Bilson plays Silicon Valley marketing expert Alyssa Greene and it was initially reported that she wouldn't sing on the show. But it turns out that when Alyssa gets some liquid courage, she loves to belt out some karaoke. (And really, who among us doesn't?)
"My character might get drunk enough to [sing]. That might happen," Bilson hinted to ET in July. "She’s not going to be belting out any country ballads, but she might have a tipsy tune in there somewhere."
Spoiler alert: It will happen in Thursday's episode, titled "Farther On," and a sneak peek shows that Bilson has some impressive singing skills. When Alyssa belts out the Ray Charles ballad "You Don't Know Me," it's a show-stopper.
Alyssa's karaoke number is just one more reason it's so wonderful to see Bilson back on the small screen. When Hart of Dixie concluded, she took a two-year hiatus to focus on spending time with her young daughter, Briar Rose, who was born in October 2014.
The opportunity to join Nashville came at the perfect time. "It was kismet. We had sold our house in L.A. and [the show] shoots in Nashville. I was like, 'We could go to Nashville for a while,'" Bilson recalled. "It made sense to sort of get my feet wet, so to speak, because I don’t like working too much, because I don’t like to take too much time away from my daughter. So it was the perfect thing to get me get back into it. It worked out really nicely."
She was also enthusiastic about playing Alyssa, who's totally different than her previous characters. (We love Summer Roberts as much as the next person, but Bilson is way too talented to be typecast.) Plus, she always seizes the opportunity to play a strong woman.
"It was something that I hadn’t done before and that was definitely appealing," Bilson said. "I liked that she was strong. She was a strong female character, which I think is so important, especially nowadays. I liked that I knew nothing about anything that she represented. It was a challenge for me and I liked that. I like stepping into characters who are unfamiliar and not a lot like myself."
Of course, you can never entirely take O.C. out of the girl: Bilson's former co-star Chris Carmack, who played Luke on The O.C., also stars in Nashville. The pair hadn't seen each other in nearly 12 years and they were thrilled to be reunited on set.
"It was so cool to see each other now in the place we are in our lives," Bilson said. "It was totally like, ‘Heyyyy!’ Because it was such a special time, The O.C., when that all happened, so it was comforting to see him again."