(played by Lea Michele)
The day Rachel Berry's two gay fathers welcomed her into their lives, a star was born. At least, that's what this lead vocalist has been telling herself since she won her first dance competition at 3 months old. Despite constant bullying by the cheerleaders (known as the Cheerios)—and an occasional slushie facial—this sophomore is confident, driven and dead set on making it on Broadway. Rachel's obsession with solos and stardom often annoy fellow glee clubbers, especially rival divas Mercedes and Kurt.
Her one weakness? Finn, the popular quarterback who joins the glee club and sings his way into her heart. When Finn chooses his (cheating) girlfriend over her, Rachel has a brief fling with the school's bad boy, Noah "Puck" Puckerman. After watching Schindler's List, Puck decides he wants to date Rachel, the only other Jewish member of the glee club, but, ultimately, their frenzied make-out sessions fizzle.
(played by Cory Monteith)
From the first moment Gleeks (the adopted nickname of hardcore Glee fans) saw McKinley High quarterback Finn Hudson sing in the locker room shower, we knew there was a High School Musical–inspired struggle brewing. Will the popular jock have to choose between his love of athletics and his passion for rock ballads? Thankfully, no. Finn finds time to do both.
When he's not singing, dancing awkwardly or playing football, you can usually find Finn on the arm of his cheating, pregnant-by-his-best-friend girlfriend, Quinn. At first, Quinn tells Finn she's having his baby (even though they two have never technically had sex), but right before a big glee club competition, Rachel tells him the truth. Rachel's motives are a little selfish—she's been in love with Finn since he first joined New Directions.
(played by Amber Riley)
If you like your songstresses sassy, super talented and temperamental, Mercedes Jones is the glee club diva for you. She belts out Whitney and Aretha with the best of them. Plus, she designs the club's costumes. However, don't mess with Mercedes, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. This 16-year-old daughter of a dentist just might bust the windows out your car.
(played by Chris Colfer)
The Supremes had Diana Ross. Destiny's Child had Beyoncé. And New Directions has Kurt Hummel, the most fabulous, fashionable glee club diva ever seen on TV. After his mother died, Kurt was raised by his father, a manly mechanic who loves football. Kurt, on the other hand, prefers couture to cars, and his biggest contribution to the school's football program involved a choreographed dance routine to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies." In Episode 4, Kurt bravely tells his father he's gay, which he says he's known since Kurt was a child.
At school, Kurt often clashes with the glee club's rival soprano, Rachel. These two share more than vocal range. They both also have a weakness for all things Finn.
(played by Dianna Agron)
Quinn Fabray was once the most popular—and most feared—girl at McKinley High. Think Mean Girls, only with pompoms. Quinn was the head Cheerio—the quarterback's (Finn) girlfriend, president of the Celibacy Club and the archenemy of all outcasts and unpopular kids. Then, after a not-so-innocent encounter with Puck, her boyfriend's best friend, she ends up pregnant at 16. At first, Quinn tricks Finn into thinking it's his baby, but he eventually learns the shocking truth and ends their relationship.
When news of her unplanned pregnancy gets out, she's kicked off the cheerleading squad and kicked out of her house. The only people there for her at her darkest hour? Members of New Directions, a group she originally plotted to destroy alongside the Cheerios coach, Sue Sylvester.
(played by Kevin McHale)
When Artie Abrams was 8 years old, he and his mom were involved in a serious car accident. She escaped unscathed, but Artie has been paralyzed from the waist down ever since. But nothing—not even a wheelchair—can slow Artie's flow. This confident, suspender-wearing singer teaches everyone in the glee club to glide across the dance floor in wheelchairs and riffs on the guitar during rock numbers. He also has a brief romance with fellow glee club member Tina, but after she confesses she faked a stutter, he leaves her in the dust.
Noah "Puck" Puckerman
(played by Mark Salling)
Every high school glee club needs a mohawk-sporting bad boy to mix things up. Enter Noah "Puck" Puckerman. This jock is notorious for sleeping with "cougars," throwing slushies at those he bullies and cuckolding his best friend, Finn. Puck slept with Finn's chaste girlfriend, Quinn, and got her pregnant. Deep down, Puck seems to genuinely care for Quinn, but that doesn't stop him from hooking up with anyone in a cheerleading skirt...and Rachel, the only other Jewish person in the glee club. It's possible that there's a softer side to Puck (one who plays the guitar, provides for his unborn child and wants to be better than his deadbeat dad), but only time will tell.
(played by Jenna Ushkowitz)
Don't underestimate Tina, a shy, insecure teen who started faking a stutter in the sixth grade so people would leave her alone. When she steps onstage, she shines. After coming into her own in the glee club, Tina stopped faking a disability and started auditioning for solos. Secretly, Tina has feelings for Artie, but she may have ruined her chances with him by lying about her stutter. For now, they're friends. Tina also sets herself apart by listening to speed metal, dressing goth and streaking her hair with blue dye.
(played by Jessalyn Gilsig)
If Quinn hadn't gotten pregnant, she may have grown up to become Terri Schuester
, Will's manipulative wife. Terri, a former cheerleader, and Will started dating in high school, and for years, she had him wrapped around her little finger. Then, at the first sign of marital trouble, Terri decided there was only one solution to their problems—a baby. Albeit, a fake baby.
For months, Terri faked a pregnancy to keep Will close and plotted to adopt Quinn's child. As they often do, the fake-pregnancy deception backfired. Will discovered Terri was lying and left her.
(played by Jayma Mays)
Even teachers can get school-girl crushes. Emma Pillsbury, the guidance counselor known for her obsessive fear of germs and old-fashioned sensibilities, spends most of the school year crushing on Will Schuester. When it seems like all hope for romance is lost (he's married and expecting a fake baby, after all), Emma agrees to marry Ken Tanaka, the P.E. teacher with a wardrobe full of short-shorts.
Emma says yes to marriage, but she isn't keen on Ken touching her. When Ken finally realizes he'll always come second to Will, he stands her up at the altar. Emma comes close to quitting her job and leaving McKinley High...until Will stops her in the most heart-racing moment we've experienced since Johnny rescued Baby from her corner.
Santana, Brittany, Mike and Matt
The fierce foursome of Santana, Brittany, Mike and Matt makes up the rest of New Directions. We don't know much about these glee clubbers yet, but their stories are starting to take shape. We do know that, at first, Santana and Brittany were forced to join the glee club by their cheerleading coach, tyrant Sue Sylvester. Sue wanted these Cheerios to act as spies, but they eventually fell under Mr. Schue's melodic spell. Brittany epitomizes the dumb blonde stereotype, while Santana is known for "sexting" with Puck. Mike—called "other Asian" by Sue—is a jock who can pop and lock, and Matt is another football player who chose singing over sports.
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