On May 10, in what I referred to on Facebook as “the worst-kept secret in television,” NBC canceled the musical show Smash. The series had been under threat of cancellation for basically the entire season, so it came as little surprise. I defended the show in a post early in the season, saying NBC shouldn’t be quick to cancel the show because of its amazing music. However, several plot points in the second season fell flat, such as the introduction of the Jimmy Collins character, who was probably one of the most unlikable characters on TV for a big chunk of the season. Katherine McPhee (Karen Cartwright) also suddenly lost the ability to act, delivering several wooden performances that made it look like she didn’t even want to be there at times. The plot of the show picked up about halfway through the season, but so many people had stopped watching by then that Castle reruns were beating it in the ratings.
However, one thing stayed consistent throughout the second season: great music. The second season of Smash focused less on covers and more on original songs, but maintained the high level of production and performance that characterized the first season. Even though the show is over, I’m glad I get to carry these songs around with me to remind me of how much I liked it.
Here were some of the best original songs from Season 2:
I Heard Your Voice in a Dream: Despite his character being maddeningly annoying, Jeremy Jordan (Jimmy) can SING, which he proved in this song and the one below it. This song was written by Andrew McMahon of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin fame, and showcases his awesome piano writing skills.
Broadway, Here I Come!: Jordan shows off his pipes even more in this song, hitting a great high note near the end. This song, appropriately, convinces Karen to help Jimmy and his friend Kyle with their musical, Hit List, that eventually ends up on Broadway.
The cast of the aforementioned musical also do a cool a cappella rendition of the song in the finale at the Tony Awards.
Heart-Shaped Wreckage: Jimmy and Karen duet on this nice reconciliation song between their two characters on Hit List.
And here were my favorite covers from Season 2:
Under Pressure: The main cast does an awesome rendition of the classic Queen/David Bowie hit, with a tribute to Rent at the end. See if you can spot it.
If I Were a Boy: Ana Vargas earns herself the Diva role in Hit List with this sexy Beyonce cover. I love the expression on her face at the end, as if to say, “What the fuck did I just do?!”
On Broadway: Jennifer Hudson (as Broadway star Veronica Moore) and Karen resurrect this Drifters hit, which shows off both their amazing ranges and emotive voices.