On Thursday's jam-packed episode of Ugly Betty (8 pm/ET, ABC), Betty's neighbor and new crush, Jesse, will dedicate a love song to her. It's called "Snowy Day," and it was written by Val Emmich, the actor who plays Jesse, who is also a musician. (Aside: Watch this episode. In addition to Emmich's spotlight, it's full of surprises, featuring standout performances by Becki Newton and Vanessa L. Williams.)
You might recognize Emmich from his recent run of man-candy guest-starring roles. That was him sucking face with Lucy Liu on Cashmere Mafia. He made Frank gay as the Oedipal intern Jamie, who comes on to "sexy librarian" Liz Lemon on 30 Rock.
When Emmich learned that starving-artist Jesse and his hilariously named band, Dark Sexual Journey, would be performing two songs at a "Mode" magazine function, he approached the producers about using his own music on the show. "I only recently learned how to fight for these things. They told me about the concert, and I said, 'Well, please use my band.' And they were cool with it; it made sense." In addition to "Snowy Day," which Emmich wrote specifically for the show, during the episode he also sings "Get On with It," the first single from his album Little Daggers (in stores and on iTunes now; check out his MySpace page to take a listen). If you listened closely earlier in the season, you also heard Emmich's cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl" on the show as well.
Emmich, whose singing voice at times evokes that of a young David Bowie, says that he has resisted auditioning for musician roles in the past. "They often don't ring true to me," he says. "This seemed like a 'get out of jail free' card in that the show is trying to be larger than life. These are caricatures of people in a way. So I figured it could be fun." After snagging an early copy of the episode's script, he tailored "Snowy Day"'s lyrics to a recurring motif in the episode: that Betty is like a "snow day" to Jesse because she makes him forget his crummy life.
So does Jesse's love-song dedication mean that Betty has found true love? Emmich confirms that he hasn't kissed America Ferrara yet, but that he has been contracted to appear in future Ugly Betty episodes. So stay tuned.
In the meantime, do you like Jesse as Betty's new love interest? More importantly, do you like Val Emmich as a musician?
Watch full episodes of Ugly Betty in our Online Video Guide