|Autumn Blair, star of Chasing Nashville season 1 on Lifetime|
For season one, episode two of Chasing Nashville (Lifetime), three young women (Helena Hunt, Autumn Blair, Savannah Little), who made it through the last episode’s Hillbilly Days try-outs, head into the finals with their sights set on stardom. Competing singers such as Julia Knight share their spotlight, producer/judge Keith Thomas approaches these promising vocalists about joining him in Nashville, and Lauren Marie Presley’s mom, Lara, goes full momager.
This week’s episode starts where last week’s ended: at Kentucky’s Hillbilly Days’ singing competition with finalists Savannah Little (age 14, “The Spoiled Starlet”), Autumn Blair (age 17, “The Coal Miner’s Daughter”), and Helena Hunt (age 17, “The Plain Jane”), talking about their circumstance.
Savannah and Autumn both radiate confidence, despite the latter’s dependence on throat spray due to a lingering cold. Helena thinks she’s plain, and considers it an honor that she got picked to be in the finals solely because of her skills. Meanwhile, Lauren Marie Presley (age 13, “The Outsider”) is annoyed that she sang badly and didn't break the top ten. Presley’s mother Lana is annoyed as well, but believes this one loss is nothing when it comes to the competitive singing circuit. That may very well be true, but young Presley really doesn’t feel like hearing it, and asks mom to leave her alone.
During Hillbilly Days’ finals, the contestants’ goal is to impress judge/producer Keith Thomas (Whitney Houston, Dixie Chicks). Lara Presley’s immediate goal is to get Thomas to hear her daughter Lauren’s voice in the best light, so she pushes her way to the judges’ table and presses a copy of her daughter’s CD into Thomas’ hand. He is clearly uncomfortable about what just happened, but takes it in stride.
Savannah, Helena, and Autumn present themselves in differing modes of dress: Savannah wears a sparkly, form-fitting dress that makes her look like a 30 year old Vegas lounge singer (she sounds like it too). Autumn curls her hair, wears a black sleeveless top and belts out her song like a champ. Helena whips out the banjo, sings sweetly, and dons a floppy hat. While most agree that Autumn did the best, her father, J. Blair, tells his daughter to watch out for Helena’s skills. “She could be the one to beat you,” he says. Helena did do well, but it is Autumn who is named the winner of Hillbilly Days and gets the $500 prize. More importantly, she – along with smoky voiced songwriter Julia Knight, Helena, and Savannah – get an invite from Thomas to come to Nashville, so he can best figure which of them can be groomed for stardom.
How each of the singers (and their parents) react to that invitation is what makes Chasing Nashville intriguing. Savannah’s parents argue about the money behind finding fame, with dad choosing to dote on his daughter by spoiling her with cash and trinkets, rather than money for voice lessons, a necessity considering that Thomas told Savannah intonation was her weak point. Autumn writes songs (a must where Thomas is concerned) and visits her mother, a woman with whom she’s has a strained relationship. When mom and daughter meet for lunch, she asks Autumn if she’s getting paid to go to Nashville, rather than understand it as an opportunity.
It is Helena, though, that has the most interesting story this episode. Helena is comfortable dressing down and being known for her talents rather than glamour. She does admit though, that she feels “lame,” having never been kissed by a boy or gone out on a real date. Helena's mom, Gwen, pushes her to log more onstage hours so that she loosens up before hitting Nashville. Without consulting her daughter first, Gwen books Helena at a local fundraising concert, and invites two brothers, Zeb and Levi Ross, to perform with her. It is there that Zeb (a boy that Helena has long had a crush on) invites Helena to his prom. As she never went to her own prom, Helena looks delighted by his invitation. Suddenly, it seems as if Helena is glad that her mom pushed her into this gig. It’s a cute moment.
For all of our Chasing Nashville recaps click here.
Photo by Karolina Wojtasik, courtesy of Lifetime
Chasing Nashville airs Tuesdays at +10/9c on Lifetime
Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013