Defying Gravity is a song from the musical Wicked. It is performed primarily by Elphaba, with Glinda, to close the first act of the musical, originally performed by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.
During the song, Elphaba throws her fears away and decides to escape from the Emerald City. Her imaginations of the infamous Wizard have been shattered, but she still holds onto his reminder that she is great. She asks Glinda to join her, and whilst Glinda is tempted, she is too scared of the uncertainties. Elphaba manages to fly during the song, a harness used in the musical including a large black cape across the stage that is connected during the song when Glinda, instead of answering whether she'll go with Elphaba, says that the other girl is shivering.
Apart from the musical, the song has been performed in several capacities, including at Tony Award ceremonies. Menzel also recorded a version for her "I Stand" album in 2008, which was included on an EP that she released containing many (over releases, 13 in total) versions of the song, gaining it greater popularity. In that same year it was featured on the BBC musical theatre competition show I'd Do Anything, increasing its popularity to casual viewers. Another portrayer of Elphaba, Kerry Ellis, has recorded it separately - including the arrangement by Queen's Brian May. It has been performed twice on the FOX television show Glee, though never by Menzel's (or Chenoweth's) character. It was also a song on the Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh's debut solo album, "Centre Stage", in 2013. During "Celebrity Duets Week" in the sixteenth season of American Idol, Lea Michele performed the song with contestant Ada Vox.
It has also been used as the alarm clock music on the International Space Station.
- Climactic Music
- Dark Reprise: Some parts of the song, especially refrain. Also, the "I hope you're happy" part is initially darker, but gets a reprise later in the song that is more bittersweet. The "Unlimited" part seems like it's going to be, but isn't. These are both motifs of the musical.
- "I Am Becoming" Song: It's about how Elphaba decides she's not going to just be what people expect of her.
- I Am What I Am: Elphaba's final acceptance that she's a witch. Nobody else is supportive.
- Incredibly Long Note: "doooooooooooooowwwwwnnnnnnnn" at the end.
- Leitmotif: Sometimes, every appearance of Elphaba afterwards is punctuated at some point with parts of the music.
- Meaningful Echo: The line "everyone deserves a chance to fly", which the Wizard told her.
- Melismatic Vocals: On several held words, like "fly" and "down". Changes depending on the version - Amber Riley's cover was full of it.
- Midword Rhyme:''Tell them how I, am defy-ing gravity""I'd sooner buy, defy-ing gravity""Just me and I, defy-ing gravity""Kiss me goodbye, I'm defy-ing gravity""It's time to try, defy-ing gravity"
- Musical Title Drop: "get her! She's wicked!" spoken in tune.
- Self Empowerment Anthem
- Rewritten Pop Version: Most popular are Menzel and Ellis'.
- "Setting Off" Song: On the theme, but not of the usual fun flavour.
- Show Stopper
- Spoken Word in Music: It's from a musical that isn't Sung Through, of course there is some.
- Suit-Up of Destiny: The black cape from Glinda.
- Theme Music Power-Up
- Title Drop
- We Can Rule Together: It's more a doing good together proposal, but this is Elphaba's suggestion to Glinda. Glinda can't come with her, since she's not ready yet.