Julianne Hough has a lot on her plate. In addition to possibly returning to “Dancing with the Stars” next season (she’s playing coy on that one), she is putting the finishing touches on her second solo album and working on two films.
Hitfix went to a listening party for her new album yesterday at the Mercury Nashville offices. We’ll get to the music in a second, but she also filled in folks on the latest with the ever-moving status of the “Footloose” remake.
She remains attached to the project as the female lead and said a new draft has brought back some of the “edge” of the original as opposed to making it into a full blown musical. “Hustle & Flow” director Craig Brewer is now helming the project after Kenny Ortega left the movie. She said shooting begins this summer, despite the absence of a confirmed male lead for the part originally played by Kevin Bacon. After Zac Efron and Chace Crawford both dropped out, Paramount has now been conducting an on-line video search.
Hough also appears in “Burlesque,” which stars Cher and Christina Aguilera. She plays against type in the movie, playing someone “red head and pregnant.”
But the focus on the event was music, with Hough introducing four new tracks including first single “Is That So Wrong,” which is about not wanting to be alone “when a friend is not enough.” Hough co-wrote the mid-tempo ballad with Sarah Buxton and Blair Daly.
Hough also played another mid-tempo tune about heartbreak, “That’s What the Night is For.” “This one is moody and I see all kinds of visual things, like at awards shows, hanging from the ceiling,” she said, leading her record company executives blanched as they had a visual of their own: The amount of money it would take to make such a performance happen.
She also previewed the up-tempo, spunky “Too Good to Be True,” a song that, as Hough puts it, makes you want to “dance your butt off,” as well as “Wildfire,” about a girl who gets scared and always burns the man she’s with (not literally, of course.” This song is about me to a T,” she said. “I wish I’d written this song.” Is Chuck Wicks, her former beau, listening?
The album, produced by Dann Huff, best known for his work with artists like Faith Hill and Keith Urban, finds Hough displaying a confidence missing from her 2008 self-titled debut. That set debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, but failed to produce any significant singles beyond “That Song in My Head,” which stalled at No. 18. No release date for the new set has been announced.