Surely, reviews about the musical episode of ABC's Grey's Anatomy will be mixed, as they often are for any type of big risk that isn't hands down brilliant. Grey's did a lot of things right. They stuck to the style of music their fans are accustomed to, indeed, using many of the songs made famous by Grey's promos. They also let their strongly gifted actors sing, while not forcing the entire cast to participate musically. As for complaints, I could see some saying there is too much music. Ten songs are used in the hour, compared to four to six for a normal episode of Glee. But overall, I'm pretty pleased.
The best songs are the crowd pleasers, of course. Big ensemble performances of Jesus Jackson's "Running on Sunshine" and THE Grey's anthem, The Fray's "How to Save a Life", are a visual and auditory delight. The weakest point, in my opinion, is the very first. I have complained lately of shows jettisoning their theme songs. Grey's theme, "Cosy In the Rocket", was abandoned long ago. But the series only teased by letting a few lines of the song be sung just before the title card. This is the perfect opportunity to bring it back, at least for one episode, and instead, they only allow a small taste.
Sara Ramirez, who plays Dr. Callie Torres, is at the center of the episode, as she is badly injured in a car wreck, and the one hallucinating the singing as the staff tries to save the life of her and her unborn child. Ramirez won a Tony for her performance in Spamalot on Broadway, so it is no surprise that she sings in seven of the ten numbers. Her biggest highlight is probably The Story, made famous by Brandi Carlile, where Sara shows her true range and belting capabilities. Plus, the cut shots throughout the song made it look neat.
Other featured players are Kevin McKidd as Dr. Owen Hunt and Chyler Leigh as Dr. Lexie Grey, who both have their own solos, as well as participating in group numbers. Chandra Wilson's Miranda Bailey and Jessica Capshaw's Arizona sang in multiple songs, but didn't have their own. Other actors, like Justin Chambers (Alex Karev), Eric Dane (Mark Sloan), Scott Foley (Henry), and Daniel Sunjata (Eli) only get the briefest of moments, which is more than Sandra Oh or James Pickens Jr. did. Sarah Drew's April is somewhere in the middle ground, getting to sing in several songs, but never really being featured. But it works out, because if they are bad singers, we don't want to hear them anyway (I'm looking at you, Alyson Hanigan, whom I adore, but whose "This line's mostly filler" may have been the most out of tune moment in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode.)