Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes
|Portrayed by||Hayden Panettiere|
|Duration||October 10, 2012 –|
|Created by||Callie Khouri|
|Occupation||Country singer, songwriter|
Juliette Barnes is a fictional character and one of the two leads in the ABC musical drama series Nashville. Juliette is portrayed by actress Hayden Panettiere since the pilot episode, which aired on October 10, 2012. Juliette was a teenage country sensation and is now making more mature music. She tries to take the throne, as Queen of Country music, from rival Rayna Jaymes. Panettiere has received critical acclaim for her performance as Juliette and she has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Television Series Drama in 2013 and 2014, a Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 2012 and a Teen Choice Award for Television Actress: Drama in 2013.
Casting and creation
The casting of Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes was announced on February 29, 2012. Juliette was characterized as an up-and-coming country-pop diva and rival of series co-lead Rayna Jaymes, a fading country star played by Connie Britton. Although best known as an actress, Panettiere had a brief music career, recording songs for several films between 2004 and 2007 and planning to release an album. Though she co-wrote and recorded some songs for it, it was never completed or released. She later explained: "I quit after about four or five years of recording, and I said this is not me. But I said that if I was ever going to do music again, I would do country music, and for this [Nashville] to come along and to get both of the things I love [acting and country music] combined in one show, it's a dream come true."
Panettiere has denied media reports that her character resembles Taylor Swift, and states that Juliette is instead based on herself – a young woman in the entertainment industry – and Carrie Underwood. She was attracted to the character because she was "so multidimensional" and because she wanted to "break away from my character in Heroes."
Panettiere has revealed that she was not the first choice to play the role, as the producers were not sure she would be able to render Juliette vulnerable enough to be likeable. However, after Panettiere was cast, the writers re-wrote Juliette, who was originally seen as a supporting character to Rayna James' series lead, to be a co-lead alongside her.
Juliette Barnes, originally from Alabama, was discovered singing at a country fair by her manager, Glenn Goodman, who believed he could turn her into one of America's biggest country stars. Juliette, being young, beautiful and ambitious, had no qualms about leaving her dysfunctional home life and her drug-addicted mother behind. She quickly rose to become Edgehill Records biggest star, a pop-country sensation, with legions of young teenage fans and sell out tours. Despite Juliette's singing talent being questioned by several characters, including Rayna Jaymes, she shows not only raw talent but has also proven herself to be a capable songwriter and works with talented musicians such as Deacon Clayborne and Avery Barkley.
Juliette is initially played as a demanding, arrogant diva, but there is another side to her. She is a girl who has fought for everything she has and is prepared to do anything to get to the top. However, her hard exterior shields a world of pain that she rarely lets people see. She has no friends, no-one she can truly turn to, and she has seen the worst of people growing up, which has left her unable to connect with people emotionally. As a result, she shows a desperate desire to be loved by anyone who shows her the slightest bit of affection, such as when she falls in love with her mother's drug counselor.
When the series begins, Juliette is a fast-rising star, with the potential to topple Queen of Country, Rayna Jaymes. Juliette sees Rayna as a has-been, while Rayna sees Juliette as a talentless bimbo. To the public, Juliette is a sweet-natured, fun loving, glamorous bubble-gum country star. Behind the scenes, however, Juliette is neither sweet natured or fun, but rather a cold-hearted, demanding, spoiled young woman who wants what she wants when she wants it, and what she wants is to be the Queen of Country.
Despite a string of number ones and sell-out tours, Juliette struggles to be taken seriously, having her vocals auto-tuned and her videos being cheesy and cliched, she decides to work with Deacon Clayborne and when she writes with him, he is the first one to recognize her potential as song writer.
The rivalry between her and Rayna comes to a head when Rayna is promoted from an opening act to co-touring with Juliette and their management suggest they write a song together. Rayna tells Juliette a few home truths about her talent and how her diva-like behavior will be the end of her. This upsets Juliette, however when Deacon shows Rayna the lyrics Juliette has written, Rayna begrudgingly admits she may have been wrong. They finally admit their mutual dislike for each other however manage to finish a song together called "Wrong Song" which goes straight to number one. The two are forced to admit a respect for one another despite their continuing dislike.
In her personal life, Juliette is set up on a date by a famous football player for the Tennessee Titans named Sean Butler, as her management thinks it will be good press. Juliette finds him sweet, especially when he reveals his intentions to remain a virgin until marriage, a first for Juliette who has only met men who want her for something. However Juliette is looked on with scorn by Sean's family, especially his mother, who thinks Juliette is trash, which brings out Juliette's vindictive side and she seduces Sean which leads to a rather hasty marriage. However Juliette realises Sean is a genuinely good person and that she would just end up hurting him when he doesn't deserve to be, so she agrees to an annulment.
Juliette's life is further complicated when her drug-addicted mother, Jolene, comes back into her life. All her life, Juliette remembers her irresponsible mother letting her down and losing her every time to drugs with Juliette having to clean up after her and often being on the receiving end of her mother's drug fuelled violence. However once again she ends up helping her mother, paying for her rehab and eventually falling for her mother's drug counsellor Dante. No one trusts Dante, who swiftly begins to take over Juliette's life, her finances and her career, but Juliette is so blindly in love with him she ignores everyone. In the end, everyone is proved right as Dante flees with a chunk of Juliette's money and also tries to blackmail her out of $10 million with a sex tape he has of the two of them.
Juliette refuses to give into his demands and instead issues a statement confessing her role in the tape and how it was released without her permission which garners her respect. However Jolene, finally deciding to help her daughter after years of letting her down, murders Dante, destroys the tape and then kills herself with a drug overdose, devastating Juliette.
Juliette is introduced to Edgehill's new CEO, Jeff Fordham, and Layla Grant, who rose to fame after being the runner-up in a singing competition. Much like how Juliette was wanting to take Rayna's place, Layla wants to do the same to Juliette. Juliette complains that she isn't country and makes fun of her when she says "y'all" because she is from Connecticut. Following the events of Rayna's wreck, she wants to cancel the remainder of the tour to spend more time with her daughters, which doesn't make Juliette happy. Juliette wants to move away from doing over-the-top numbers and refuses to play half-houses. Desperately wanting to keep playing to full arenas, she asks Layla to open up for her. Juliette is invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, which leaves her speechless.
Billionaire Charles "Charlie" Wentworth hires Juliette to sing at his anniversary party as a gift for his wife Olivia because she is a huge fan of hers. At the party, Juliette and Charlie sneak off to the house and sleep together. The two meet up again at the annual Bell Meade Polo tournament and end up sleeping together again only this time, unbeknownst to them, Olivia walks in on them. While on tour in Houston, Juliette decides that she no longer wants to suck up to a powerful DJ to get good reviews and airplay which leads to critics leaving the show before her set and bad reviews. Charlie, who owns several radio stations, gets the DJ fired when he hears of this but has him rehired when Juliette regrets what Charlie did. Still in Houston, Juliette gets a surprise visit from Olivia, who hits on her. It turns out Charlie and Olivia just wanted her to be a part of their threesome. After this, and following her confronting them about their lifestyle, Charlie divorces Olivia.
Juliette begins to feel threatened by Layla when she steals some of her spotlight and gets distracted. When Layla goes over her set time, making Juliette's set and the show run late, at the next show she flips Layla and Will's sets. Just as Layla is supposed to go on stage to sing with Will, Juliette barges in, takes the mic and sings with him instead. To get back at her, Layla calls the press to inform them that Juliette is the cause of the Wentworths' divorce. At the Music City Festival, the press hound her. She tells Glenn to find the person who leaked to the press but soon suspects that Layla might have had something to do with it. Jeff goes to Layla, telling her that if she had anything to do with it, she will be dropped from the label. When Juliette arrives at the next tour stop, she is greeted by angry picketers who harass her and call her names. Her reputation takes another blow when someone edits a video of her so it sounds like she said "there is no God". She turns to Layla for help as a way to clear her name.
Because of this, venues are dropping her, leaving Jeff furious so he makes her apologize for her comment or she will be dropped. Avery goes to cheer her up and they write a song together. The two begin dating. Juliette is told to make an apology at her Grand Ole Opry ceremony. Not liking what is written for her to say, she ignores the teleprompter and begins singing "Don't Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet". Once again making Jeff furious, he drops her from the label. Juliette goes to hide at Avery's. Howie D, a high-powered, hit-making record producer, hears the new tweaked version of the song and wants to work with Juliette. She flies to Los Angeles to meet with him and record it. Glenn is feeling sidelined with everything going on so he tells Juliette that he is resigning from being her manager and is heading back to Nashville. Not feeling what Howie D has in store for her, she goes to Glenn saying that she doesn't want to move away from being a country music singer and can't do it without him. Juliette runs into Jeff at a restaurant and he offers her a new record deal but she turns him down. She also bumps Will and Layla from her tour.
As a way to resurrecting her career, Juliette asks Rayna to sign her to Highway 65 Records, Rayna's newly-founded record label. Feeling upstage by newer talent, she sabotages the label party by going on stage announcing that she is now with the label. Juliette goes to Charlie asking for a favor when she faces more empty seats on her tour but he wants to get back together with her and Avery tells him to go away. Rayna asks Juliette that she wants Scarlett to open up for her on tour. After Scarlett has a meltdown on stage, Avery spends time with her, making Juliette jealous. Avery insures that she is the one who he loves. At the BMI party, feeling wasted, Juliette runs into Jeff and they end up having sex. Gunnar sees them leaving the screening room together while recollecting themselves.
Gunnar tries to hide the secret from Avery but tells Zoey. Jeff blackmails Juliette into signing with him or he'll tell Avery what happened between them. Juliette goes to Rayna saying that it was a mistake signing with her and wants out of her contract but Rayna tells her no and that there is too much at stake. She later reveals to Rayna that she mistakenly slept with Jeff. With Avery sensing there is something going on with Gunnar and Zoey, they confess to him Juliette's secret. He goes to Juliette's and breaks up with her. She begs him not to but he leaves anyway.
When Juliette is in Fort Campbell for a show that Luke Wheeler is putting on for the troops, it is revealed that Juliette's dad was a Blackhawk pilot. He died when she was four.
Juliette has a hard time getting over Avery and these emotions show through when she auditions to play Patsy Cline in a movie. Her emotions work in her favor, and Juliette ends up getting the role. When Juliette keeps getting sick, Glenn has a doctor come over to check on her. As he is leaving, the doctor tells her that she is pregnant. Juliette schedules an abortion; however, she finds out that she's further along, and realizes the baby is not Jeff's. She keeps the baby, resulting in her being unable to get though rehearsals due to morning sickness. This makes Glenn and Emily suspicious, and Juliette walks in on them searching her house. Angry that they believe she's on drugs, she makes them leave without telling them the truth. Meanwhile, she also starts to become friends with her movie co-star, Noah West. Juliette eventually turns to Rayna for help. She finally tells Glenn and Emily, and lets them know she wants to give the baby up for adoption discreetly, figuring she'll drop out of the public eye before anyone notices and attribute the weight gain to getting into the role of Patsy Cline. Avery ends up getting arrested after getting drunk and trespassing. Juliette bails him out, and Avery tells her that he wishes he never met her. Juliette decides to keep the baby and raise it on her own.
Emily tries to convince Juliette to tell Avery, and Juliette finally sends Avery a text. While she's on set filming the movie later, Avery shows up and makes a scene when Juliette won't see him. However, Glenn gets him to leave. When Juliette becomes worried about shooting a love scene because it'll reveal her pregnancy, Noah reveals he overheard Avery and helps cover up her secret. Noah later shows up at her show, and says that he enjoys spending time with her. While she's performing, Juliette becomes short of breath and leaves the stage, where Noah catches her when she collapses.
Juliette is rushed to the hospital, where the doctor tells her that she has to cancel the tour immediately. Avery shows up at the hospital, but leaves when Noah comes in. Juliette, though, tracks him down and tells him if he wants to be the baby's father, he'll need to let her be a part of his life as well. Avery, though, tells Juliette that he will get to be the baby's father on his terms. Juliette later reveals her pregnancy to the media as why she's cancelling her tour, and admits that Avery is the father when a reporter asks. Around the one year anniversary of her mother's death, Juliette has flashbacks of her childhood. At the CMA's Juliette meets Avery's parents; his mom adores her while his father doesn't. When walking back to her seat she overhears his dad saying that he doesn't think that she and Avery will make good parents and brings up her past. Avery vows that they won't be like their parents. Juliette tells him that they are having a girl. Weeks after the CMA's, Juliette asks Avery to move in with her after the baby is born just for a little while. Avery later asks Juliette to marry him, she says yes, and they have a judge marry them. After canceling her baby shower Juliette's water breaks while arguing with Rayna. She is rushed to the hospital where she has her baby girl, Cadence.
Panettiere has received critical acclaim for her role as Juliette. Sarah Hughes of The Guardian said that she "not only showcases a fine pair of lungs and a nice way with a one liner, she pulls off the rarer trick of making you sympathise with her character even when she’s doing wrong." Reviewing each episode of the series for The A.V. Club, Gwen Ihnat has come to regard Juliette as the series' lead character, and has consistently praised Panettiere for her performances, particularly for playing Juliette as "domineering, manipulative, in denial, and finally, achingly vulnerable... [rising] from a caricature to become one of the most interesting parts of the show." She later noted that "every single week, Hayden Panettiere is the greatest thing about this show."
Deena Shanker of Salon has said that Panettiere's portrayal of Juliette has evolved to the point where she is a "feminist role model". Erin Carlson of The Hollywood Reporter has quipped that Panettiere should win the Michael Emerson prize for "Humanizing Terrible Characters on Network TV" after accomplishing what she felt the cast of Girls had not: rendering a "bitchy" character to be likeable and the series' "best", giving her "purpose, drive, grit and backbone".
Panettiere has been nominated for numerous awards for her role as Juliette: for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Television Series Drama in 2013 and 2014, a Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 2012, a Teen Choice Award for Television Actress: Drama in 2013 and a Prism Award for Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline in 2014.
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