- The consecutive songs "It's All Over" "And I'm Am Telling You I'm Not Going." Both show Effie's heartbreaking confrontations with the group after being fired and replaced in the Dreams due to acting out for so long. The first shows her confronting and being called out for her crap and bringing everyone down by Curtis, her bandmates, her replacement, and even her own brother before they all tell her that she's out and turn their backs on her. The second shows her desperately trying to hold onto some semblance of her relationship with Curtis, even trying to tell him that she's pregnant with their child without actually saying it, but to no avail.
- It's even worse when we see what's become of Effie after fast-forwarding to years later. While her ex, brother, and friends have been enjoying stardom and comfortable lives of success in Los Angeles, she has declined into poverty, living with her father and raising her daughter as a single mother in the burned-out slums of Detroit. C.C. has tried to reach out to her and help by sending her money, but Effie has remained very bitter with him over his role in ousting her from the Dreams and refuses to accept it or have anything to do with him. In addition, she has blown through the money Curtis bought her contract out with on drinking, and having those whom she was closest to turn their backs on her has shattered her confidence and caused her diva behaviors to get even worse. This has resulted in her repeatedly and pridefully committing self-sabotage to her career whenever an opportunity for a new break comes, thus preventing her from making a comeback and making it harder for her to get new opportunities. Thankfully, Marty is able to convince Effie to swallow her pride and humble herself enough for her to get a singing gig at a club.
- Jimmy suddenly dying offscreen from a heroin overdose, brought on by his depression over being dropped by the label and dumped by Lorrell simultaneously.
- Effie's original version of "One Night Only" being played over Jimmy's wake.
- When everyone at Rainbow Records learns of Jimmy's overdose, especially Lorrell. Even though he was a self-destructive jerk, she's so heartbroken over his death that it's impossible not to share her pain.
- Both the song "Listen" and the story behind it. Deena is trying to break away from Curtis's obsessive stranglehold of her as well as him stifling her independence and during the recording of it, she learns the true depths of what her husband did to Effie when she finds her copy of "One Night Only" hidden in Curtis's desk. The very next scene has her tearfully calling her up and although we don't hear the conversation between the two women, it's implied that she expressed remorse and guilt over their broken friendship and her abandonment of her.
Tear Jerker / Dreamgirls