After six seasons, Glee airs its series finale on Friday.
Things have changed a lot for our core cast, with many of them going on to star in films (Lea Michele, Dianna Agron) or even become New York Times bestselling authors (Chris Colfer) while still calling Glee their home.
However, even superstars need their first big break – see below for the very first auditions from your Glee faves.
Lea Michele and Rachel Berry Are One
Michele, 28, was born to play Rachel Berry. Even in her very first audition, the actress just couldn’t keep herself from emulating the bossy diva we know and love. “That was my serious moment,” she admonished the room. “I’m going to do it all again and I want you all to cry!”
Kevin McHale Didn’t Know Any More Words to "Let It Be"
After cutting the first verse of “Let It Be” in half because the song was too long for his audition, the casting manager wanted McHale, 26, to continue singing – but he didn’t know any more words.
Dianna Agron Was "Very Nervous" About Singing "Fly Me to the Moon"
Of all the Glee hopefuls, Agron, 28, seemed the most nervous about her audition. However, her sweet rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” (and her ability to channel a mean girl) earned her the role of Quinn Fabray.
Jenna Ushkowitz Had to Just Keep Swimming
Ushkowitz totally messed up during her audition, and she knew it, too. Calling the experience “really intense,” the actress, 28, did a cut of the song “Waiting for Life” from the play Once on This Island that wasn’t up to snuff: “Afterwards, [the casting agent] was like, ‘Maybe you should think of a better cut next time.’ ” Yikes. Still, though, she won the part and has been playing Tina Cohen-Chang ever since.
Chris Colfer and Amber Riley Thought Their Auditions Were "Atrocious"
Colfer, 24, was so nervous about his audition that he “blacked out” afterward, apologizing to the camera for “whatever [the audition tape] may contain.” Colfer also claimed that his audition gave him a “pre-diarrhea” feeling (and thanks for that visual!).
He performed “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago, and Riley, 29, performed “And I Am Telling You” from Dreamgirls. Despite their nerves, they both killed it – obviously. Both Colfer and Riley have been on the show for its entire run.
Cory Monteith Was "Reluctant" to Send in a Tape of Himself Singing
Monteith acted in his first audition tape for Glee, and the producers liked him so much that they made him send a tape of himself singing. Though he was “reluctant,” he opted for REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” which ended up making it into the pilot.
Sadly, Monteith died in a Vancouver hotel room at 31 in advance of the show’s fifth season, but he was a beloved mainstay up until that point.
Glee‘s series finale airs Friday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.