The episode is set around the New Directions' first junior prom, being asked to perform at the event by Principal Figgins, despite Sue's disapproval as she runs the prom and its committee. As the episode goes on, it explores the competitive run for the Prom King and Prom Queen. It is the first prom/formal dance episode on Glee.
The episode starts with Jacob Ben Israel interviewing Puck about the competition for Prom King and Queen, accusing him that he doesn't seem as masculine since he started dating Lauren. It seems that Quinn and Finn are the frontrunners for the crowns, while Puck and Lauren are number two, with Karofsky and Santana half a point behind at number three. Air Supply, the band that was supposed to play at prom had cancelled, and Figgins asks the New Directions to perform in their place. Sue seems angered at this, and Will doesn't look too excited. But when Figgins says he'll pay the money to him that Air Supply was going to get, he realizes this can help contribute to Nationals and agrees.
Kurt asks Blaine to the prom while they are on a date at Breadstix. Blaine is hesitant to go because he was beaten up after the Sadie Hawkins dance at his old school shortly after coming out but tells Kurt that he is crazy about him and agrees to go, but doesn't look too excited.
Mercedes, despite not wanting a boyfriend, is shown to be upset that no one has asked her to prom, so Rachel convinces her to go with her and Sam on a budget. He agrees, and they all go in for a group hug.
Kurt reveals to the girls that he will be going to the prom with Blaine and that he is making his own outfit. Santana tells him that the Bullywhips will protect him whilst he's there so that this will totally give her the sympathy vote for Prom Queen.
Jesse St. James shows up in the auditorium as Rachel is practicing her prom song Rolling in the Deep and sings with her. He apologizes for how he treated her and asks if she's doing anything for prom. When confronted by Finn about a rumor that Jesse is back and he is her prom date, Rachel tells him that Jesse will be joining her, Sam and Mercedes at their Prom on a budget. Also, she tells Finn that he should be supportive of her and Jesse as she was supportive of him and Quinn even though she is dying everyday inside because of it.
Artie is determined to get Brittany back and crashes her Home Economics class and sings Isn't She Lovely to her in order to win her back and get her to come to prom with him. In the end, she turns him down because he called her stupid and she is planning to go to prom alone.
As Kurt shows off his new outfit, which Finn thinks makes him look like gay Braveheart, Burt on the other hand tells Kurt that he thinks his outfit is made to get attention to which Blaine agrees. Blaine is obviously still impacted by the Sadie Hawkins dance when he was younger. Kurt gets upset at this and tells Blaine that he's free to not attend if he doesn't want to go anymore.
Kurt is being led through the halls by Dave in his capacity as a member of the Bullywhips. As they reach Kurt's classroom for his French class, Kurt remarks that the last week has been free of bullying and that this could be a sign that people are slowly starting to accept homosexuality or at least be indifferent to it. He then tells Dave that the students at McKinley may be more accepting now and that he should consider coming out to the school. Kurt also tells Dave that he knows he should hate him for what he did to him, but that all he can see now is Dave's pain at being gay and in the closet. Dave breaks down at this and cries in front of Kurt, telling him how very sorry he is about how he treated him. Kurt accepts the apology and the two have seemed to reached a friendly understanding.
Mercedes, Rachel, Sam, and Jesse all meet up at Breadstix before the prom and discuss their expectations for the night. Finn and Quinn show up and this sparks some tension between Finn and Jesse, which Mercedes promptly defuses, asking Finn and Quinn to leave.
The first song of the evening is Friday by Rebecca Black. The student body is seen singing along to the song and snippets of the interactions between various members of New Directions were shown. Everyone seems to enjoy it, despite the fact that many people don't like the Glee Club.
The next song performed is Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri, sung by Rachel. As she sings, she shares some very telling glances with Finn, who is on the floor dancing with Quinn. Quinn becomes protective and puts a hand around Finn, showing Rachel she needs to back off. Sam tells Mercedes that she looks beautiful and asks her to dance, and she agrees, happily.
As part of a plan to spike the punch, Puck attempts to distract Coach Sylvester and it almost works, but she catches Artie in the act of putting something in the bowl. She then commands Artie to go to her office immediately. Once there, she threatens him with amateur dental work unless he fingers Puck as the person who would spike the punch, for which Puck will get expelled from the school.
As Blaine performs I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You, a fight breaks out on the dancefloor between Finn and Jesse over how close Rachel is getting to Jesse. After a punch is thrown, but nobody actually got hit, Finn and Jesse are both thrown out of the Prom by Sue for being too violent, to Quinn's dismay.
Prom King and Queen are about to be announced and Figgins asks all the candidates to join him on the stage. After a short wait it is revealed that the Prom King for 2011 is David Karofsky.
With everyone waiting to find out who the Prom Queen will be, Figgins informs them that this year's Prom Queen is a write-in candidate and has won with an overwhelming number of votes. He then announces Kurt Hummel as Queen, to which the entire gym falls quiet, save a single person cheering in the background. It's clear that he won as a deliberate and cruel attempt at bullying, and Kurt flees the prom in tears with Blaine following close behind. The other students seem to disapprove of the bullying and it's unclear if the election is a result of a single unnamed person rigging the vote or if all the students have participated.
In the end, after some counseling from Blaine, Kurt defiantly decides to stand up to the bullies and returns to the gym to be crowned, if only to show everyone that they cannot bring him down. The sequence is intermingled with scenes between Rachel and Quinn in the toilets and Santana and Brittany who are talking in an abandoned classroom. Quinn tells Rachel that it's her fault that she didn't win Prom Queen because everyone knows that Finn would rather be with Rachel than with her, then slaps her. Santana is upset and convinced that she lost because everyone knows she's a lesbian. She resolves that as soon as the New Directions get to New York she will run away to live in a lesbian colony, or Tribeca.
Rachel and Quinn make up after the slap, with Quinn revealing that she's terrified of the future, of what will happen once high school is over. Rachel assures Quinn that while she is the prettiest girl she has ever met, there is more to her than just a pretty face. Brittany assures Santana that everybody didn't know what Santana was hiding but they knew that she wasn't being herself and that if she had just been herself she probably would've won. She then tells her that she needs to go back out and support Kurt because this will be harder for him than it will be for her. Brittany then hands Santana a pack of tissues to dry her tears with.
As Kurt returns to the gym for his crown the silence in the gym is protracted. Figgins crowns Kurt as Queen and smiles at him; seemingly proud that Kurt is taking a stand against the attempted bullying he was subjected to. Kurt looks out over the crowd and says, "Eat your heart out, Kate Middleton," a nod to the recent royal wedding in England, to which the students cheer. As Principal Figgins announces that the Prom King and Queen will now perform the traditional dance, Kurt is shown to whisper to Dave that now is his moment to make a difference to the kids at the school and come out. Dave hesitates for a moment,
but ultimately he is still too frightened of the rejection that will accompany his coming out and flees the dancefloor nearly in tears, leaving Kurt standing alone. As Mercedes and Santana sing Dancing Queen by ABBA, Blaine walks up to Kurt and dances with him in front of the entire student body.
The episode closes with everyone dancing merrily to the song, intermixed with scenes of the members of the New Directions having their pictures taken. They include Mercedes and Rachel with Sam, Artie with Brittany in his arms, Quinn alone, Tina with Mike, and last but not least, Kurt and Blaine. As balloons drop from the ceiling, everybody seems to be enjoying themselves.
|Song Title||Original Artist||Performer(s)|
|Rolling in the Deep||Adele||Jesse St. James and Rachel Berry|
|Isn't She Lovely||Stevie Wonder||Artie Abrams with New Directions Boys|
|Friday||Rebecca Black||Artie Abrams, Noah Puckerman|
and Sam Evans
|Jar of Hearts||Christina Perri||Rachel Berry|
|I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You||Black Kids||Blaine Anderson with Brittany Pierce|
and Tina Cohen-Chang
|Dancing Queen||ABBA||Mercedes Jones and Santana Lopez|
Special Guest Star
- Iqbal Theba as Principal Figgins
- Charlotte Ross as Judy Fabray
- Harry Shum Jr. as Mike Chang
- Chord Overstreet as Sam Evans
- Darren Criss as Blaine Anderson
- Ashley Fink as Lauren Zizes
- Max Adler as Dave Karofsky
- Josh Sussman as Jacob Ben Israel
- Jeanine Anderson as Waitress Sandy
- Mary Gillis as Mrs. Hagberg
- Lauren Potter as Becky Jackson
- Luke Spinelli as Jason
- One-time Glee extra Nicole Crowther leaked the identity of the Prom King and Queen before the episode aired, which prompted a heated Twitter exchange with Brad Falchuk. The spoiler and Falchuk's response were noted in several mainstream entertainment news publications.
- In Jar of Hearts, Becky is seen dancing with a guy. That actor had auditioned for The Glee Project as the part of Becky's boyfriend. In Yes/No, Sue mentions his name is Jason. He returns in Sadie Hawkins as Becky's date, yet again.
- Sue mentions Run Joey Run, which was featured in Bad Reputation and Hair/Crazy in Love from Hairography. She tells them to "literally apologize to America" for the former, one of many references to breaking the fourth wall about criticisms against the show.
- Although New Directions' assignment was for everyone to sing at Prom, Kurt, Lauren, Quinn, Finn and Mike didn't perform.
- Mercedes said to Rachel in the hallways that she wanted to be with a guy at the prom where he would comment by saying she looks beautiful and he would take her hand and they would dance, this wish came true later in the episode, when Sam told her she looked beautiful and asked for a dance.
- In Friday, when Santana is seen dancing with Karofsky, a girl walks past her wearing the same dress she has on and she shakes her head.
- This is the first time we see Blaine singing with the New Directions on a special event.
- When Kurt and Santana are walking down the hall together, you can see her tattoo on her wrist when she points at a girl that bumps into Kurt.
- This is Burt Hummel's last appearance as a main character, he appears as a recurring character for the rest of the show.
- The scene where Blaine asks Kurt to dance at prom was included in Glee's Top 6 Touching Moments countdown.
- When Finn shows Quinn the corsage he got for her, she isn't seen putting it on. Then suddenly after the couple leans in for a kiss, the corsage is magically on her wrist with no time allotted for this to have happened.
- During the fight between Finn and Jesse, the camera briefly pans out for a bird's eye view of the dance floor. Here, Rachel can be seen standing and talking with Sam, while Finn, Jesse, and Quinn are no where to be seen.
Will: We are the prom. Figgins has asked us to perform.
Lauren: I look like a lemon meringue pie.
Devil in a red dress. Perfect, and it's totally appropriate for your personality. I have no criticisms. Go with God, Satan - Santana!
Eat your heart out, Kate Middleton!
Jessie: They say that the best time to start any business is during a recession. I don't know why, or even what a recession is, but it's my understanding that we're in one.
Mercedes: Thank God I don't have to worry about that. I'm not going.
It's go time.
Karofsky: Everything looks good. No gay protests or rainbow flags being lit on fire down this way.
Santana: Alright, lady lips. All clear. Teen gay, you may now proceed to the next checkpoint without fear of violence.
Mrs. Hagberg: Just crack the egg!