Sara Evans knows a thing or two about Nashville's Rayna Jaymes.
The country superstar guest stars on Wednesday's episode of the hit ABC drama, playing a semi-fictionalized version of herself and giving Rayna a run for her money. But Sara tells ETonline that she and Connie Britton's character are actually cut from the same cloth.
"I think Rayna is a combination of me and Faith Hill and probably a little bit of Martina [McBride]," Evans says. "She's the established female artist with children, and she's sort of at this crossroads in many ways in her career."
Like Rayna, Sara's career is hotter than ever and she has two musically-gifted young daughters. Sara also went through a highly publicized divorce back in 2007 and today, she is happily married to former pro-football player Jay Barker with a blended family that totals seven kids.
That's why, Sara says, Nashville producers called on her to advise the writers on "what it's really like to be a female country music star."
Sara is following in the footsteps of Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan and the guys of Florida Georgia Line as the latest real-life country star to make a guest appearance on the show. But while the boys of country have all made all-too-brief cameo appearances, Sara is the first to dig her teeth into a meatier storyline. (And we can’t wait to see what trouble she stirs up!)
After meeting with the show's creative team, Sara snagged an invite to appear on-screen opposite Britton and Will Chase, whose King of Country character Luke Wheeler invites Sara on the road with him to sing a duet version of Sara's single "Put My Heart Down."
"I think that my friendship with [Luke Wheeler] – fake Sara Evans with Luke Wheeler – is going to cause problems between Luke and Rayna," Sara teases. She adds, joking, "I'm going to be the nightmare that she didn't expect."
With Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) distracted by a surprise pregnancy, Sara could fill the nemesis void for Rayna. And while Juliette's pregnancy was obviously written-in to cover Hayden's real-life baby bump, we just had to ask who inspires those Juliette antics that we all love to hate.
"I can think of some people," Sara coyly answers. "Obviously they're making her out to be a newcomer and she's sort of someone who came on the scene and had big hits right away. She didn't really have to work for it, probably takes it for granted… I've definitely seen it over the years."
Sara also hints at trouble in paradise with Deacon (Charles Esten) and his new tour hookup, Pam (Brette Taylor) – and a possible recurring role for her fictional self.
"It seems like the way they wrote my guest starring role, there's more of me," Sara says. Clue No. 1: Deacon may have a crush. In one party scene, where the musically-inclined cast breaks out into song, Sara says that Esten's character keeps "staring" at her.
"I was like, 'They [the writers] know something I don't.'" she speculates, "They're going to ask me to be a part of this show and they're setting it up."
Nashville airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Go behind the scenes in ETonline's exclusive blooper reel from the show below.
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