Nashville’s Best Celebrity Cameos
There’s a lot of great things about TV’s Nashville: the music, the drama, the romance! And then there’s the celebrity cameos that make the series even better. With 4 seasons under its belt – and a new season in the works with the CMT network – several celebrities have joined the cast over the years. Some celebrities have come on board to play themselves, while others have taken on roles as ficitionalized characters. With so many cameos to choose from, we’ve picked out some of our favorites throughout the seasons. We can’t wait to see what next season has in store!
10. Derek Hough
Professional dancer Derek Hough made several appearances throughout season 3 and 4 of Nashville playing Juliette Barnes’ (Hayden Panettiere) handsome co-star Noah West in the Patsy Cline biography Shenandoah Girl. West made it known to Juliette that he had a thing for her, and promised to keep her pregnancy secret safe. In season 4, Barnes’ relationship with Avery fell apart due to postpartum depression. Trying to move on with her life, she runs into Noah at the Academy Awards and the two start a fling. Even though we’re all hoping Juliette and Avery (Johnathan Jackson) will rekindle their relationship next season, we admit that we couldn’t help but enjoy the romantic tension between Juliette and the handsome Noah. As a result from working on the show, the two have become good friends. Hough has been a supportive friend to Panettiere as she seeks treatment for postpartum depression, reportedly writing her letters to let her know he’s thinking of her.
9. Thomas Rhett
Some of the greatest parts of Nashville are the musical performances. In addition to an exceptionally talented musical cast, the show also features performances by some of country music’s best. In season 4, singer Thomas Rhett played himself in the episode “Didn’t Expect It To Go Down This Way.” The singer stepped in to help out Luke Wheeler (Will Chase) after his old pal, Riff Bell (Steve Kazee), bailed on him before their big upcoming tour. Rhett performed his hit, “Die a Happy Man,” to an excited crowd of fans. His cameo was a welcome relief from all the drama caused by Maddie, Layla, and Autumn!
8. Steven Tyler
Season 4 of Nashville went off with a bang when legendary rock star Steven Tyler guest starred as himself. The Aerosmith frontman shared the stage with Juliette Barnes to perform a version of “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. The theatrical rocker didn’t disappoint and made his duet a fun one to watch! The performance was filmed live in front of the audience with no lip syncing. Tyler told Entertainment Weekly, “Why lip sync when you can sing live? And yes — she [Panettiere] is that good! We had to give the audience a performance. My favorite thing about filming is that I can yell, “CUT!” and have a do-over if I want. There are no cuts in rock n’ roll.”
7. Elton John
Sir Elton John joined in on all the Nashville fun when he guest starred as himself in the penultimate episode of season 4. John played a concert and had Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio) join him up on stage. The two performed “Blue Wonderful,” a song from John’s most recent studio album “Wonderful Crazy Night.” Watching the performance, it’s evident that not only was Gunnar having a fan moment, but Palladio himself! Charles Esten, who plays Deacon Claybourne, admitted he was jealous for missing John’s cameo on the show. Esten was away from set that day, and said, “I’m trying not to hold it against Sam too much.”
6. Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley had so much fun guest starring on Nashville that he’s done it not once but twice! On the season finale of season 1, Paisley performed with Rayna James (Connie Britton) and Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) for the Country Music Awards. He rejoined the cast for season 2, where he inducted Juliette Barnes into the Grand Ole Opry. Paisley was the first renowned singer-songwriter to perform musically on the show. His wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, was a cast member who played Peggy Kenter, a woman who had an affair with Rayna James’ husband Teddy Conrad (Eric Close). When asked by Parade Magazine about his experience of working on his wife’s show, Paisley said he wasn’t sure about doing it. “[I]t’s a little odd, having Kim on there playing somebody else, I can’t watch it. It is really good, but it’s disturbing to me.”
5. Wyclef Jean
Rapper, politician, and record producer Wyclef Jean had a recurring role in the first season of Nashville. The ex-Fugee played Dominic King, a smooth and determined record executive who tries to woo Avery Barkley into a record deal as a solo act. Jean had a 5-episode run, where he ultimately convinced Barkley to ditch his band. This is not the first time Jean has starred on a TV series. He also guest starred on NBC’s Third Watch for 4 episodes where he played a gang leader.
4. Michelle Obama
While Nashville showcased a lot of great talent during its seasons, it’s also featured a big political figure. In season 2’s “All or Nothing with Me,” First Lady Michelle Obama made a special appearance for Rayna James’ charity event at the army base Fort Campbell. While she wasn’t exactly there in person, Obama recorded a message where she extended her support to the troops. It would have been great to have her directly on the show, but she was likely tied up and unable to commit to the show’s taping schedule. That said, it’s still very cool to have the First Lady on the show!
3. Sara Evans
The talented Sara Evans came on board to Nashville for season 3, where she sang a duet with Will Chase for her new single, “Put My Heart Down.” Evans was pumped for her role on the show. “I was so excited,” she told People about her time on the set. “I’ve been watching the show since the beginning.” The producers of Nashville also asked Evans to be a consultant for their writers so they could better depict what it’s like to be a female country artist. Speaking about the show’s lead character Rayna James, Evans said, “I think Rayna is a combination of me and Faith Hill and probably a little bit of Martina [McBride]. She’s the established female artist with children, and she’s sort of at this crossroads in many ways in her career.”
2. Zac Brown
In season 2, country musician Zac Brown paired up with Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen), to perform a beautiful version of his song, “Free.” What makes the scene so great is that it was filmed during the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival in Nashville that previous summer. While attending the festival, Bowen joined Brown for the song, which ABC later chose to incorporate into the show. The version was released as a digital single and is available on iTunes.
1. Christina Aguilera
As Nashville gained popularity, it attracted many high-profile artists including the soulful Christina Aguilera. The singer joined the show for a series of episodes where she played successful pop star Jade St. Jean. The former fiancée of Edgehill’s Jeff Fordham, St. Jean came to Nashville to revisit her country music roots and stir up a little romance with Luke Wheeler after his breakup with Rayna James. Aguilera showed she had the chops to sing country music, as reflected by her great performances while on the show. She was committed to her part, and expressed her excitement for her role on Instagram: “Jade’s been busy studying her lines. Can’t wait for #Nashville!”