19 Best Naya Rivera 'Glee' Songs As Santana

Rest in Peace Naya Rivera.

19 Best Naya Rivera 'Glee' Songs As Santana Tinseltown / shutterstock.com

Naya Rivera was a former Glee castmate that tragically passed away in a drowning accident.

Rivera went boating out on Lake Piru with her son Josey. Her 4-year-old son claimed that she went swimming in the lake and did not return back to the boat. Her son was found stranded on the boat after the time the rental boat was supposed to be returned on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. When authorities came to investigate, they found Josey alone in the boat.


Due to the darkness, the search for Naya was postponed for the following morning and her body was not found until July 13, which is also the anniversary of her Glee costar Cory Monteith’s death.

Naya's passing is incredibly heartbreaking and we must send love and prayers to her friends and family in this difficult time. 

RELATED: Sad Details & Theories About What Happened To Naya Rivera

Naya Rivera is well known for playing Santana on the popular musical show, Glee, which ran from 2009 until 2015. Although it is important to pay our respects to Naya Rivera as a person and mother, we can't help but  acknowledge how influential her role on Glee was.


A Latina playing a queer character who inspired so many people in the LGBTQ+ and Latinx community who felt that their voices should be heard. She represented these communities and fought to play a character that had a storyline that was deep and meaningful.

She paved the way for queer Latinx kids and made the communities visible through the role of Santana.

To remember Naya Rivera, let's look back at the 19 best Santana Glee songs.

1. Valerie 

Naya Rivera singing “Valerie” has to be the number one song on the list.


If you can dominate an Amy Winehouse song then you deserve respect for it.

Naya is a powerhouse with this song and her vocals are simply perfection.

2. Smooth Criminal

“Smooth Criminal” has always been one of my favorite underrated Glee covers.

Not only does Naya do an excellent job, but her singing with Grant Gustin is a match made in heaven.


Although, Santana was right at the end because she was better. There is also so much energy in the song with the cellos in the background that you can’t help but want to dance along.

3. If I Die Young 

Naya Rivera sang “If I Die Young” in the episode titled “The Quarterback” which pays respect to Cory Monteith’s death.

Santana sings this song in honor of Finn but with Naya not with us anymore, this song takes on a new meaning and a new level of sadness.


Aside from it being absolutely heart-wrenching to watch, you have to admire that Naya can sing such a gorgeous song in such a simply moving way.

4. Mine

Naya’s “Mine” cover of the Taylor Swift song is such a fun and loving Glee song. First off, who doesn’t love a Taylor Swift moment?

However, what makes this song so amazing is that Naya Rivera and Heather Morris both put so much emotional depth into this song.


It is the perfect cover for people that love Brittany and Santana as a couple.

5. If I Can't Have You

Naya Rivera has excellent vocals in “If I Can’t Have You” and it is just such a fun and upbeat song.

I love how Glee has songs from so many different genres and the Bee Gees disco classic is so exciting to see performed.


The disco floor is just the cherry on top of Naya’s exhilarating performance.

6. Cold-Hearted

“Cold Hearted” will always be a memorable cover for all Glee lovers. The dancing and choreography in this Paula Abdul cover is unforgettable and stunning.

Not only is the dancing incredible, but Naya’s singing is also amazing.


7. Songbird

“Songbird” is another great and emotional performance by Naya Rivera. It is a song where she is trying to convey her romantic feelings to Brittany but is still too scared to come out of the closet to everyone. It feels like a private and intimate moment between Santana and Brittany that is beautiful to watch.

She doesn’t overdo or exaggerate her emotions too much and it comes off as so sincere and honest. When Santana feels something, the audience does as well. Santana is such a strong character but this song shows how vulnerable, soft, and scared she can be as well.

8. Rumor Has It / Someone Like You

Glee mashups were always very fun and the mashup of Adele’s “Rumor Has It” and “Someone Like You” is an iconic one. The solos from Brittany and Mercedes are also a highlight of this song. What makes it so amazing is that each performer is really putting their raw emotions into this performance.


Naya’s character is extra rilled up during this song because Finn tells everyone that she is a lesbian and basically forces her to come out of the closet. Naya’s impressive acting doesn’t stop when the song ends because after she comes off stage and yells at Finn and even slaps him in the face.

RELATED: Details About Naya Rivera's Ex-Husband Ryan Dorsey, The Father Of Her Son

9. Girl On Fire

Alicia Keys' song “Girl on Fire” is a great cover for Naya Rivera. She is a force to be reckoned with in this song and her belts are insane. Right before this song, she and Brittany have a conversation about how they should both go their separate ways because they are both in other relationships.


However, due to Santana’s emotion in this song, it is evident that she is deeply in love with Brittany and it is difficult to leave her behind. Although, her conversation with Brittany inspires Santana to get a fresh start and move to New York.

10. Back To Black 

“Back to Black” is another amazing Amy Winehouse song that Naya does a wonderful job singing. She really gives it her all for this performance.

Throughout the series, Naya always proves she can sing any song by any performer and often match them and this is one of those songs where she is right on par with Winehouse.


11. River Deep, Mountain High

12. Here Comes The Sun 

“Here Comes the Sun” is a cover of the popular song by the Beatles. It happens in Season 5 of the show when Santana dates her co-worker Dani, played by Demi Lovato.

It is a nice and calming cover and Naya and Demi Lovato’s voices mix so well together.

13. Don't Rain On My Parade 


“Don’t Rain on My Parade” is a classic Glee cover. Rachel (Lea Michele) does an excellent cover of the Barbara Streisand song in an earlier season. However, Naya Rivera really makes this song her own and adapts it to fit her vocal range. I would even say that she does a better job of it than Lea Michele.

Naya is able to hit the high notes without it sounding like it strains her voice but also sings the song in a very unique way.

14. America

“America” is a classic song from West Side Story that all theatre kids enjoy. This is a fun rendition of the song because it genuinely sounds like the glee club is performing a high school version of the musical in a way that works.


The accents in the song aren’t perfected but it just works well for what they are trying to capture.

15. Bad Romance 

“Bad Romance” is such an upbeat and quirky Lady Gaga song. Their costumes just fit that offbeat vibe that Lady Gaga has and it is so fun to watch. However, Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Santana (Naya Rivera) totally steal the show with their solos.

It is a favorite that all Gleeks love singing along to.


16. Doo Wop (That Thing)

“Doo Wop (That Thing)” by Lauryn Hill is another amazing cover featured in Season 5 sung by Mercedes and Santana. Once again, their voices go so well together and they are an unstoppable duo. In this episode, Mercedes asks Santana for her help with her music video on her first album.

Santana comes up with an excellent idea to film this music video in a very underground New York way. They decide to film it in the basement of a building and it definitely gives it that raw and edgy New York style Mercedes was looking for.

17. Trouty Mouth

“Trouty Mouth” is a jokey song that Santana wrote to make fun of Sam’s big lips. It is just a funny song where Santana gets to make fun of Sam, played by Chord Overstreet, but it is just exciting to see how proud she is of this jazzy song where she just disses him the whole time.


Not only does her voice sound amazing singing jazz, but it is so much fun to see Santana commit to the joke.

18. So Emotional

“So Emotional” is a Whitney Houston cover featured in Season 3. Santana sings the song with Lea Michele and their voices also sound so powerful together. What makes it fun is that the two characters don’t really get along so it is nice to see them team up finally and put their differences aside.

After they are done singing, Rachel tells Santana that they should have tried to get along earlier so they could have performed more duets together.


19. Hand In My Pocket / I Feel The Earth Move

“Hand In My Pocket / I Feel The Earth Move” is another iconic Glee mashup from the artists Alanis Morissette and Carole King. It is performed by Santana and Brittany, so it is another great song for the fans that love them as a couple.

At the end of the song, Santana surprises Brittany by proposing to her in front of the Glee club. It is a beautiful cover that just ends in an even more beautiful way.

RELATED: 31 Best Naya Rivera Quotes On Life, Love, & Being Proud To Be Yourself


Jaycee Levin is a writer who covers pop culture, astrology, and relationship topics.