean the end of the school's show choir dynasty and spark a reboot of the program. He's struggling with the new rules, but Rachel reminds him that his past performances (namely Bohemian Rhapsody) set the gold standard for show choirs for years. She also reminded him about the attention Unique is getting. Rachel's words ease Jesse's nerves. When Finn arrives, she walks away, and he and Jesse share a tense moment until Jesse ultimately congratulates Finn on his engagement to Rachel, resulting in the two shaking hands.
While Rachel is singing It's All Coming Back to Me Now, you can see that Jesse is staring at Rachel with a heartbreaking expression on his face. You can tell that Jesse is also showing remorse for his past actions and is proud of Rachel.
Later, Jesse stops Carmen in the lobby, reminding her that when he auditioned for her a few years ago, she told him he showed promise. She acknowledges that she probably did say that, but adds that she auditions hundreds each year and attempts to blow off what she thinks is going to be a professional appeal. Jesse insists she listen: he wants to tell her that Rachel is the most talented person he knows, she'll definitely be a star one day, and she'd be an excellent addition to NYADA. Carmen thinks this over and then remembers Jesse's audition, commending him on his bold choice of song with Giants in the Sky from Into the Woods. He was last seen on the stage with Vocal Adrenaline, first happy as Unique/Wade accepts her MVP award and he and Vocal Adrenaline staring in shock and sadness, yet proud of a team he was once part of, as New Directions triumphantly accept their trophy for Nationals. This is the last time he is seen in Season Three.
When Rachel is singing Listen to Your Heart, Jesse appears and starts singing with her. After the performance, Rachel asks him what he is doing there. He is in town because his mom is having a tummy tuck and he is helping her out. He asks about the Broadway role that she was offered and tells her that he is the male star that will be playing in the show. He convinced the producer that Rachel was perfect for the role. She tells him that she hasn't made up her mind yet. He tells her that she belongs on Broadway and needs to get back to New York. She talks about how she might go back to NYADA instead. Jesse thinks that Rachel doesn't need to go to college and he tells her that they have always made really great music together and to think about it.
Later, Jesse is sitting in the auditorium and Rachel comes and talks to him. They discuss missing performing in glee club and Jesse offers that Rachel can stay with him in New York while she looks for a place. She tells him that she turned down the part and is going back to NYADA. He says he is disappointed they won’t share a stage but he is proud of her for not taking the easy path back to Broadway. They share a sweet kiss and he says that he will she her soon.
It is seen in a flash forward of Rachel's life that he and Rachel are married. Rachel is pregnant with a baby for Kurt and Blaine, Jesse comes into the room as Tina and Rachel were talking about the baby saying that he and Rachel can't wait to "start their own production". Jesse is later seen accompanying Rachel to the Tony awards as a caring husband. When Rachel wins the Tony Award for Best Actress in a musical, she thanks him along with her friends from the glee club and Mr. Schue in her speech. He is later seen in the auditorium during the performance of I Lived.
PersonalityJesse is essentially the male equivalent of Rachel Berry. Intense, talented, tactless and occasionally over dramatic, he seems to be driven to musical success, and hopes to one day be a famous performer. Jesse tends to come across as vain and conceited, and his hardcore desires have forced him to supposedly create an overly confident personality, which is arrogant, dismissive and rude. He claims that this behavior is a facade, and that beneath that he's actually a good guy. He also seems to rush into things, like Rachel does, such as a relationship with her in which both confess to be "deeply in love."
However, whether that is true was called into question, because he was suspected to be manipulating Rachel Berry to spy on New Directions for the Vocal Adrenaline coach, Shelby Corcoran. Even though he really was sent by his coach, Shelby Corcoran, it seems that he really was in love with Rachel. Jesse is also portrayed as a manipulator when it comes to light that he was sent by Shelby, Rachel's biological mother, to befriend her in order to bypass the illegalities that restricted Shelby from confronting her. When Jesse's work is done, he's forced to return to Vocal Adrenaline. As a means of breaking up with Rachel, he displays rejoining Vocal Adrenaline by funkifying New Directions and egging Rachel in the school's parking lot. Despite his heartless actions, Jesse does seem to really care about Rachel since his show face slips while the egging is happening, and because he tells her "I loved you" right before he cracks the egg on her head. Jesse returns in Prom Queen in season two. Although many are wary of his motives, Jesse tries to show Rachel he is genuinely sorry for the heartbreak he caused her and wants to make it up to her.
Although his character comes off as a jerk, he seems to really care about Rachel and wants to help her succeed and grab more solos (since, according to him, she deserves them and is New Direction's only shot at winning Nationals). When Jesse becomes New Direction's performance advisor in Funeral, he is seen as harsh when he attacks Finn verbally at rehearsal and gives immensely rude and dismissive negative feedback to Mercedes, Kurt, and Santana after the three auditions for a solo at Nationals and in Santana's place even ignore her performance in favor of doodling a cat. However, when Rachel performs he is shown to be rather supportive and even tries to manipulate Mr. Schuester into giving her the solo because he thinks she deserves it more than anyone else. However, the rest of the Glee kids question whether or not he's simply praising Rachel more in order to get back in her good graces. This opinion seems to partially supported by the fact that he tells Rachel that she got the solo, despite Will having not yet made a decision yet. This leads to him sharing a kiss with Rachel, during which he states that Rachel matters more to him than fame itself. Later he and Rachel give arrogant consolances to Kurt, Mercedes and Santana, until they realize that Will's decision wasn't the one Jesse promised Rachel.
In The Power of Madonna, he stated that he had an uncle who lived within the McKinley High School district.
In the episode Funeral, it is revealed that Jesse had a mother, a father, a sister with bulimia, and a brother with an addiction. He claims his parents told him he was their favorite, leading his siblings to have difficulties in life.
- Main article: Jesse-Rachel Relationship (St. Berry)
After two years of absence, Jesse finally reunites with Rachel in 2015. Jesse has apparently been keeping track of Rachel's life, including her short-term fame on Broadway and failure on TV, and subsequently reviving the glee club. Knowing that she was auditioning for a new role on Broadway, Jesse pulled some strings to make it happen. Rachel, however, chose to return to NYADA over Broadway, saying that she believed it was a step in the right direction. The two depart, promising to see each other again and then share a kiss. In 2020, Jesse and Rachel are apparently married and famous as Broadway stars.
Total = 12
- Solos (In a Group Number)
|Like a Virgin||The Power of Madonna||Emma, Finn, Rachel, Santana, and Will,|
|Like a Prayer||Finn, Kurt, Mercedes, and Rachel|
|Run Joey Run||Bad Reputation||Finn, Puck, and Rachel|
|Total Eclipse of the Heart|
- It is believed by many fans that the character was named Jesse so Finn could sing the song Jessie's Girl.
- In an interview, when asked if Jesse actually loved Rachel, Jonathan Groff replied, "Yes, I think he did."
- Brittany thought he was Will's son.
- Despite Carmel High's known policy of purposely failing talented performers to keep them in Vocal Adrenaline, Jesse's Math and Science classes were taken for him by another student so he could pass.
- He's the only New Directions member that didn't take part in any competition with them (he joined after Sectionals and left before Regionals).
- He hasn't sung a duet with anyone other than Rachel .
- Rachel also sung in every group number he participated in.
- All his solos are sung with Vocal Adrenaline in the background.
- Main article: Jesse's Quotations
|Directors||Emma Pillsbury • Finn Hudson • Holly Holliday • Kurt Hummel • Rachel Berry • Sam Evans • Will Schuester|
|Members||Alistair • Jane Hayward • Madison McCarthy • Mason McCarthy • Myron Muskovitz • Spencer Porter|
|Alumni||Artie Abrams • Blaine Anderson • Brittany Pierce • Quinn Fabray • Finn Hudson • Kitty Wilde • Kurt Hummel • Mercedes Jones • Mike Chang • Noah Puckerman • Rachel Berry • Roderick Meeks • Sam Evans • Santana Lopez • Skylar • Tina Cohen-Chang • Unique Adams|
|Former Members||April Rhodes • Joe Hart • Jesse St. James • Lauren Zizes • Matt Rutherford • Rory Flanagan • Sugar Motta • Sunshine Corazon • Marley Rose • Jake Puckerman • Ryder Lynn|
|Related||New Directions Boys • New Directions Girls • Dalton Academy Warblers • Sue Sylvester • Dakota Stanley • Bassist • Drummer|