Less than a year ago, a pair of Croatian cellists posted a YouTube video showing off their shredding, percussive take on the Michael Jackson song “Smooth Criminal.” That almost immediately led to a multialbum deal with Sony Masterworks and a slot on an Elton John tour that continues through a two-month run in Las Vegas starting next month.

Now Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic, who perform as 2Cellos, have reprised the concept of their “Smooth Criminal” video—the dueling players faced off in a ballroom—on the high-school musical TV series “Glee.” The cameo, on a Jackson tribute episode airing Jan. 31, marks the first time the singing-centric show has showcased instrumentalists.

After a self-titled debut album that sold 133,000 copies and included renditions of Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses and U2, the next test for 2Cellos will be to move beyond the “shtick” of a high-concept cover band, says Sony Classical International President Bogdan Roscic. Repertoire has not yet been decided for a follow-up record, but Mr. Roscic expects the duo to include vocalists, other instrumentalists and original compositions.

—John Jurgensen


Watch the video of their performance on “Glee” below!