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Cory Monteith Tribute Episode: Glee Cast Sings Rent’s “Seasons of Love” in Opening Scene: Video

Cory Monteith’s tribute episode had powerful performances, heartbreaking scenes and the return of old faces, but it also proved something that will always ring true for the Glee cast — Monteith will forever be their quarterback on and off set. As the actors said their goodbyes in a tearful one-hour show Thursday night, it was clear that the stars weren’t necessarily “acting” as they delivered emotional musical numbers in honor of their late friend. 

Related: PHOTOS: Stars gone too soon

In the opening scene, the cast — including returning stars Mark Salling (Puck) and Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang) — came together to sing Rent’s “Seasons of Love” on the McKinley High auditorium stage. Without Lea Michele (Rachel), the group dressed all in black for a chilling and stunning performance.

Related: PHOTOS: Stars we've lost in 2013

The cast then gathered and turned their backs to reveal a screen with Monteith on it dressed in his quarterback uniform from Season 1. As the song drew to a close, the Glee logo appeared replacing the “L” with a white figure of the late Canadian actor from his iconic and memorable “Don’t Stop Believin'” scene in Episode 1 of the series.

Related: PHOTOS: Love lives of Glee stars

Glee Seasons of Love
The McKinley High family remembers Finn Hudson on stage singing “Seasons of Love” in the opening number.

Glee’s opening number and others that followed didn’t take multiple shots to film. “Almost everything in that episode is from the first take of every performance because the actors and the crew had a really hard time shooting it,” creator Ryan Murphy previously revealed to USA Today. “I’ve never seen a crew that you can’t continue shooting because they’ve left the room sobbing. It was very hard. I struggled even working on it because what they felt, not just about Finn but Cory. It’s amazing performances across the board.” He added: “Everybody went into it with a lot of love.”

Watch the touching clip now!

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