The season four premiere of Glee on FOX may have left many Gleeks missing some of the series regulars who were absent from the episode, but the real focus of last night's Glee premiere was Kate Hudson's new guest role. “The New Rachel” opened with Hudson as Miss Cassandra July, Rachel’s (Lea Michele) icy dance instructor at the New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts.

The role calls for Hudson to channel her inner devil, which wasn’t easy. "Being that mean for me, it's pretty difficult," Hudson, 33, told People. “It was challenging to keep a straight face."

And while Miss July’s abuse begins to take its toll on Rachel during the episode, Michele, 26, insists it’s only an act. "She's the most down-to-earth, fun, laid-back person," Michele said of Hudson.

The remainder of “The New Rachel” follows New Directions around William McKinley High School, where the Glee club has become wildly popular since winning the finals last year. But with the departure of Rachel to New York, among others, the need for some fresh singers has arisen. The additions to the group include Wade Adams, a.k.a. Unique (Alex Newell), Puck’s (Mike Salling) half-brother Jake (Jacob Artist), and Marley (Melissa Benoist), the daughter of the lunch lady.

With the influx of new talent, Blaine (Darren Criss), Brittany (Heather Morris), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Unique have a sing-off to the popular Carly Rae Jepsen hit “Call Me Maybe" and Marley and New Directions do a rendition of Adele’s “Chasing Pavements.” Blaine wins the competition and is pegged to lead the New Directions.

In other news, it turns out that Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) had a child over the summer, while, back in New York, Rachel strikes up a friendship with a guy named Brody Weston (Dean Geyer). Could this spell trouble down the line for her long-distance relationship with Finn (Cory Monteith)?

Catch Glee Thursday nights at 9 p.m. on FOX.

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