|Hold on to Sixteen|
|Season Three, Episode Eight|
|First Aired||December 6, 2011|
"I Kissed A Girl"
"Extraordinary Merry Christmas "
Quinn plans to get Shelby fired for sleeping with Puck. She wants to reclaim Beth and sabotage Shelby's rival glee club (The Troubletones) prior to Sectionals competition. Rachel insists that she will ruin Beth's life if she takes her from her true mother, Shelby
New Directions needs 12 members to compete, but only has nine with Rachel suspended from school. Finn and Rachel travel to Kentucky to ask Sam to come back to McKinley High for Sectionals. Unknown to his parents, Sam is dancing at a strip joint to help pay family expenses; he wants to return to McKinley, and his parents agree to let him go. He is then seen in the choir room performing Red Solo Cup with the other members. At the end of the performance Santana walks in and reads him a welcome back note from her notebook, stating that she has written one just in case he was ever coming back. In the hallway, Quinn attempts to reconnect with him to help her reclaim Beth, but he rebuffs her. For the two final performers they need to be able to compete, New Directions recruits its bassist and drummer to instead sing and dance.
Kurt and Blaine are at the Lima Bean when Sebastian interrupts them and joins them at the table. The Warblers revealed to have won their Sectionals. When Blaine goes to get more coffee, Kurt warns Sebastian to stay away from his boyfriend.
Tina is appalled when Mike tells her that he will not be applying to dance schools as planned, but has instead applied to Stanford's pre-med program to please his father. When she tries to argue with him, Mike is angered and tells her if she doesn't understand maybe they should break up. Tina tries to intervene with Mike's father, but he remains convinced that dancing is too risky a path for Mike.
After a brief argument in the choir room between Blaine and Sam, which resulted in Blaine storming out angrily, Finn walks in the McKinley gym to find Blaine boxing a punching bag, and he explains that he was in the Fight Club back at Dalton. He confronts Finn about the problems Finn has with him, to which Finn admits that he was jealous of him. The two make up. Sam approaches Mercedes in the hallway, and they have a conversation about their past relationship. Sam states that he is going to fight to win back Mercedes.
Tina goes to Mr. Chang's office and hands him a bootleg copy of McKinley's performance of West Side Story. Mr. Chang wants nothing to do with it. Tina reveals that Mike is doing what he hates just to appease his parents when he could be doing what he loves. Tina also reveals that she wants to be a performer some day, it's what she was born to do just as Mike was born to dance. She then turns to Mr.Chang and discusses honor with him, and how Mr. Chang does not honor Mike's gifts.
Sectionals this year are being held in the McKinley auditorium. Before the competitin the Troubletones come to see the New Directions and tell them they are welcome to joine the Troubletones after they lose, much the the New Directions' offense. Also Mike is angry at Tina for talking to his father. The Unitards—led by Harmony—perform first. Quinn leaves the auditorium to tell Principal Figgins about Shelby and Puck, but Rachel stops her and urges her to warn Shelby first. Quinn confronts Shelby, who tells her that she is resigning from McKinley and apologizes to her.
The Troubletones perform next, singing Survivor/I Will Survive. New Directions then performs ABC, Control and Man in the Mirror, and Mike and Tina are surprised to see Mike's father in the audience. Afterward, he tells the couple that he now understands that dancing is Mike's passion, and Mike should apply to the best dance schools. At first Mike is dissapointed because he missed the deadline, but Tina revealed she applied for him, causing Mike to proclaim his love for her in front of his father. At the judging process, the Unitards are crowned in third place, which Harmony is surprisingly proud to receive. She and Kurt talk before she walks off stage. Kurt believes Harmony is very talented, to which Harmony smiles at and reveals that she is only a sophomore so she's only going to improve. The Troubletones are then crowned second as New Directions are crowned first. The crowd slowly disperses and the group are left alone on stage as the lights dim.
Quinn decides not to reveal Shelby's secret for Beth's sake. Outside Figgin's office, Quinn thanks Rachel for stopping her from doing something she would have regretted her whole life, and the two become friends. Quinn then convinces Rachel and Mr. Schuester to promise to feature the Troubletones members in all future New Directions competitions if they agree to be in the group. Quinn then manages to convince Santana, Brittany and Mercedes to rejoin the New Directions, and the three of them, along with Sugar, join New Direction's performance of We Are Young in the auditorium.
The Troubletones show up in the auditorium and during We Are Young they start to sing and dance with the New Directions. Quinn waltzes Mercedes onto the stage, Sugar jumps onto Artie's lap, Rachel takes Santana by the hand and Brittany jumps into Rory's open arms. Eventually Will walks in and is surprised, yet happy at what he sees. Finally united and ready to take on the challenges ahead, New Directions celebrate with a massive group hug as the song ends.
- Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO. Danced to by Cobra, Mr. Package and Sam (White Chocolate).
- Red Solo Cup by Toby Keith. Sung by Sam with New Directions.
- Buenos Aires from Evita. Sung by Harmony with The Unitards.
- Survivor/I Will Survive by Destiny's Child/Gloria Gaynor. Sung by The Troubletones.
- Jackson Medley:
- We Are Young by Fun ft. Janelle Monáe. Sung by New Directions.
Special Guest Star
- John Schneider as Dwight Evans
- Chord Overstreet as Sam Evans
- Damian McGinty as Rory Flanagan
- Vanessa Lengies as Sugar Motta
- Keong Sim as Mike Chang Sr.
- Tanya Clarke as Mary Evans
- Lindsay Pearce as Harmony
- Grant Gustin as Sebastian Smythe
- ? as Brandy Englebert
- Joan Schwartz as Dorothy Saunders
- Scott Henson as Bass Player
- John Lock as Drummer
- The title refers to Sam's favorite lyric in John Mellencamp's song, Jack and Diane which he said to Quinn: "Hold on to Sixteen as long as you can"
- This is the first time we see Brittany and Santana holding hands.
- This is the second competition overall in which Rachel does not sing any lines as a solo. The first was in Special Education, the ninth episode of the second season.
- This is the first competition overall in which Tina and Mike sing solo lines.
- This is the first time that Quinn got three solos in an episode. (ABC, Control and We Are Young)
- This is the first time that Sam got three solos in an episode. (Red Solo Cup, Man in the Mirror and We Are Young)
- This is the second time that Quinn and Sam sing a solo at a competition (the first being I've Had the Time of My Life)
- The backdrop used during We Are Young, is the same one used in Dog Days Are Over. This was also sung after Sectionals in Special Education, to celebrate their win.
- This is the first time Sam sings in Season Three.
- This is the first Sectional competition that Mercedes, Santana and Brittany have lost. This is also Sugar's first competition and first loss.
- Sue is absent in this episode.
- This is one of three episodes submitted for the 2012 Emmys, the other two being "Asian F" and "Yes/No".
- Quinn states that she is 17 in this episode. However she also says "I'm an adult" and six episodes ago (I Am Unicorn) Shelby said "you're 18.". However, it's possible Shelby was a year off of Quinn's age.
- A cameraman can be seen during New Directions performance. Source
- A cameraman can be seen during the scene between Finn and Blaine.
- When Tina goes to see Mike's dad, when she is about to leave she picks up the DVD and then when she turns around again the DVD is sitting on the desk again.
- In We Are Young, Brittany and Santana are seen holding hands, but the next shot they are not. Also, Brittany goes from standing with Rory, to hugging Mike then back to standing with Rory. This action repeats twice.
- Right before the competition starts, Will says that The Troubletones are on in five minutes, but the Unitards go first.
- During Red Solo Cup, the Drummer is stacking cups and is on the second to last row with only one more cup to put on and standing up. A few shots later, he is sitting down again and he has a lot more cups to put in the tower. Also, when Puck is pushing Artie to the cup tower, a leaning cup can be seen but in the next shot there isn't any cup present.
- During Control, when Blaine is singing at the beginning his jacket goes from being unbuttoned to buttoned back to being unbuttoned, all in the span of about 15 seconds.
- During ABC, The Troubletones can be seen standing up but after Sam does the body roll, Mercedes is sitting down and so is the person next to her. But the next time the camera is on them, they are standing up.
- In the scene where Finn and Blaine are talking while Blaine is boxing, the punchbag is to the left of Blaine's body, Blaine however is punching forwards
- In We Are Young, Kurt is seen walking towards Mercedes, Santana, Brittany, and Sugar as if to greet them with Artie, Rory, and Quinn but when the scene cuts to them walking away, Kurt is n ot seen with them. Also, when Brittany and Rory are seen hugging, and Rory spins Brittany around. A sec ond , or two, later, they are seen putitng each others hands over each others shoudlers, and holding hands with the ir spare hands. This is done impossibly fast.
- During the beginning of Red Solo Cup, when Sam sings "If you prefer drinkin' from glass", first Quinn is shown drinking and suddenly she isn't drinking. Also Mike raised his left hand (maybe to sing "That's true") but then his hand isn't there.