February 13, 2012 9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Smash': Are You Team Ivy or Team Karen?
How far will the girl next door, Karen, and the Broadway veteran, Ivy, go to achieve their dreams and land the starring role in the Marilyn Monroe play at the center of NBC's Smash?
With both actresses -- played by Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty, respectively, earning second callbacks from the musical's producers, the competition to land the coveted role goes into overdrive during Monday's second episode, "Callbacks."
So are you Team Karen or Team Ivy?
"She wants to be the star and I don't think Karen is going to stop until she gets there," McPhee tells The Hollywood Reporter. "She's so sweet and loving and naive but don't get her wrong, she's still a competitor."
That much is evident when Karen wows during her first callback in the premiere, clearly impressing everyone with her cover of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful," when she makes an impression not only with her voice but also by not coming to the audition dressed as Marilyn.
While Karen's drive has its limits -- she leaves director Derek (Jack Davenport) hanging after impressing him yet again during a late-night coaching call to his home to showcase Marilyn's sexy side -- McPhee says the "green" character will do her best to hold on to her moral code.
"She wants to do the right thing and [get the part] in a way that will make her parents -- even though they're not totally happy with what she's doing -- that will make them feel OK about the way that she went about doing it," she says.
Ivy, meanwhile, already seems to have a few key supporters in her corner as she pursues the lead role with a different motivation, having toiled as an ensemble player for 10 years to the point of frustration.
With more experience on Broadway and support from Tom (Christian Borle) already working to her benefit, Hilty's Ivy already has a leg up on her competition having performed the role during "The National Pastime" performance.
"She has really vulnerable moments along with a cut-throat 'Don't stand in my way' attitude," Hilty tells THR. "That's part of the intrigue of series -- it's always questioning in any profession how far you'll go to achieve your dreams. Ivy will go pretty far, she's a very big personality and is extremely anxious now that she's so close to achieving her goals."
What will Ivy do when push comes to shove? How far could she go when push comes to shove? That much will be answered during "Callbacks," when Smash crowns its Marilyn.
STORY: 'Smash' Megan Hilty Covers Carrie Underwood's 'Crazy Dreams'
So who would you like to see land the role? Are you Team Ivy or Team Karen?Smash airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC