‘Smash’ star Christian Borle’s cover of Billy Joel’s ‘Vienna’ showcases Tom’s gentle side

Christian Borle on "Smash."

Christian Borle on “Smash.”

Christian Borle will be taking on the Billy Joel classic “Vienna” on Saturday’s episode of Smash. The episode, titled “The Phenomenon,” features “an unexpected event that bonds the teams of Bombshell and Hit List.” His cover will be the second time that a Billy Joel song has made an appearance on season two of Smash.   The first Billy Joel song to be featured was “Everybody Loves You Now,” which was performed in the fourth episode of the season, “The Song.”

“Vienna,” which was released online Tuesday morning, is Borle’s first pop cover on the show. On the track, he is accompanied by a piano, which is the instrument of choice for his character, Tom Levitt.

The song showcases a gentler side to Borle, who has performed comedic songs such as “Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking” and “Public Relations” on Smash in the past. In contrast, “Vienna” is a soulful ballad, and Borle simply pours emotion into it, sounding almost painfully world-weary when he repeats the lyrics “When will you realize Vienna waits for you,” as though he is advising the listener to slow down and enjoy life.

“Vienna” may be a fitting song choice after the end of last week’s episode in which Tom’s lover, Kyle walks out in front a speeding car. Kyle’s fate is left in the balance as “The Phenomenon” begins, though promotional photos have been released showing Tom and Kyle together. These photos leave the viewer wondering – will Tom be singing the song to Kyle after his accident, or is it featured in a flashback?

The episode will also feature a new Hit List number written by composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, called “The Love I Meant to Say.” This song, along with a cover of Radiohead’s “High and Dry,” will be performed by Jeremy Jordan.

“The Phenomenon” airs on NBC on Saturday, May 4, at 8pm.

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