In the show Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton of "Friday Night Lights") is an industry legend, but she's being put out to pasture because she insists on singing traditional country fare that doesn't translate to ticket sales. Shades of Reba McEntire? Trisha Yearwood? Faith Hill?
Trying to shove Rayna off stage for good is Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere of "Heroes"), who uses back stabbing and bed-hopping to fuel her rise on the pop charts. Is she Carrie Underwood? Kellie Pickler? Taylor Swift? Actually, Panettiere has insisted that snippy, sexually manipulative teen-queen Juliette is not based on Swift, but someone should have notified the show's stylists, who dress Panettiere in short, glittery tube dresses and curl her blond hair into Swift's signature spirals.
"Hayden [Panettiere] is my neighbor, actually," Taylor tells Zap2it about the show's co-star, whose role in it has been labeled by some a pseudo-Swift. "She pulled me aside and said, 'I need to talk to you! I need to tell you that my character's not based on you.' And I said, 'I know, Hayden. I saw the pilot. It's amazing.' I think she did an incredible job of being sinister and adorable at the same time, and we had a hilarious conversation about it.'"
But beyond looks, Juliette has none of Swift's supposed innocence: She abuses her assistant over things like her signature fragrance's new bottle. But part of her nature is explained when she finally breaks down and accepts a phone call from her mom.
"I've heard the Taylor Swift thing quite a bit. And I think aside from being around the same age and blonde, we're very different," Panettiere, 22, explained during Disney/ABC's Television Critics Association event in Beverly Hills. "I think once you see her and get to know my character a little bit better, you'll see that. I really think Taylor would disagree wholeheartedly as well. She's much nicer than my character!"
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