The “Riverdale” Musical Numbers, Ranked From Worst To Best
From the very beginning of Riverdale, musical numbers have been embedded in the DNA of the show.
Whether it’s one-off performances or whole musical episodes, Riverdale isn’t afraid to get over-the-top, cheesy and, at times, even emotional with its music. But not all of the numbers were created equally. Here is a ranking of the most significant musical performances on Riverdale, from Season 1 through to the end of Season 4…
“Exquisite Corpse” — Season 4, Episode 17
The musical episodes of Riverdale can be extremely hit or miss, with the plot and characters being twisted to fit songs that don’t necessarily make the most sense for them (not that anything ever really makes sense on Riverdale). The emotions of this song, sung by Jughead, Archie, Betty and Veronica, fit the turmoil the characters are going through in this moment – but the performance is pretty cringe-worthy.
“Evening Prayers” — Season 2, Episode 18
Alice Cooper going full Margaret White is kind of delightful — but the most memorable part of this number is Midge’s murdered corpse being revealed in the middle of it, on stage, in front of everyone. Not fun.
“Sufferin’ Till Suffrage” — Season 2, Episode 16
You probably don’t remember this performance, and with good reason. It’s bad.
“Carrie” — Season 2, Episode 18
Bless Cheryl, she tries her hardest here, but the song isn’t quite right for her voice. She sure does look pretty in pink, though!
“Dead Girl Walking” — Season 3, Episode 16
Riverdale tends to cross the line frequently when it comes to sexualising its teen characters. This song, in which a heartbroken Toni almost has a threesome in the school auditorium, is uncomfortable, most especially because it feels like an attempt to titillate rather than explore Toni’s emotions.
“Lifeboat” — Season 3, Episode 16
Veronica is sad and sings a sad song and it’s all very boring.
“Our Love Is God” – Season 3, Episode 16
This scene is striking, but the whole Farm plotline was a mess, especially Kevin joining. Cult vibes are not cute.
“Random Number Generation” — Season 4, Episode 17
A song in which the creators remembered that these characters are high school students and meant to be worrying about school and stuff! Except they literally never do at any other time, so the performance feels weirdly out of place.
“All That Jazz” — Season 4, Episode 2
Here’s a performance in which the creators definitely forgot the characters were high school students. This number also turns Cheryl and Toni into Veronica’s back-up dancers, which is frankly insulting because they’re icons.
“In” — Season 2, Episode 18
The problem with the ensemble songs in the musical episodes is that the cast’s voices don’t all suit this style of music and don’t blend together particularly well. This is probably one of the worst instances of that.
“Fight For Me” — Season 3, Episode 16
Ugh, remember when Josie and Archie were a thing? I’m sure most of us would rather not. It’s one of the most awkward pairings in the show’s history, with the complete lack of chemistry transferring to this lackluster duet.
“The World According To Chris” — Season 2, Episode 18
This song fits Veronica’s character, but the performance is just a bit eh. Sorry Ronnie.
“You Shine” — Season 2, Episode 18
Archie and Betty have a few duets and this is their worst – and whiniest.
“Daddy Lessons” — Season 3, Episode 21
Veronica’s whole daddykins schtick is super icky and this number really embodies that. Nothing like singing about your daddy issues while said daddy beats your boyfriend to a pulp!
“Big Fun” – Season 3, Episode 16
Some parts of this ensemble piece are fun, some are very bad, and a few are extremely cultish. Which is appropriate, considering it’s part of the Farm plot. But it makes it less big fun.
“These Are the Moments I Remember” — Season 1, Episode 13
The song is fine but it has Archie taking centre stage over Josie, of Josie and the Pussycats. No thank you.
“Union of the Snake” — Season 2, Episode 11
This was the brief moment the Pussycats aligned with Veronica over Josie. It was a bad move on their part, as highlighted in this performance.
“People Like Us” — Season 3, Episode 12
Another Josie and Archie duet. It’s better than their other one. But not great.
“Out Tonight” — Season 2, Episode 5
There’s something incredibly awkward and detached about this performance. Unfortunately as a team Josie and Veronica don’t quite mesh together.
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” — Season 2, Episode 9
Josie and Kevin’s rendition of this song is quite sweet! It’s totally jarring in an episode of Riverdale, but weirder things have happened (see: most of this list).
“The Origin of Love” — Season 4, Episode 17
This is a pretty cute performance, if you ignore the fact that Archie and Betty are totally cheating on their partners/betraying their best friends. Ahem.
“Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” — Season 4, Episode 9
Riverdale loves to juxtapose an upbeat musical number with a violent fight scene. This song feels pretty appropriate, and Kevin and Veronica seem to have a lot of fun with it.
“Beautiful” — Season 3, Episode 16
One of the better ensemble pieces, although far from the best.
“Unsuspecting Hearts” — Season 2, Episode 18
A simple duet from Cheryl and Josie, and not a bad one – Cheryl almost manages to match Josie’s level, but doesn’t quite get there.
“Eres Tú” — Season 3, Episode 10
This is quite a nice, if very short, number from Veronica, although the mood is kinda dragged down by the fact that it triggers trauma flashbacks in her boyfriend.
“Sugar Daddy” — Season 4, Episode 17
Just one of the many, many instances of the girls of Riverdale singing inappropriately sexual songs around adult men. This time, their principal! It’s gross, but Cheryl and Toni keep it light and fun, and don’t push it over the line…at least, not very far.
“Wig in a Box” — Season 4, Episode 17
The performance of this song is pretty well done, and it’s nice that the show finally remembered to give Kevin something to do. But the ~togetherness~ moment with this particular group does feel a bit forced.
“Maybe This Time” — Season 3, Episode 9
A sweet, if not powerful, rendition of “Maybe This Time” by Veronica – her stunning costume alone earns her points.
“Tear Me Down” — Season 4, Episode 17
A fantastic moment for Kevin, who gets more screentime in this episode than he did in the entire previous season. It’s a super fun performance, and it’s hard to choose the best moment – although Kevin kissing Archie, adding to the tally of characters the latter has locked lips with, is up there.
“Stay Here Instead” — Season 2, Episode 18
Alice Cooper doing her Margaret White best, only this time with a very much alive Midge! It’s weird and random but very entertaining.
“Wicked Little Town” — Season 4, Episode 17
This is one of the musical episode numbers that actually feels right for the wider plot, and is performed pretty well by the cast. The highlight is probably the reprise, though, when Betty and Archie relive their pilot episode dance.
“Cherry Bomb” — Season 4, Episode 10
It was only a matter of time before Cheryl got to screech out “Cherry Bomb”. It’s the perfect song for her. And while once again it gets uncomfortably sexual, overall it’s a high-energy and memorable performance.
“Bittersweet Symphony” — Season 2, Episode 12
This is one of the weirder musical moments on the show (and that’s saying something). Why Veronica sings “Bittersweet Symphony” in church for her confirmation remains a mystery. It’s the kind of bad that’s kind of good? You certainly can’t look away from it.
“You’ll Never Walk Alone” — Season 2, Episode 19
Only Riverdale could have its characters perform in all-black cheer uniforms for another character’s funeral. It’s probably more hilarious than it should be, but it’s also strangely compelling.
“A Night We’ll Never Forget” — Season 2, Episode 18
It’s so cheesy and on the nose, but you know what, it works.
“Do Me A Favor” — Season 2, Episode 18
This is one of the more entertaining performances from the Carrie musical episode, and Betty and Veronica’s chemistry especially shines. Plus the characters all look great in their ’70s get-ups.
“Midnight Radio” — Season 4, Episode 17
As someone who waited four whole seasons to see The Archies actually perform together as The Archies, this was a very exciting moment. It would have been better if they were performing an actual Archies song, but this is Riverdale and we never get exactly what we want.
“Anything Goes” — Season 3, Episode 3
Riverdale never really knew quite what to do with Josie, although giving her solo musical performances in La Bonne Nuit in Season 3 was perhaps as close as they came. This is a sultry performance that serves as a reminder that Josie, by far, is the strongest singer in the whole damn place.
“Dream Warriors” — Season 3, Episode 4
This song gets bonus points for taking place in one of – if not the – best episodes of Riverdale. That’s right, it’s the flashback episode, in which the main cast-members play the younger versions of their parents. The whole thing – including this song – makes no sense but it sure is a blast, which is about the best you can expect from Riverdale.
“We Don’t Need Another Hero” — Season 3, Episode 13
Ah, another musical number-slash-fight scene combo! This one is excellent. Josie’s rendition of “We Don’t Need Another Hero” is wonderful and it actually fits the story really well.
“Back to Black” — Season 3, Episode 19
Josie performing “Back to Black” in THAT dress is honestly divine. No complaints.
“Candy Store” — Season 3, Episode 16
This is definitely one of best numbers from Riverdale’s many musical episodes, mainly because it works so well for the character. Cheryl was born to sing this song, in that outfit. It’s great.
“I’ll Try” — Season 1, Episode 6
Look, it’s a whiney sad boy song from Archie. There’s not much to it. But – and maybe it’s the nostalgia talking – it’s quite effective, especially when Archie locks eyes with Fred. YES it made me cry. And I have no regrets (that’s a lie, I have many regrets where Riverdale is concerned).
“Amazing Grace” — Season 4, Episode 1
Luke Perry’s death was heartbreaking, but this tribute to him and his character was beautiful. The Riverdale creators showed a rare but much-needed amount of restraint, keeping things simple but moving. A fitting send-off for a character and actor that is sadly missed.
“I Feel Love” — Season 1, Episode 6
It’s a real shame that Josie and the Pussycats were so underused and ultimately written off, because they did provide most of the best musical moments in the whole show. This was the first time they teamed up with Veronica, and it was the most impactful.
“All For Me” — Season 1, Episode 3
Josie and the Pussycats in all their glory! A catchy number that feels organic and not forced. Riverdale needs to return to this kind of performance.
“Seventeen” – Season 3, Episode 16
This is an ensemble performance from a musical episode that is actually very good. The song itself fits the plot and the characters well, and their voices blend together nicely. It’s high-key great.
“Milkshake” — Season 2, Episode 2
A boppy, poppy reinterpretation of “Milkshake” that inexplicably takes place on the roof of Pop’s. Iconic. Riverdale music at its finest.
“All Through The Night” — Season 1, Episode 1
Another straightforward but fantastic performance from Josie and the Pussycats. This really set the tone for the musical nature of the show, and if it has since wavered from this standard, it was magical for a while there.
“Mad World” — Season 2, Episode 8
Okaaaay, hear me out. This is a TERRIBLE example of Riverdale sexualising its teen characters, as Betty does the saddest striptease ever to a room full of bikers and her MOTHER while singing a very dreary version of “Mad World”. But!!!!! IT’S SO WEIRDLY ADDICTIVE. I’m so sorry. I can’t quite explain it. All I know is it was stuck in my head for literally weeks after the episode aired. I’m ashamed to admit how much I love this version of the song, but I’ve got to be honest. I mean, it earns a spot in the top five for being memorable, if nothing else.
“Kids in America” — Season 1, Episode 11
Is this the best musical performance on Riverdale? Obviously not. Is it even the third best musical performance on Riverdale? Well, no, not technically. But it’s just so fun. It’s hard not to smile while watching it. It’s been a long time since I felt that way watching Riverdale! Hey, it’s my ranking and I’m sticking with it.
“Candy Girl (Sugar Sugar)” — Season 1, Episode 2
While The Archies have yet to perform an Archies song, Josie and the Pussycats did! With their own modern take on it. It was a lovely little nod to fans as well as being a great performance in its own right.
“Jailhouse Rock” — Season 3, Episode 2
It makes no sense! It’s a total hot mess! And yet I found myself rewatching Veronica, Cheryl and the Vixens performing “Jailhouse Rock” for an imprisoned Archie and his jail-mates at least 27 times after it was aired. It’s pure Riverdale insanity, and you know what, it’s 100% delightful.