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.”