Grey’s Anatomy packed a whole lot of songs into its big music event, and while they weren’t all successful, the episode was. The show has had plenty of episodes where the doctors had to operate on one of their own, but with Callie’s musical moments as she struggled to stay alive, Grey’s brought something different.
The over-the-top melodrama was important, because that’s exactly what musicals are. In a traditional musical, a character is so overwhelmed with emotion that singing is the only way to let it out, and that’s what happened on Grey’s Anatomy as everyone teamed up to save Callie and her baby.
The Best: “The Story” by Brandi Carlile
Another key to a successful musical is ending on a high note. Even if everything that came before it is a complete failure, if you end strong, it doesn’t matter. Grey’s ended its musical episode with the best song as Sara Ramirez blew the doors off the hospital and sang to the rafters with this song. Her raw power as she tried desperately to convince herself to wake up was gripping, but most importantly, Ramirez sang her heart out. There’s a reason she’s won a Tony Award, and for me, it was the single best vocal performance of the year (and I include reality shows, Glee and songs about days of the week).
The Worst: “Running on Sunshine” by Jesus Jackson
The entire Grey’s musical episode was very somber, but then, halfway through, this cheerful number happens as all the show’s couples start making out and hooking up. It felt like a number that only existed to try and brighten up an otherwise dreary episode, and it just seemed incredibly out-of-place. Plus, hearing Scott Foley sing about the rocket in his pocket is a tad disturbing.
Honorable Mention: “How to Save a Life” by The Fray
I could take or leave a lot of the other performances, but I couldn’t resist mentioning this brilliant song by the entire cast as they literally saved the lives of Callie and her baby. The Grey’s Anatomy version perfectly divided the lyrics to everyone so that each line took on additional subtext for the characters and, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think the song was written specifically for this scene.
The highlight of “How to Save a Life,” for me, was Teddy taking on the first chorus, starting with, “Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend” while staring at Owen. Given that she was just pushed aside by Cristina, who was willing to try a more experimental procedure, the words fit beautifully into her character’s emotions.
(Image and videos courtesy of ABC)