“Smash” Series Premiere: “Let Me Be Your Star!”

 
 

After another indeterminate time-shift forward, a hallway full of Marilyn clones are waiting to audition. Karen arrives in non-Monroe garb with Dev and she frets that she can’t do sex. He tells her Marilyn wasn’t about sex; she was about love. A hopeful dressed as Lorelei Lee launches into “I Wanna Be Loved By You” for about eight seconds before Derek gongs her. As she departs the casting panel bandies about names, including Scarlett Johansson (who in real life is attached to a Judy Garland project), Kristen Chenoweth and Tom’s choice, Ivy.

Derek remains dismissive of Ivy, who as they speak is in the ladies, shall we say, lounge, being violently ill to her tummy. With her momentarily indisposed it’s Karen’s turn and Derek compliments her for not donning Marilyn drag. She sings the cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” which has been out for the past while.

She absolutely nails it. The casting people all exchange knowing nods and smiles and looks of general wonderment, as they are required to by the script, but all of their reactions mean nothing if McPhee doesn’t put the song over and she totally does. In Karen’s mind’s eye she’s singing to Dev: singing the love. Unfortunately the track is over-produced, including a completely unnecessary echo effect over much of the second half of the vocal which mars an otherwise sensational performance.

We don’t see Ivy’s audition but both she and Karen get callbacks. Karen is told that for this round she needs to “play the sex” so she and Dev scour her wardrobe for sexy clothes and watch that damn Some Like It Hot. Which leads to lovemaking and an overhead shirtless shot of Dev. Ivy calls home to share her good news with her mother. Mom obviously isn’t too impressed and Ivy visibly deflates when the conversation turns to a relative back home attending night school. Unsupportive parents apparently being another series motif.

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