2012 Emmy Longshots: ‘Smash’ Singing Sensation Megan Hilty

smashYou love them, we love them, and it’s high time Emmy recognized them. We’re talking about the TV actors and actresses who have yet to be recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, despite drawing us in week in and week out with their awe-inspiring ability to make us laugh, cry, or a weird combination of both. So every day here at Hollywood.com, we’re going to be saluting those on the small screen who deserve an Emmy nomination, longshot status be damned. Today, we cast our ballot for Smash star Megan Hilty.

With all the singing shows gliding across our television screens these days, it takes a real musical gem to really stand out in the crowd — it’s a challenge Smash seems more than ready to take on. However, the credit should not be given only to the show’s incredible musical numbers (though they definitely deserve some major praise), because the true talent lies in the actual performers — and even more specifically, in Megan Hilty.

Perhaps that’s because Hilty is a natural. In order to center a storyline around an actual Broadway show, it helps to have some genuine Broadway talent and Hilty is the series Ace. She has played the lead, Glinda, in Wicked and Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5: The Musical. The nerve-wracking audition process may be something any actor can relate to, but when it comes to being a Broadway star things are a little bit different. Folks on the Great White Way need to excel in not just acting, but singing and dancing as well, making them the ultimate triple threat. Since Hilty has actually experienced the pressure firsthand, her character is able to become all the more authentic. And boy can this girl sing.

But Hilty brings more to the table than just her musical chops — she (or rather her multi-layered character) also brings tons of drama. I mean, let’s face it, having a plot consist of nothing but the innocent Karen Cartright (Katharine McPhee) would make any show — musical or otherwise — feel completely mundane. Hilty provides a depth to the series in area where everyone else falls short. She conjures up just as much emotion in her onstage performances as she does to her offstage antics, including a recent romp with Karen’s former fiance, Dev (ouch!). No, she’s not perfect, but that’s the main reason we love her, right? After all, it wouldn’t truly be theater without two or three (or five) handfuls of drama.

However, unlike other shows where there’s a clear protagonist and antagonist, Hilty’s character cannot simply be labeled as an outright villain. She feels pain and remorse for the things she does. But, in her eyes, she’s paid her dues and deserves her chance in the spotlight — regardless of the consequences. And come on, she’s got good reason to be pissed off. She went from being a chorus girl to being the lead role in a Marilyn Monroe musical, only to go back to being a chorus girl again. Talk about having the rug pulled out from underneath you. It would be a hard thing for anyone to cope with, so acting irrationally is not only probable, but understandable. Many of us shook our heads in dismay after Derek gave the green light to Karen and not Ivy.

And that’s exactly why Smash isn’t Glee, where everything collectively resolves into an easy “happily ever after” scenario. There’s pain and anger and the heart-wrenching depression that comes with rejection. Hilty’s character has faced these real-life issues head-on both personally, with Derek’s less-than gentle rejection, and professionally, with her career taking another gigantic leap in the wrong direction. Ivy has faced a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the first season and, in doing so, has really carried a majority of the plot. Think about it — without Hilty’s scene-stealing moments and grand musical numbers, would Smash really be…well…a smash?

Let’s show Hilty the love she truly deserves. If the writers of Smash won’t let this girl have a fake Tony, then the least we can do is let her have a real life Emmy. She wants to be our star — it’s about time we let her.

[Photo credit: NBC]

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