In a premiere filled with drama, sass and a whole lot of country flavor, ABC’s new series, “Nashville” kicked off last week and proved to be country gold.
Fans were introduced to country music queen Rayna James (Connie Britton), whose career is threatened by up-and-coming phenom Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), who is aiming to steal her spotlight.
Panettiere, who shows off her vocal skills on the series, takes on the role of Juliette Barnes, a cunning singer who believes she can backstab her way to the top of the charts.
When MTV News caught up with Panettiere recently, she assured us that her character is “not based off anybody,” and definitely not country sweetheart Taylor Swift, despite early rumors. In fact, all they share is a common age and blonde hair. But she did admit that when it was time for her to perform in front of an audience, she turned to another country star for some assistance.
“[Juliette] is her individual self and is not based off anybody. She’s got her own problems she’s running from, a very dark past,” Panettiere said. “But when it comes to the stage presence I watched a lot of Carrie Underwood because Carrie has that energy about her, not super choreographed on stage, but she can just go up there and own it and just take over.”
In the premiere episode of “Nashville,” Juliette comes off as manipulative and conniving, someone who abuses her assistant, but Panettiere promises once they peel back all of Juliette’s flaws, fans eventually will see some good.
“She’s got the weight of the world on her shoulders, she’s got everything in the world as well. It’s a combo — I feel like people are going to find that compassion for her,” Panettiere said. “I personally like her drive, I like her spunk, I like her sass. I think she’s driven and she won’t let anyone stand in her way.”
On Wednesday’s episode, entitled “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)” Panettiere reveals that her mother, who is a drug addict trying to take advantage of her daughter, comes back to cause problems.
“Second episode for me, my dearest mommy comes back to town and finds me and causes a world of trouble,” Panettiere said. “And you’ll get to see more of that vulnerable Juliette, that angry Juliette and understand her a lot more. [There are] some betrayals, some reconnections, some interesting turns for sure.”
What do you think of “Nashville”? Let us know in the comments.