ABC’s Nashville follows seasoned songstress Rayna James (Connie Britton) and fresh-faced Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), two successful female country stars who work with the same record label. Nashville’s pilot presented one key lesson: insecurity can get the best of us.
Hayden Panettiere plays prissy Juliette. Onstage, fans worship her Taylor Swift-like persona, but backstage she’s a terror. Her character is unlikable from the start; it’s every fan’s worst nightmare to be fooled by a seemingly sweet celebrity.
The story becomes even more intense when Susan insults Juliette behind her back, calling her music “adolescent crap.” She asked, “Why does everyone keep pretending she’s good?” The scene cuts to an angry Juliette seemingly plotting her mean girl revenge on Rayna.
Hayden Panettiere took on a role outside her norm and this presents a challenge when trying to connect with the audience. At times her performance did not seem authentic because it was so out of the ordinary for her; this should evolve as fans adjust to her new setting.
However, she and the entire cast presented great vocals. Within the first ten minutes, it is apparent the show features a soundtrack to be enjoyed by any country fan. Viewers from the South (or those who want to be) will delight in the beautiful landscapes of the cities and suburbs of Tennessee included after every commercial break.
We realize even the most accomplished stars can suffer from insecurity when they feel threatened. This leaves us with a pessimistic thought: does girl-on-girl competition ever end?
Rayna has years on Juliette and should have acted as such. Yes, Juliette threw the first slap, but Susan could have averted an all-out girl-war if she took the high road and overlooked it. Instead, we’ve got two female bombshells and amazing singers who can’t seem to get over their self-doubt and jealousy. The fierce competition prevents what could be a productive union.
There was seemingly no hope for the lead characters at the episode’s end. Even a sliver of optimism could’ve enhanced this intense, comedy-less drama. As it stands, it’s just a dramatization of a typical girl rivalry. Watch if you enjoy the music and scenery, but the depressing storyline and negative characters will cause Nashville’s allure to fizzle out.