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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): Megan Hilty on a 'Smash'-ing song (and dealing with the show's haters)

Yes, Smash is dead. (Sniff!) But its incredible original tunes will hopefully live on — particularly standouts like “Let Me Be Your Star,” “Let’s Be Bad,” and “They Just Keep Moving the Line,” a scorcher immortalized by Megan Hilty at the beginning of season 2. Like most of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s clever creations, the song’s lyrics work on multiple levels. In the context of Bombshell, Smash‘s show-within-a-show, the song finds Marilyn Monroe using an extended racing metaphor to lament the harshness of a business that keeps asking more and more of her. Hilty’s character, Ivy Lynn, has faced a similar series of struggles (years stuck in the chorus! A cheating director boyfriend! A brief and ridiculous addiction to prednisone!) within the show’s universe. And finally, the song’s world-weary lyrics can be read as Smash‘s way of reacting to its own harsh critics — those prepared to gleefully tear apart the series no matter what it did.

How did Hilty’s instantly classic performance come about? We chatted with the star, who’s moved from Smash to NBC’s Sean Saves the World, to find out. Oh, and just so you know: Hilty says that if she could choose any musical to perform live on NBC, Sound of Music-style, she’d go with Sweeney Todd. Even though, as she points out, “that’s probably not the most family friendly. They probably won’t be doing that at Christmas time.”

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'Smash' season 2: Megan Hilty teases new rivals!

The cast of Smash is gearing up for their new season, but Megan Hilty is getting ready for a battle.

“In the first episode, you will be introduced to rivals of everything — including Bombshell,” she tells EW of the show’s second season. “There’s going to be a lot of new things this season.” Not the least of which is a new showrunner — former Gossip Girl head Joshua Safran, who will be replacing creator Theresa Rebeck. But the change up, including the previously announced departure of four cast members, hasn’t rattled the star.  “It’s something that’s inevitable in every business — especially ours. People come and people go. So while it’s really sad to lose some of my friends and not get to play with them every day. But I feel like I’m going to get to make a whole lot of new friends,” says Hilty, who tonight is hosting a dinner party with new and old cast members, sponsored by Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte. “It’s a really exciting time for Smash.”

Especially with an Oscar winner on board. Jennifer Hudson joins the cast this season in a recurring role as Broadway star Veronica Moore, and while Hilty has not yet been told of the dynamic between Ivy and Hudson’s character, she says with a laugh, “I can only assume that Ivy doesn’t like her.” “I’m kinda hoping for the first option because I would love to have a big, throw-down, angry duet,” she says. “That would be fantastic.” READ FULL STORY

Megan Hilty talks 'Smash' love triangle, season finale

Ahead of tonight’s Smash season finale, EW’s Lynette Rice spoke with Megan Hilty, the Broadway vet who plays Ivy in the freshman drama. Hilty teases about the downward spiral in Ivy’s relationship with Karen (Katherine McPhee), saying “I have no idea how we can be friends again,” after Dev (Raza Jaffrey) and Ivy’s secret rendezvous, and discusses her destructive relationship with the musical’s director, Derek (Jack Davenport). While Hilty says she hopes “Ivy gets it together a little bit” in season 2, she’s reveled in the drama of the first season. Hilty also shares her thoughts about new showrunner (Josh Safran) joining the team and talks about some of the music we’ll hear in tonight’s episode. Check out their conversation below:

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