The Band Perry Song Part of Cory Monteith Farewell

After The Band Perry tweeted, “Wow. Very moving performance by @NayaRivera on @gleeonfox. #RememberingCory k/r/n,” I knew I’d be watching the saddest episode of Glee ever.

Thursday night’s (Oct. 10) episode was a tribute to the late Cory Monteith . So every time the characters cried, you just knew they weren’t acting. Those tears were real.

Monteith, 31, died in a Canadian hotel room in July of an accidental alcohol and drug overdose. So his character on Glee, 19-year-old singer and quarterback Finn Hudson, had to die, too. The show never revealed how Hudson had died and just made vague references to caring less about how he died and more about how he lived. And then ultimately, the glee club director Mr. Schue said he’d like to “memorialize him the only way we know how — by singing.”

And the best memorial, I think, was the country one. Naya Rivera — who plays Santana Lopez — got up in the rehearsal room to talk about her pal Finn.

“I know that Finn had his doubts about God, but I am convinced that squishy teeth is up in heaven right now, plopped down next to his new best friend Fat Elvis, helping themselves to a picnic of baby-back ribs smothered in butterscotch pudding and tater tot grease,” she said. “So this is for you, Hudson.”

Then she began a gorgeous and quiet version of The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young,” but after the second verse, she couldn’t get past the line about “send me away with the words of a love song.” She later said, “I couldn’t do it. I had this whole plan to surprise everyone and not be a bitch for once in my life and say all these nice things about Finn. And at the last minute, I chickened out. … He was a much better person than I am.”

Besides The Band Perry’s 2010 breakout hit, the Glee cast did “I’ll Stand by You,” “Fire and Rain” (from Chord Overstreet, the son of country hitmaker Paul Overstreet), “No Surrender,” ”525,600 Minutes” and a powerful statement from Monteith’s off-screen girlfriend Lea Michele when she did “To Make You Feel My Love.” The latter song, written by Bob Dylan, was covered by Garth Brooks in 1998 and hit the top of the country charts and was nominated for two Grammy awards.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.