Two performers are better than cause more tension than one! In tonight’s episode, Season 1, Episode 7, “Lovesick Blues,” we learn that a picture paints a thousand (curse) words, you should always call before you pop in on your ex-boyfriend, and Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) isn’t crazy about restraint.

Duet? More like, “Don’t do it.”

The episode begins with the head of Rayna (Connie Britton)’s label, Marshall, asking her to play the label’s anniversary show at the historic Ryman theater and then release her greatest hits album. If you know one thing about Rayna, you know that she does not want to release a greatest hits album.

Actually, we take that back. If you know one thing about Rayna, you know she has fabulous hair. But if you know two things about Rayna, you know that she has fabulous hair and that she does not want to release a greatest hits album. Both are important things to know about her.

Marshall is making Juliette’s life equally hellish, asking her to perform a duet with you guessed it Rayna Jaymes. And judging by how harshly Juliette reacted to the suggestion of the duet, you’d think Marshall had suggested that she perform a duet with, say, Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. (Don’t worry, Limp Bizkit we still love you.)

Teddy’s (Eric Close) poll numbers are way up, but he’s in for a rude awakening. Actually, it’s more like a polite awakening, since Coleman (Robert Wisdom) is actually a gentleman as he shows the photos of Teddy and Peggy hugging and explains that he’ll go public with the pics if Teddy doesn’t drop out of the race. Hugs the silent killer.

Juliette Makes a Pass at Sean

Rayna arrives to rehearse for the anniversary show, where she exchanges a very strained hello with Deacon (Charles Esten) although their exchanges now run the gamut from very strained to very, very strained. Rayna learns from Marshall about the duet, and if she doesn’t comply, here come the greatest hits. As you may have guessed, Rayna does not like the words “greatest” and “hits” to be used in the same sentence in her presence.

Deacon helps talk Juliette into giving the duet a try, and so Rayna and Juliette ever-so-begrudgingly agree to sit down and choose a song. But neither wants to sing the other person’s song, and so Rayna says something she regrets, and Juliette goes storming off. Aren’t duets fun?

And just where does Juliette go storming off to? That would be the arms of Tim Tebow Sean Butler, the football star-slash-upright citizen. Juliette’s people want her to stay away from him since she’s getting blamed for his poor play on the field (how very Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo), but Juliette suddenly wants to stay away for a different reason: The dude won’t put out. In other words, forget Tebowing; Juliette wants to start Te-boning.

Rayna and Juliette Do the Right Write Thing

Teddy takes Lamar’s (Powers Boothe) advice and calls Peggy, who isn’t thrilled that she has to tell her husband about the loan that she got for Teddy. Lamar tells Teddy to play the crazy card when telling the public about Peggy, but Teddy doesn’t go for that. So Lamar lets him know that Coleman’s drug possession charges haven’t been dropped. Lamar is a real stand-up guy, no?

After Deacon shares the CD with Rayna of the song that he and Juliette co-wrote, Rayna finally sucks it up and agrees to cook up a song with her. Just before they perform it at the anniversary show, we see that Teddy is about to tell her about the Peggy pics but opts out. And then we see Teddy grimace, but grimacing is basically Teddy’s go-to move.

Juliette also gets a pre-show visitor, but instead of being someone who has too many skeletons in his closet, like Teddy, it’s Sean, who has too few skeletons. He tells Juliette that he’s waiting for marriage, but that he’d at least like to get to know her better. So Juliette’s thinking, “Sounds great quickie marriage it is!”

Luckily, Teddy’s bajillion-yard stare doesn’t rattle Rayna much, as she and Juliette knock their new song out of the park! They may have hated doing a duet, but we’re like, “More, please!” We also love seeing Juliette and Rayna strutting their stuff onstage, all decked out in sequins. Come to think of it, this show’s sequin budget must be through the roof.

Scarlett Finally Gets Her Heart Broken. Next Step: Country Music Superstar!

Scarlett (Clare Bowen) listens to Deacon play at the Bluebird, and she finally gets how sad his songs are, now that she’s gotten her first taste o’ heartbreak.

She’s also wishing that she could see Avery’s (Jonathan Jackson) show at the Tequila Cowboy, which was set up by the queen of the cougars, Avery’s new manager Marilyn. And by the way, did we mention how awesome the name “Tequila Cowboy” is? Because it’s pretty freakin’ awesome.

Gunnar’s (Sam Palladio) lady friend Hailey decides that Scarlett needs to take off her sitting-around-the-house cowboy boots and put on her sexy-time cowboy boots (we assume Scarlett has a different pair of cowboy boots for every mood), so Hailey and Gunnar join Scarlett as she gets drunk and chats up a new guy. By the way, Gunnar is not crazy about this plan.

We think it’s a blast to see Scarlett come out of her shell and how mind-blowingly awesome was her cover of “Ring of Fire”?! but Gunnar disagrees. Just as Scarlett kisses her new fan, Gunnar intervenes, which confuses Hailey. Scarlett then storms off, apparently not loving her new self either.

Scarlett decides to give Avery one more chance which, if you’re keeping track, is chance #2,378 and so she stops by his pad. She says hello to him, and then she also says hello to Marilyn, who’s in a state of undress which is probably Marilyn’s second favorite state, not counting Hawaii (because who doesn’t love Hawaii?).

Scarlett is shaken up but finally has some songwriting fodder, and so she tells Gunnar that she’s ready to collaborate with him again. Well done, Gunnar. Meanwhile, Marilyn introduces Avery to record label head Domino (played by Wyclef Jean!), who tells Avery he needs to hang out in Atlanta with him. (Please tell us Avery is moving to Atlanta, please tell us Avery is moving to Atlanta...)

All in all, an excellent episode, all capped off by the powerful duet between Juliette and Rayna. We love seeing the two of them finally share the screen a bit more, and we’re also still liking Juliette with Sean. Plus, it’s seeming like Scarlett is finally ready to permanently give Avery the (cowboy) boot, which is music to our ears (so to speak).



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Credit: ET Photo: Rayna and Juliette Duet in Season 1, Episode 7: "Lovesick Blues"