Rose's Turn

This Glee star has spicy thoughts about going viral on TikTok

For many of us, Glee was an introduction to the world of being out of the closet. For better or worse (definitely worse) the show gave a new generation of kids used to homophobic programming, gay tragedy plots and trauma porn a world in which being gay and out was not only possible, but totally achievable. Whether you shipped sapphic cheerleaders Santana and Brittany or were fully team Blaine and Kurt, you stayed tuned into Glee because it was one of the few places on TV where gay kids didn’t end up gay bashed or turned out of their homes by intolerant parents. It was a deeply imperfect show that, nonetheless, showed parents trying to accept their queer children, and a post-Prop 8 world that was finally, little by little, getting with the program in terms of queerness.

But the show had its very well-publicized and continuously-unfolding dark side. In 2013, while the show was still on air, Cory Monteith—who starred on Glee as Finn Hudson, the jock-turned-Gleek whose on-again, off-again romance with Lea Michele’s Rachel Berry formed the crux of the show’s drama in early seasons—died of an overdose. In 2020, beloved Glee actress Naya Rivera also met a tragic end while on a boating trip with her young son. Revelations about other cast members followed swiftly after, leading fans to believe that the show was cursed.

Cursed it was, but not for any supernatural reasons. The climate of racism and general anti-Blackness has been well documented by Glee alums Samantha Ware, Alex Newell and Amber Riley, and fans weren’t pleased when Kevin McHale, an actor who is not disabled, was cast as Artie Abrams, a character who uses a wheelchair. And then there’s the whole…Lea Michele of it all.

But one Glee star has been marked safe from the Glee curse. Chris Colfer, who played out-gay Gleek Kurt Hummel on the show, is still thriving, and in fact was surprised to learn recently that his rendition of Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne’s “Rose’s Turn”—from the 1959 musical Gypsy—has become a trending sound on TikTok.

A new generation of creators has been using the opening of the song—in which Mama Rose asks, “all that work and what did it get me?”—to create tongue-in-cheek videos about late-stage realizations in life (“when you’ve been dating men for years and just realized you’re bisexual“, “making a cake for your baby’s first birthday but she only wants to eat the plate.”)

The sound has officially caught on like wildfire—but how does Chris Colfer feel about it?

Last night, at an Oscars afterparty hosted by Elton John’s AIDS Foundation, an InStyle journalist asked Colfer how he felt about the sound going viral, and the Glee actor let loose.

“It started slowly,” he said, “I was like, this will go away in a day or two. But it just keeps going. It’s more like a viral infection at this point.


All that work and what did it get me? In this case an interview with the voice himself, #chriscolfer at the @Elton John AIDS Foundation #academyawards viewing party about how it feels to have his #glee sound go viral 14 years later! #EJAFOscars

♬ original sound – InStyle

The star also expressed surprise at how it felt listening to himself singing in a clip he’s stayed away from for 14 years. “I couldn’t believe how much rage I had in that little twink body,” Colfer said.

Honestly, we couldn’t either. But if there’s one thing about twinks, it’s that they can always be counted upon to belt a showstopping Sondheim number at the drop of a hat.

Here’s to the twinks who go viral, everybody laugh!

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