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Naya Rivera’s tragic death has sent shockwaves through the world and, as Glee fans remember the stand-out star, one of her emotional performances has been met with a new surge of attention.
Rivera played fan-favorite Santana Lopez throughout Glee’s six seasons. The singer/actress tragically drowned while swimming in California's Lake Piru with her four-year-old son. The sheriff’s department shared that they believe that Rivera’s last act was saving her son, Josey, by getting him back on board the boat they were on. Now, in the wake of her passing, one of Rivera's key Glee performances has taken on new meaning.
Glee’s fifth season addressed the passing of star Cory Monteith, who played the beloved Finn Hudson on the musical dramedy, with an episodic tribute. The episode entitled “The Quarterback” saw members of the Glee club pay their respects to Monteith’s Finn, and Naya Rivera’s Santana was among them. Rivera sang The Band Perry’s breakout single, “If I Die Young” during the episode. Check it out:
I just got chills. It goes without saying that Naya Rivera had so much talent. As a massive fan of the show, I remember watching this episode of Glee when it originally aired and being incredibly moved by Rivera’s powerful performance of The Band Perry’s solemn tune. Sadly, it now rings with an entirely different meaning in the wake of Rivera’s own death.
On Glee, Naya Rivera’s performance of “If I Die Young” came as Santa mourned Finn. Before starting, Santana attempted to put an emotional distance between herself and the loss of Finn. Before the end of the song, she could no longer do that, breaking down as she reached its conclusion and running out of the room.
Kurt later came to comfort Santana, who hesitantly shared the words she was initially going to lead with heading into the performance. After helping Santana cope, Kurt gave her Finn’s letterman jacket. To know that Naya Rivera is also gone is just another heartbreaking blow. For her to sing “If I Die Young” is one of those strange art meets life coincidences.
In another tragic conincidence, Naya Rivera’s body was recovered on the seven-year anniversary of Cory Monteith’s passing. Monteith’s mom has since posted a beautiful tribute to Rivera on social media.
You can currently stream Naya Rivera’s many memorable performances as both an actor and a singer as Santana on Netflix. We here at CinemaBlend also continue to extend our thoughts to Naya Rivera's loved ones during this difficult time.