When the news broke that Naya Rivera had gone missing on July 8, 2020, the internet showed an outpouring of love, hope, and determination.
The "Glee" community, fans and cast alike joined together to share comfort and fond memories as the search went underway, and that energy was maintained until searches came to a close on Monday the 13 with the discovery of her body. It was not the ending anyone hoped for, but her family and friends deserved to have that closure.
Now, as we all reflect on the powerful and profound life that Naya lived, here are 11 of her "Glee" performances as Santana Lopez that will live on forever.
1. "Say A Little Prayer"
"Say A Little Prayer" was Naya Rivera's first performance on "Glee", and this was when she truly established herself on the show. Though she sings backup vocals here, her performance is still captivating given her storytelling abilities, and this is part of what made her so enthralling as a character.
Rivera's performance of "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac remains one of her most powerful. This performance came after Santana's struggle to come to terms with her sexuality, which is a major reason why her character resonated with LGBTQ fans.
Her character's struggle was real and candid, and the "mean girl" persona that had been carried on thus far in the show was stripped down during this song, revealing a more raw side to Santana.
3. "Smooth Criminal"
With "Smooth Criminal", Naya was the epitome of power and confidence. She glides through the scene in an almost effortless manner, and she sports a suit that matches the energy she exudes.
Naya was an absolute powerhouse with her performance of Amy Winehouse's "Valerie". The song truly showed off the extent of her vocal abilities, and this is easily one of the most stunning performances.
5. "Girl On Fire"
Another powerhouse performance from Rivera, "Girl On Fire" again showcased her jaw-dropping vocal abilities. Living up to Alicia Keys' strong vocals is hard, but Rivera held her own and made her performance of the song just as legendary as the original. Moreover, the song is such an embodiment of female empowerment, and Santana's rendition is nothing less.
6. "Don't Rain On My Parade"
With "Don't Rain On My Parade", Naya as Santana Lopez captivated the Broadway theater stage, proving that she was more than she seemed.
In this scene, Santana grabs the director's attention and commands that she is taken seriously- her voice alone is enough to make anyone do just that.
7. "Here Comes The Sun"
"Here Comes The Sun" was one of my personal favorites when it comes to Santana's songs. This performance was simple, short, and sweet, yet somehow incredibly moving.
Demi and Naya's voices join together perfectly in this duet, making the entire thing feel blissful and light.
Pairing the song "Mine" by Taylor Swift with Santana and Brittany's breakup scene was heart-wrenching, and this performance remains one of the most emotionally provocative.
Rivera's voice is full of raw emotion, and her performance is insanely convincing as if she herself was going through the breakup rather than her character.
Naya Rivera's ability to instill so much feeling into every word she sang is something that, personally, will stick with me forever.
Similar to her performance of "Landslide", Santana sang "Songbird" to Brittany as a means of expressing her feelings. This was often the case between the pair, and it made for many extremely heartfelt and emotional performances.
10. "River Deep, Mountain High"
Though Santana was not the star of the show in this performance, she still found a way to capture attention with her solos. Her voice is unwavering, and she exudes such confidence as she steps up.
This was another one of Naya's powerhouse performances that just goes to show her sheer talent as both a singer and an actress.
11. "If I Die Young"
"If I Die Young" is Naya's performance that is currently being spoken about the most because of the terrible circumstances of this past week. Santana sang this song in the episode that served as a memorial for Cory Monteith's character Finn Hudson, following Cory's tragic death.
Naya's emotion really comes through here, and she even breaks down into tears partway through the song. Watching this performance now is heartbreaking to a whole new level as everyone comes to terms with this immense loss.
Naya Rivera was a force to be reckoned with, as a mother, an influencer, an actress, and a musician. Everywhere she went in life there was such a power about her, and that energy will always live on.
She had such a positive impact on so many people who grew up watching her role as Santana on "Glee", many of whom were coming to terms with their sexuality as Santana did the same on the show. She was truly a role model who encouraged her followers and fans to accept themselves and accept others as well, and her optimistic and grateful outlook on life changed the lives of so many.
In honor of Naya Rivera, who will never be forgotten. We miss you already.