How Helen and Erik of ‘Sweet Magnolias’ Became TV’s Best Love Story

On a lighter note, I thought it was interesting when Helen basically friend-zones Erik, and then a day or so later, they end up doing karaoke together and sing “Something to Talk About,” and it all shifts. Was it really that karaoke moment that changed everything for Helen, or do you think she always felt something?

Heather: There’s nothing more sexy than a man singing karaoke, just so you know. [Laughs.] I’ve been begging my husband to redo this scene from The Sound of Music with me forever. I want to go, “Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could.” He’s like, “I’m not playing von Trapp with you. I’m not. I’m not.” I was like, “Come on. We can do this! Our relationship will get even deeper if you can do this with me.” It’s the key. 

Dion: Didn’t you choose “Something to Talk About”?

Heather: I did. They sent a few songs in that we could use, and I was like, “No, no, no, this doesn’t do anything. No.” They went back and were like, “Well, we have these three.” I was like, “‘Something to Talk About.’ This is it. I think it has all this underplay, and they can totally play with it. It’s great.” But can I just say…they tell us we’re going to do karaoke on the show, and I’m like, Great, not a problem. A certain person with the initials D.J. starts texting, calling, sending me notes, sending me emails, saying, “We need to practice. We need to practice. We need to get…” I was like, “It’s karaoke. Nobody practices the karaoke. I’m good. We’ll be good. Don’t worry. I got your back.” He’s like, “No, no, I need to know what’s…” He has full-blown practice sessions by himself and with me. Dion could not…oh, sorry, I just revealed his name. [Laughs.]

Dion: Bless you. I mean, I pulled you aside and was like, “Can you sing my harmony line for me? I just need it once. No, that wasn’t a clear take. One more time.”

Heather: He totally did. He’s like, “Can you sing it for me?” He’s shaking. I was like, “The man just did 25 scenes, nothing.” He has to sing, and he’s like, “Can you just put it on a tape for me?” He was so nervous about singing!

Did you choreograph your moves also?

Dion: No, no. But my issue with karaoke…they’re all tenor songs. They’re all way out of my range. I bust my cords, even hitting the first note. I just needed to know that I could sing it even normally. I’m not trying to make him a Broadway star by any means, but I just needed to know that I could facilitate it. And I was…yeah, I kind of freaked out there.

Heather: I went to Sheryl and said, “Does Helen sing like she’s on Broadway? Does she sing like she’s got a Tony? Does she sing like she just sings in the shower? What level of…how good is Helen?” She’s like, “Oh, whatever, just make Ellen be able to sing.” I was like, “Okay, fine.” But poor Dion was like, “Oh, no. I’m not dealing with Helen.”

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