A new year at William McKinley High School kicks off with New Directions looking to recruit more voices to bolster their chance of winning Nationals in New York. The gang performs "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, getting the attention of exchange student Sunshine Corazon (Charice Pempengco) and new transfer student Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet).
Finn overhears Sam singing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison in the shower and thinks he'd be a good fit for glee. With backup from the guys, Sam enjoys performing "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy but ultimately decides to protect his reputation and not join the club.
In the girls' bathroom, Rachel is excited to recruit Sunshine and they sing a duet of "Telephone" by Lady Gaga. Threatened by Sunshine's voice, Rachel gives Sunshine the wrong directions to glee auditions and sends her to a crack house. Eventually, Sunshine successfully auditions for the club with "Listen" from the movie Dreamgirls.
Meanwhile, Principal Figgins tells Sue and Will that both of their clubs are having their budgets cut to give more money to the football team. They meet new football coach Shannon Beiste who is taking over from Coach Tanaka after his nervous breakdown. Sue and Will join forces to drive the new coach away from McKinley. When Sue pressures Brittany to falsely accuse Beiste of sexual harassment, Will stands up for the new coach which causes his old rivalry with Sue to resurface.
In the meantime, a desperate Artie asks Finn for help in joining the football team to win back Tina, who has recently dumped him for Mike. When Finn mentions Artie's plea to Coach Beiste, she drops Finn from the team thinking that he is just trying to make her look bad for refusing a handicapped kid. As a result, Sam is named Finn's replacement as quarterback.
Feeling that he still needs to be a part of something cool, Finn tries out for the Cheerios. Meanwhile, Sue tells Santana she's demoted from her spot as head cheerleader because of the boob job she had over the summer. Sue re-appoints Quinn as head cheerleader which causes Santana and Quinn to duke it out in the hallway.
Fuelled by her renewed rivalry with Will, Sue contacts new Vocal Adrenaline director Dustin Goolsby (Cheyenne Jackson). Dustin offers Sunshine's family permanent US residency in exchange for joining his club. Sunshine admits she would have stayed with New Directions but felt unwelcome by Rachel.
On the way to practice, Rachel stops in the auditorium to sing "What I Did for Love" from A Chorus Line. She then heads into the choir room knowing she must apologize to the glee club.
I thoroughly enjoyed the season premiere of Glee and think that it lived up to all of its hype. The hot issue with this episode seems to be whether it went overboard with inappropriate racial and homosexual references. Some viewers were appalled by the constant "Asian" references as well as by the homosexual undertones associated with the new kid Sam (at one point he utters the line, "I've never had any balls in my mouth, have you?"). Other viewers, including myself, have been defending the show for its self-awareness and applauding the way it outwardly tackles the very real stigmas that are evident in our schools today. What side are you on?
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