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Glee Wiki

Michael is the eleventh episode of Glee's third season and the fifty-fifth episode overall. It premiered on January 31, 2012.

In this tribute episode to Michael Jackson, Mercedes, Santana, and Brittany are upset about missing out on doing Michael Jackson with New Directions at Sectionals when they were in The Troubletones, so Will thinks about doing Michael Jackson for Regionals. When Blaine happens to tell Sebastian this, the Glee Club is purely disappointed at how Blaine can betray them, for the Warblers are now planning to do Michael for Regionals. The two clubs fight, but when Blaine is slushied and injured, the rivalry between the two clubs turns serious. Quinn is accepted into Yale and decides to leave her past behind.

The episode was directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and written by Ryan Murphy.


Santana, with Brittany and Mercedes, are walking down the halls of McKinley, discussing how the only reason New Directions beat the Troubletones is because Tickles The Clown was high. Kurt steps in saying it was weeks ago, and they should get over it, and a key reason was because it was Michael Jackson. Will meets them in the hall, and Mercedes tells him how they feel bad that they missed out on their one chance to perform his songs.

Performance of "Wanna Be Starting Something"

Will tells her that he has been thinking a lot about it, and they may be doing it for Regionals. Blaine then tells the group, as Will leaves, that he knows exactly what song they should perform to start off "Michael Week," leading into Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'.


Finn meets Rachel at her locker and asks her what her answer is to his proposal. She tells him that it isn't the kind of decision a person makes on a deadline. She tells him that she wants to marry him one day, but it's happening all too fast. Rachel admits that if she doesn't get into NYADA that she is still leaving for New York, and they both know that Finn will go with her, but he thinks it will be harder to be a couple there than in Lima. He says to her that the rings will always remind them of how they feel at that exact moment. She thinks it sounds a little crazy as well as romantic, saying she knows that he is the only one for her.

At the Lima Bean, Blaine, Kurt, Rachel, Santana, and Artie are all discussing their favorite Michael Jackson memory: Artie speaking his first words while watching him moon walk, Kurt discussing how he was the first to pull off the sequined jacket, while Rachel has never had an artistic connection with him, unlike Stephen Schwartz or Stephen Sondheim.

Sebastian appears after eavesdropping on them, telling the group that performing him for Regionals might not be the best idea as The Warblers are performing Michael Jackson music. After he discovered that New Directions were originally going to sing his songs, Sebastian tells the group that Blaine had told him earlier. Santana begins to go 'Lima Heights,' but he strikes her down, and tells him that he is now Captain of the Warblers and no longer wants to play nice.

In the choir room, everyone is discussing how the Warblers have stolen their idea: Tina wondering if there is a Show Choir committee board they can complain to. Puck announces that he doesn't feel comfortable having Blaine in the room and accuses him of being a "Modern Day Eggs Benedict." Finn tells the group they need to stop worrying about the Warblers but figure out a way for the group to beat them instead. Will joins in and writes "WWMJD" (What Would Michael Jackson Do) on the board. Finn says he'd fight back and that Regionals and MJ is theirs. Blaine then adds that he'd take it to the streets.

Performance of "Bad"

In a deserted car park, Santana and Blaine are waiting for the Warblers to arrive. They tell the group that they want to have a "Jackson-off" and the winner gets to use his songs for the competition. Sebastian scoffs at that "there are only two of them against his group."New Directions then form behind Santana, and they begin to sing Bad. At the end of the performance, Sebastian is handed a slushie and begins to throw it at Kurt, but Blaine jumps in front of it and is hit in the eye. He falls to the ground clutching his eye and wailing.

Kurt enters the Choir room the next day and is asked how Blaine is. He tells the group that his cornea in his right eye is deeply scratched and that he has to have surgery. Will doesn't understand how a slushie could do that much damage, but Finn tells him it wasn't a normal slushie, that Sebastian purposefully wanted to do damage and may have put something in it. Will tells him that unless they have proof, there's nothing the police can do about it.

Will then tells the group that they have to let the Dalton Headmaster handle this. Artie then tells him no and that he is sick of just standing back and letting these things happen, of being treated like trash, and he wants to fight back and make sure the people who hurt them feel the same pain.

Will shoots the idea down, saying violence is not the answer. He tells Artie to take a break after he begins to shout, and it leads into a dream scene of Mike and Artie performing Scream. Afterwards, Artie wheels himself out of the room.

Quinn singing "Never Can Say Goodbye"

Rachel finds Quinn in the bathroom and asks her for advice on Finn asking her to marry him. She tells Rachel that she can't marry him. Quinn shows her a letter of admission to Yale, saying it is her ticket out of Lima. She says her point is that she may have dated Finn, Puck, and Sam and loved most of them, but next year, she won't know why she did. Rachel asks if Quinn is saying to break up. Quinn replies that she is all for her and Finn enjoying the next few months together, but she would never want to bring baggage from her past into her future. Quinn says that her life is great and everything she wants will be there as long as she isn't with Finn, sympathizing that they are a lovely couple, but if she wants to be happy she has to say goodbye, leading into a performance of Never Can Say Goodbye.

When she finishes, the group is astounded out how great it was and are thrilled to hear that she was accepted into Yale. She thanks the group saying that her getting would never have happened as they loved and supported her through everything, all of her stupid mistakes, that she was the only one stopping her from getting where she was now. Looking at Rachel she tells the group you can't change your past, but you can let go and start your future.

Santana walks past a classroom to find Kurt writing into a notebook. He tells her that he agrees with what Artie said and has accepted torment from many other people but refuses to take it from Sebastian. He shows her a list of ways he has to get back at him. Kurt says that after what he did to Blaine, he really wanted to hurt him but he can't. Santana says that she agrees that they can't hurt him but says that they will beat him.

Mercedes receives a text from Sam saying to meet him in the auditorium. When she enters, he tells her why he loves the weeks assignment is because Michael is one of his all-time favorite artists. He then changes the light screen on the stage to read "Mercedes" and then asks her to sing Human Nature with him, as they never performed a duet. He and the band members begin to play and she starts to sing as she tries to leave, only to walk back to the stage. When they finish, Sam kisses her, and she smiles when they break apart.

Samcedes 1st kiss

In Will's Spanish class, Burt takes Kurt out of class and gives him a letter from NYADA. They enter the Choir room, and he opens the letter. He turns to Burt after reading the letter and tells him he is a finalist. Burt sweeps him into a hug and begins to cry saying how proud that his son has come over so many things trying to stop him from achieving this and that on that day he won. He runs to tell Rachel, finding her at her locker, he asks what hers says, and she tells him that she didn't get one. He tells her not to worry, that they just haven't sent hers yet, and she begins to cry, knowing that she didn't become a finalist. She tells him that she has no plans past NYADA, and that all she has is Finn. She cries as Kurt hugs her close.

Ben performance

Kurt is reading to Blaine, who is now wearing an eye patch, in his bedroom when Finn and Rachel walk in bearing soup and movies with eye patch wearing characters to cheer him up. Blaine pulls out glasses and Diet Coke and raises a toast to Kurt for getting into the NYADA Finals. He tells them that the surgery for his eye is that week, and he is terrified. Finn tells him he'll be fine, and Rachel assures him that there are also many one eyed, successful performers. He admits that he is upset to be missing Michael week to which Rachel pulls out a pitch-pipe, and they begin to perform Ben.

Performance of "Smooth Criminal"

At Dalton, Santana confronts Sebastian and the Warblers to discover what they put in the slushie. She tells them that he now has to go into surgery and may lose his eye. Trent worries if he is OK, to which Sebastian tells him that he has 'got this' shutting him up. He tells her it's a pity that he got in the way as it was originally for Kurt. She continues to ask what he put in it until he feels that she questioned his honor leading them to perform Smooth Criminal. When they finish, Santana tells him that she was better as the Warblers re-enter, she again asks him what he put in the slushie. He tells her it was rock salt and then slushies her.

Santana hurries New Directions into the Choir room before Mr. Schue will notice and tells them that she found out that Sebastian put rock salt in it and recorded him telling her. Kurt then tells her that they can't give it to the police as Sebastian may get kicked out of school, but the Warblers will still do Michael and beat them. He tells the group that he has an idea to teach them a lesson.

Finn asks Rachel to stay behind, and she tells him that he knows that he is waiting for her answer, but he says he knows it is a big decision. He tells her to listen as she knows that she hears him better when he isn't talking, and he begins to perform I Just Can't Stop Loving You. Rachel tell him that he is the love of her life, and she may not have it all, but she gets to have what matters if they are together, telling him yes. He slides the ring onto her finger and they kiss.

The Warblers enter the auditorium. Artie tells them that they aren't going to perform MJ at Regionals, but they want to show them what Michael is about, as they don't get it. They perform Black or White and the Warblers, minus Sebastian, all join in.

New Directions performing "Black or White"

At the end, Santana tells Sebastian that she could call the cops or his headmaster and have him kicked out of school and possibly arrested for what he did to Blaine. She pulls out the tape of him admitting to tampering with the slushie, and Kurt gives him the tape telling him that him not being at Regionals will ruin the joy of beating him. Sebastian leaves after Artie tells him to get out.

Rachel walks up to Kurt at his locker and shows him the letter from NYADA she had just received. He asks her what it says and she tells him that she is also a finalist. Kurt hugs her, but when he asks her if she told Finn yet, her smile drops (assuming that she has not told Finn yet).


Song Title Original Artist Performer(s)
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' Michael Jackson Blaine Anderson with New Directions
I Want You Back The Jackson 5 Dalton Academy Warblers
Bad Michael Jackson New Directions and
Dalton Academy Warblers
Scream Michael and Janet Jackson Artie Abrams and Mike Chang
Never Can Say Goodbye The Jackson 5 Quinn Fabray
Human Nature Michael Jackson
(Boyz II Men version)
Mercedes Jones and Sam Evans
Ben Michael Jackson Finn Hudson, Kurt Hummel,
and Rachel Berry
Smooth Criminal

Michael Jackson

 (2Cellos version)

Santana Lopez and Sebastian Smythe
I Just Can't Stop Loving You Michael Jackson feat. Siedah Garrett Finn Hudson and Rachel Berry
Black or White Michael Jackson New Directions
  • ‡ denotes that the song was either cut from the episode entirely or featured in the Director's Cut only.

Background Songs

  • Workin' Day and Night: Background music at the Lima Bean.

Guest Cast

Guest Stars


Special Appearance

Absent Cast Members


  • It was originally scheduled to premiere on January 24, 2012, however it had been pushed back to January 31, 2012 due to the State of the Union address.
  • I Want You Back was supposed to featured in this episode, but was cut due to time constraints.
  • This was the first Glee tribute episode in which the artist being paid tribute to is deceased.
  • With just over 9 millions viewers, this episode had the highest number of viewers for the season since the premiere of Season Three. Source, and from this point on the most viewed episode since this time up until the end of the series.
  • The cast and the writers had wanted to do a Michael Jackson episode since Season Two.
  • When it aired in Australia, Never Can Say Goodbye was quickened but the rest of the episode was left unaltered.
  • This is the second time in which an educator has told their students to think, "What would ___ do?" using the name of the artist that the episode is being dedicated to. The first was in The Power of Madonna where Sue told her cheerios to think "WWMD," "What would Madonna do?"
  • Blaine Anderson was temporarily written off as getting an eye injury so that Darren Criss could take a break from the show to temporarily replace Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway.
  • Although in the beginning of the episode, Will states that they would do Michael Jackson songs at Regionals, they didn't do it after all.
  • This episode marked the final time in which every tribute episode was written by Ryan Murphy.
  • Lea Michele considers this episode as her least favorite to shoot, because it was really hard and the cast felt a lot of pressure to make it "super great". Source
  • As of this episode, Michael Jackson is the first musician to have more than one of their songs covered before their tribute episode. (Thriller in The Sue Sylvester Shuffle and P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing) in Silly Love Songs.


  • During the scene when Santana shows the New Directions the recording of Sebastian the door is locked, but when Kurt gets out the door isn't locked and he just opens it.
  • When Blaine, Kurt, Rachel and Finn are in Blaine's bedroom, Blaine hands Rachel a glass, but in the next shot of her, Rachel's hands are empty.
  • Kurt is seen in Will's Spanish class in this episode. However, in Grilled Cheesus, he is seen taking French.
  • After Quinn and Rachel's conversation in the restroom, Quinn walks away from Rachel, in order to presumably leave the restroom. However, the door to the restroom is in the opposite direction.




GLEE - Behind the Scenes "Michael"


v - e - d

Glee Episodes

Season One
PilotShowmanceAcafellasPreggersThe Rhodes Not TakenVitamin DThrowdownMash-UpWheelsBalladHairographyMattressSectionalsHell-OThe Power of MadonnaHomeBad ReputationLaryngitisDream OnTheatricalityFunkJourney

Season Two
AuditionBritney/BrittanyGrilled CheesusDuetsThe Rocky Horror Glee ShowNever Been KissedThe SubstituteFurtSpecial EducationA Very Glee ChristmasThe Sue Sylvester ShuffleSilly Love SongsComebackBlame It on the AlcoholSexyOriginal SongA Night of NeglectBorn This WayRumoursProm QueenFuneralNew York

Season Three
The Purple Piano ProjectI Am UnicornAsian FPot o' GoldThe First TimeMash OffI Kissed a GirlHold on to SixteenExtraordinary Merry ChristmasYes/NoMichaelThe Spanish TeacherHeartOn My WayBig BrotherSaturday Night Glee-verDance with SomebodyChokeProm-asaurusPropsNationalsGoodbye

Season Four
The New RachelBritney 2.0MakeoverThe Break-UpThe Role You Were Born to PlayGleaseDynamic DuetsThanksgivingSwan SongGlee, ActuallySadie HawkinsNakedDivaI DoGirls (and Boys) on FilmFeudGuilty PleasuresShooting StarSweet DreamsLights OutWonder-fulAll or Nothing

Season Five
Love, Love, LoveTina in the Sky with DiamondsThe QuarterbackA Katy or A GagaThe End of TwerkMovin' OutPuppet MasterPreviously Unaired ChristmasFrenemiesTrioCity of Angels100New DirectionsNew New YorkBashTestedOpening NightThe Back-Up PlanOld Dog, New TricksThe Untitled Rachel Berry Project

Season Six
Loser Like MeHomecomingJagged Little TapestryThe Hurt Locker, Part OneThe Hurt Locker, Part TwoWhat the World Needs NowTransitioningA WeddingChild StarThe Rise and Fall of Sue SylvesterWe Built This Glee Club2009Dreams Come True