After just one episode of ‘Nashville,‘ it’s difficult to imagine how the show’s first radio single is going to fit in with the storyline. ‘Telescope’ by Hayden Panettiere — Juliette Barnes on the show — is a rollicking pop-country song about keeping track of one’s man as his eyes wander. After the pilot, it seems like women in ‘Nashville’ need to have telescopic eyes to keep an eye on Barnes, as she climbs aboard everything with a Y chromosome.

We’ll trust the writers of the series to work this song in seamlessly. Perhaps the irony is what will make it so satisfying. Television drama aside, Panettiere proves she can sing with the big girls, and no shortcut is taken in production. ‘Telescope’ thumps a contagious beat that drives one to dance like a great Carrie Underwood song would. (Coincidentally, Panettiere’s ‘Nashville’ character was modeled after the ‘Blown Away’ songstress.)

Try to listen without drumming a finger or tapping a toe. A garden gnome couldn’t stay off the dance floor for this cut.

Won’t do no good if you run from me / There ain’t no cheatin’ scheming my heart don’t see / You left your troubles in my head, in my head / You left secrets in my bed, in my bed,” Panettiere/Barnes sings to open the single.

Lyrically, ‘Telescope’ isn’t sharp enough for a more established country star to sing. The story and metaphors feel made-for-television. ”You can’t hide from me / There ain’t no tricks that you can try on me / I know your every move before you even breathe baby / Thinkin’ you know something I don’t know / But my eyes, my eyes, my eyes are like a telescope,” she sings during the chorus.

Later, she adds: “You’re like the cover of a book that’s been read baby / I know what line is coming next, coming next.”

With Billboard’s new chart methodology, the song could be a country radio hit before it receives any airplay from country radio. Singles from ‘Nashville’ will score big in this way, but like many of the songs from ‘Glee,’ it’s unlikely this — or any others — will be anything but forgotten until the repeat episodes begin next summer.

Look for ‘Telescope’ on Wednesday’s (Oct. 17) second-ever episode of ABC’s ‘Nashville.’

3 Stars

Listen to Hayden Panettiere, ‘Telescope’

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