First things first though. Much like the show's previous spin-off CDs, Showstoppers is almost embarrassingly eclectic, offering covers of songs by everyone from Bonnie Tyler to Beck, Lionel Ritchie to Les Misérables. To be frank, when an album has the balls to place Ethel Merman's 'Rose's Turn' side-by-side with Aerosmith's 'Dream On', it's tempting to get on your theatrical high horse Rachel Berry-style and call it one of the most genre-busting comps in pop history.
Showstoppers - and in many ways Glee itself - succeeds best when the remakes transcend mere karaoke and add an extra layer of shimmer and sparkle to the original - call it the Gleepimples effect. A classic example is the show's take on All-American Rejects' 'Gives You Hell', on which a strident Rachel Berry vocal is backed by a choir of audacious high school misfits to thrilling effect. Equally, Mercedes' similar-yet-different approach to Christina Aguilera's 'Beautiful' is what makes it another unforgettable moment from the series.
'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' offers more proof (as if any were needed) that Rachel will do her damnedest to own every song she takes on - though quite why this histrionic Jim Steinman classic features in an episode titled 'Guilty Pleasures' continues to confound us. Her contribution to Jesse's cover of Lionel Ritchie's 'Hello' is also inspired, while the way she turns GaGa's 'Poker Face' into an emotional mother-daughter duet with Broadway star Idina Menzel is an awesome feat by anyone's standards. Who knew the "bluffin' with my muffin" line could be so moving?
Of course, as is the way with Glee, not everything quite comes off. Songs like 'Safety Dance', 'Give Up The Funk' and 'Loser' were hardly 'Showstoppers' to begin with, while it's a shame that several tunes with clear theatrical potential ('A House Is Not A Home', 'Home') fail to generate much excitement. Nonetheless, Showstoppers generally succeeds both in terms of song selection and execution, proving another highly listenable effort from the still unstoppable Glee juggernaut.