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'Glee' channels the power of Madonna

Madonna gets called lots of gushy things on tonight's much-anticipated episode of Glee. ("Genius!" "Icon!") But Fox's dramedy really justifies its love for the Material Girl during eight — yep, eight — over-the-top musical numbers, including a gone-viral Vogue vid starring acid-tongued cheermaster general Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). • Stuck in the '80s analysts Sean Daly and Steve Spears spent Monday watching a coveted press screener of Glee's Madge-a-thon and cranking the accompanying soundtrack, now available on iTunes and in stores. Daly and Spears disagree on myriad things, but like tonight's show, in the end they join hands and make up. Yep, just like a prayer …

Daly: Steve, you've gone on record saying you hate Madonna. But you love Glee. So open your Funyun-clogged heart and tell us who won out: singer or show?

Spears: The show, all the way. It re­invents the queen of reinvention to a point where now even I like her. But don't play innocent with me, Desperately Seeking Spam, you've taken shots at Glee! That's an even worse crime.

Daly: Listen, I like Glee when it's totally absurdist a la the dumb blond cheerleader. However, somber plot lines — say, cruel fake pregnancies — make the show clumsy. I'm not totally sold yet. That said, the Madonna show is downright delirious, especially a three-part ensemble involving Like a Virgin.

Spears: Not every number works; the first one, Express Yourself, is forced. But Like a Virgin is tremendous. I don't want to spoil the twist, and thus get filleted by Gleek Nation, but three characters get the chance to lose their virginity tonight. It's like my spring break from freshman year at college all over again. Only I was singing Send in the Clowns.

Daly: Don't even try the sensitive guy bit. You're not Mr. Schu. In fact, I wish Mr. Schu weren't so much like Mr. Schu. His boy-band sing-off with Finn & Co. on What It Feels Like for a Girl gives me chills … and not the good kind. Plus his plot line with Emma has become sloggy and tired.

Spears: I'm disappointed that Emma doesn't sing Crazy for You in this ep. Seriously, could they make the owl-eyed guidance counselor any more psycho? Still, I like Emma and Schu. You just need to get over your raging crush on Rachel.

Daly: I do like my neurotic drama queens. In fact, best number of the show is a mashup of Borderline and Open Your Heart between Finn and Rachel. It's incredibly well choreographed, brilliantly detailed; you'll be rewinding over and over to catch all the Madonna in-jokes.

Spears: It's good. But by far the best number is the finale, Like a Prayer; it tops the original. I actually started to tear up.

Daly: Wow, you really are a giant ninny. God forbid Glee ever does an Air Supply show.

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8467. Steve Spears can be reached blogs.tampabay.com/80s.

ON TV

Glee, 8:59 p.m., Fox. Watch the Vogue video at www.fox.com/glee.

'Glee' channels the power of Madonna 04/19/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 1:13pm]

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