Glee's return last week from an interminably long hiatus set a new low in plot-delivery, and one that managed to churn Gwyneth Paltrow's endearingly unapologetic substitute teacher into a low-grade copy of Mary Poppins (c'mon folks, “Jolly Holiday“/Holly Holiday).

It also managed to clear the way for what has become season two's saving grace, big-top productions. And what a show tonight promises: 90-minutes of Billboard's best underscoring schizophrenic story twists and characters rising to meet our expectations. They're even doing another tribute to Mother Monster to accompany the release of her long-awaited album, Born This Way.

Now, if only Weird Al could find a horde of bullied pre-teens bent on mash-ups for a parody video. Until then, chew on this:

5. “Dance in the Dark” and “Careless Whisper” (George Michael/Wham!)

Since Sexy Sax Man went viral, visions of chest hair and sax solos have been swimming nightmarishly in the ether. It seems all too ordinary, then, that Gaga, queen of grotesque reappropriation, used the hook from this sultry-come-slimy tune in her synthy exposé.

4. “I Like It Rough” and “Strangelove” (Depeche Mode)

Well, sometimes rough love is strange love, but more often than not it's a hell of a good time. But you won't find whips or safe words here; Lady G's finesse in commentary and reclamation compliments her style and rewards fans of all fancies. She's a rubber-wrapped cuddler.

3. “Government Hooker” and “Lullaby” (The Cure)

If we all lived in the world Glee characters inhabited, thirty years from now Lady Gaga would be the second-coming of Robert Smith (despite the saddled comparisons to Madonna and Cher). She must secretly hope for the same, because “Government Hooker” not only melodically brushes “The Walk” (The Cure), but directly quotes “Lullaby.” For now, we'll spin on that dizzy edge.

2. “Poker Face” and “Ma Baker” (Boney M)

Boney M has all the musical kitsch and theatricality of low-budget porn. But this funk-inspiration has enjoyed a second career in discos world round. Ma Baker makes a perfect sample for a song titled with a veiled blow job joke–and what better way to honor the artist?

1. “Judas” and “Bad Romance” (Gaga)

Since it leaked online, critics have crucified Mother Monster with allegations of religious bigotry, drawing comparisons to Madonna (“Like a Prayer”) and Sinéad O'Connor (now known as Mother Bernadette Mary–atonement for her previous SNL sins). While “Judas” is certainly religiously provocative, its lyrical portraiture of a dysfunctional relationship and self-referential chorus (melodically citing “Bad Romance”) stands closer to commentary and self-preservation than an attack on organized religion. Trust us, if Gaga wanted to criticize the church, you'd know it. To think of this song as anything but her usual brand of in-your-face pop is a true sacrilege.

LA Weekly