The Wednesday Playlist: Musical Rivalries on Nashville as Voice Takes On Idol

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Nashville | Photo Credits: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC
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Nashville | Photo Credits: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC

Don't you hate when this sort of thing happens? Country diva frenemies Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) both get nominated for CMA Awards on ABC's Nashville (Wednesday, 10/9c) — oh who am I kidding, we love when these things happen. As if their rivalry needed more ammo. Burning question: Will Rayna bring her currently on-again squeeze Deacon Claybourne (the terrific Charles Esten) as arm candy to the Edgehill Records party in the songbirds' honor? (Their love scene last week surely singed a few guitar strings.) In news from a lower rung of the country music food chain, there's tension between Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Will (Chris Carmack), which might have something to do with the kiss Will tried to lay on him at the end of the last episode. Which might make for a really interesting country song somewhere down the road. Things are clearly heating up as this show nears the end of its first season.

The stakes are much higher in the world of the singing-competition war, as American Idol's Top Three each take on three songs in the next-to-last live performance show (8/7c) — a "Judges' Choice," a "Jimmy's Choice" (let's hope Jimmy Iovine gives a critique afterward as well; he's always more on point than the judges) and an "Idol's Choice." As I've said before: Go, Candice. ... Over at NBC's The Voice, which usually limits itself to Mondays and Tuesdays, a live results show (8/7c) overlaps the first hour of Idol, hoping to pull focus as we learn which two singers from each team earned America's vote, and which of the remaining contestants each judge will choose to save.

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FOR LAUGHS: Will Frankie ever get a truly happy Mother's Day on ABC's The Middle? In this year's themed episode (8/7c), she clues her kids in on her heart's desire so they can drop hints to a typically obtuse Mike. Good luck with that, because Poor Sue is busy turning to Reverend TimTom for solace when all of her friends get their driver's licenses, and Axl is reeling over bad news from his prom date Cassidy. ... On ABC's Modern Family (9/8c), Cam tries to keep his cool — how often does that work out? — when the whole family is invited to a fundraiser by Mitchell's ex, a successful doctor (Larry Sullivan).

THE CRIME BLOTTER: Returning to the Law & Order franchise: former Criminal Intent detective, now Lt. Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe), on NBC's Law & Order: SVU (9/8c), helping investigate a series of sniper attacks on police that appear to be related to Fin's days on the narcotics beat. ... On CBS' CSI (10/9c), the hunt is on for the killer of a ghost hunter. Does Syfy know about this? ... What is it with The CW's Arrow (8/7c) and hoodies? This time it's Malcolm aka the "Dark Archer" (John Barrowman) who's putting on the black hood in preparation for the Undertaking. Which must mean the finale is only one week away.

THE WEDNESDAY GUIDE: Castiel is back on The CW's Supernatural (9/8c) to help the Winchester boys find the key to the third trial, which may lurk within an undiscovered film. Is that why the episode is titled "Clip Show," or could that have something to do with the devious Crowley digging into the brothers' past? ... With only one episode left until Sunday's extended finale, CBS' Survivor (8/7c) brings on the family reunions, always good for a cry or two, while one of the remaining castaways ponders a game-changer, which is what we like to hear this late in the game. ... Remember when movie great-turned-pitchman Orson Welles used to promise, "We will sell no wine before its time?" Maybe his time has come again, as Syfy's Haunted Collector (9/8c) explores the Hollywood mansion where Welles once resided, which has been experiencing all manner of possibly paranormal events. If a ghost whispers "Rosebud," I might believe it.

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