This marks the return of Connie Britton to TV, after her last role of “Vivien Harmon” on “American Horror Story”. This show solidifies Connie’s acting abilities, with her best performance being the last 10 minutes of the show.
Strong performances from the main cast, and original songs that sound like hits, catapult the pilot episode. The tension between Connie and Hayden’s characters solidifies the drama for the upcoming season.
So, let’s get to it.
Rayna Jaymes is portrait as a country music legend, having had a successful career. It is revealed that during her career, she has won 9 Grammy’s 4 CMA’s and her first album when triple platinum. Despite her previous success, her current album is not selling enough to please the new label head, “Marshall Evans”. It is suggested that she co head line a tour with new artist “Juliette Barnes”. Rayna is not pleased with the idea of being her opening act. Upon telling this news to her husband, he approves of the idea, revealing that they are not financially secure as he had hoped, due to failed business ventures. Rayna struggles with the decision of joining Juliette. She asked her music producer, Randy Roberts, to record three songs that were hits, but finds out that they have already been recorded.
It is revealed that she is the daughter of Lamar Wyatt, a powerful, local politician, who convinces Teddy Conrad to run for Mayor. Rayna initially disapproves of his mayoral candidacy, but later ends up supporting her husband.
Upon meeting with Marshall Evans, she walks away from her label after 21 years, after it was revealed that she must co headline with Juliette Barnes.
Juliette Barnes is an up and coming crossover artist, who has found popularity on the charts. She appears to be hard and ruthless, not letting anything get in her way to be on top. Despite her success, she has a dead beat mother who keeps calling her for money to support her addiction. She makes it clear that she does not like Rayna, and her despise grows even more when Rayna talks badly about her at Randy’s apartment, where she was waiting in his bed room, presumably naked. She later goes to “The Bluebird Café” and listens to Deacon Clayborne perform. She talks to him about recording one of his songs, and writing together. He initially turns down the offer, but upon talking to Rayna, he might take the job if her tour gets cancelled. It is revealed that Rayna and Deacon where former lovers, and that most of his songs are about her.
Elsewhere, Scarlett O’Hare is introduced as Deacon’s niece. She has a boyfriend, Avery Barkley, an aspiring musician. It is revealed that she and Avery have broken up, and this inspired her to write poetry. Gunnar Scott, who likes Scarlett, persuades her to convert her poems into songs, which they later perform at the café’s open mic night.
The premiere was chalk full of country goodness. It had great performances from their leads, catchy original songs all to the backdrop of the gorgeous city of Nashville.
During the episode, I noticed a few similarities to events in real life that somewhat parallel the pilot episode. Many have compared Hayden’s character to Taylor Swift. I agree that with the characters curly hair and successful career, why the comparison came about, but I think it’s the character of Scarlet O’Hare that shows the most similarities. They both seem like the shy quiet type, and they both write about heart ache.
Another instance is the cancellation of the tour due to poor
ticket sales. In the pilot it wasn’t actually confirmed that Rayna’s tour has been cancelled, but the reason was made clear, due to poor ticket sales. This is similar to Christina Aguilera circa 2010, when she cancelled her summer tour. The official press release states that it was due to prior engagements to her upcoming film and promoting a new album, and that it was pushed to 2011, though the tour never came to fruition. This did not stop speculations of poor ticket sales, and a disappointing debut to her new single and poor first week sales of her album.
Rayna’s single was said to debut in the 20’s and has been in a decline since. This is reminiscent of Beyoncé and her single “Who run the world (girls)” which debuted to #29 and declined from there. Although she did find success with her next single, her album “4” was not a disappointment, sales wise.
A common thread between the two main characters is family. Both have issues with their parents, and it will be interesting to see how their relationship with their parents matures during the season. With Rayna’s (Britton) father convincing her husband to run for Mayor, basically to use as his puppet, the clashes and performances are going to be high this season.
Overall the pilot did not disappoint. It would be interesting to see how the show maneuvers through the rest of the season. Hopefully they use their leads to their full acting abilities since Connie Britton is more than capable of handling her own.
Until next week.