Change is in the air on tonight’s second episode of season 2, “Never No More,” as a leadership change on their label threatens both Rayna and Juliette. Nineteen-year-old American Hitmaker runner-up Layla Grant (Ashley Peeples, fresh off the shores of Sharknado) shows up as the new teacher’s pet – anyone else notice how she was so familiarly petting Jeff Fordham (Oliver Hudson)’s shoulder at his party?
Layla’s an obvious threat to Juliette as they’re aiming for the same tween demo, not to mention all we’ve seen Layla do is a sultry and somewhat sloppy karaoke cover of one of Juliette’s own songs. I was so grossed out here; props to Juliette for reining in her horror. (Is Layla’s version of “a Juliette Barnes classic” supposed to be the same single that stole the No. 1 chart spot from Juliette in the middle of the record label party? How absolutely absurd!)
But the reality TV product clearly got under Rayna’s skin, too. I loved Connie Britton’s “thoughtfully infuriated” gaze during Layla’s performance – and subsequent “F*ck you!” air-cheers towards new label head Jeff. Now that Will Lexington has been lured away from Highway 65 by Jeff’s promises of a “full court press,” Rayna seems poised to break away from Edgehill entirely.
Prediction: Juliette will eventually split off from Edgehill too and go with Rayna. A common enemy in a suit can work wonders for two starlets in sparkly gowns – especially since they already agree that this new Harvard-educated bean counter is an ass.
See, Juliette is still on this evolution kick – she wants to move away from bubble gum and glitter. But her new boss doesn’t, because those tween-girl commodities are what move records. He loves them. Jeff Fordham goes home at night and rolls around lustfully in huge piles of glitter, thousand-dollar bills, hair product, and gum. His mansion is a disaster.
NEXT: Rayna and Deacon visit their non-gravesite