Nearing the close of its second season, ABC's hit drama Nashville will break from its weekly storyline Wednesday (April 23) with Nashville: On the Record. The hour-long music special features the cast members performing at two of Music City's legendary venues -- the Bluebird Café and the Ryman Auditorium.
Nashville cast member and CMT Hot 20 Countdown correspondent Kourtney Hansen spoke with the stars to find out what fans can expect from the On the Record special.
"They can definitely expect me singing live, which is a very rare sight for a reason," said Hayden Panettiere, who plays the diva Juliette Barnes on the show. "I have terrible stage fright. And it came out great, and it's the first time that all of us as a cast have ever performed together. We even sing a song together at the end. It's unlike anything that we've ever done before, so it's a real treat."
"Getting to sing at the Ryman, I never thought I would get to do that," admitted Will Chase, who portrays Luke Wheeler. "Of course, I was a little intimidated having Chip [Esten] and Sam [Palladio] and all those guys say, like, 'Yeah, it's my eighth gig here.' But it's gonna be one of those great nights of TV, too. There's nothing like a live audience ... so that just juices it up. It's gonna be a brilliant night."
In addition to performances from the cast, the special will highlight the process of original songs being chosen for the series.
"You get to see us perform live at the Ryman and then sitting down later with the songwriters, just kind of talking about their process of writing the song and then us learning it and performing it," said Chaley Rose (Zoey Dalton). "All that goes on there."
"It was just so much fun," agreed Chris Carmack (Will Lexington). "It got us really amped up to go do this little mini tour. We're doing Chicago, New York, D.C. and maybe one more. We'll see."
ABC recently announced that Carmack, Palladio (Gunnar Scott) and Esten (Deacon Claybourne) will hit the road with Jonathon Jackson (Avery Barkley) and Clare Bowen (Scarlett O'Connor) during a multi-city concert tour kicking off this weekend.
"Well first of all, I can't believe it's actually happening," said Esten. "We've been hearing about it for a while -- that something like this might happen. And thanks to (Nashville executive producer) Steve Buchanan and the help of a lot of great people, it's finally gonna happen. ... We're right now talking about our set list -- the ones we're gonna do together, the ones we'll do individually -- and every time we see each other, we just keep grinning about it."
Nashville: On the Record airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. For more information, tune in to CMT Hot 20 Countdown this Saturday and Sunday (April 26-27) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.