01/06/2013 09:21 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

'Smash' Season 2: Cast And Producers Talk Jennifer Hudson, Renewed Rivalries And More Music

"Smash" hit the stage at NBC's Television Critics Association winter press tour presentation Sunday, and the cast and creative team (including new showrunner Josh Safran) were on hand to discuss Season 2 of the musical drama.

Here's what we learned about what's coming up when the show premieres on February 5:

More Music: Josh Safran promised that season two will be "bigger" (as well as noting the addition of more cute guys), and that there will be "more music and more musical sequences per episode." The producers are also endeavoring to utilize a more eclectic mix of musical genres this season.

Less Accessorizing: The producers declined to get into specifics of what they thought didn't work last season, except to say that Julia's scarves (as previously reported) will be disappearing. "Our instincts about the show followed a lot of the things people were saying about the show [in terms of criticisms]," said executive producer Craig Zadan. Does that mean we've seen the last of evil assistant Ellis, who -- along with most of the other supporting males from last season -- was written out of the series? "Well, Ellis is still alive ... how can you forget Ellis?" EP Neil Meron pointed out with a laugh.

Guest Stars Galore: In addition to scene-stealer Jennifer Hudson, the producers confirmed Liza Minnelli, Sean Hayes and the return of Bernadette Peters as Ivy's overbearing stage mom. Safran confirmed Hudson would be in three of the first four episodes, and star Megan Hilty reflected, "it was incredible to hear her up close. she brought such a great energy to set ... and she's such a kind and generous person on top of all that."

Authenticity: While Hilty admitted that the cast has certainly heard criticisms about the show's realism (or lack thereof), Christian Borle promised, "there are some things coming up that are so insidery, people won't believe they really happen ... some Broadway rituals." When one reporter praised the show for being "the gayest show on television" in terms of both storylines and characters, Safran pointed out that such inclusiveness "is representative of the world." Despite the criticisms, new cast member Jeremy Jordan said that "most people in the Broadway community watch it pretty religiously, I think ... If it was going to connect to anybody, it would be us, because it's about us."

Bombshell on Broadway? For as long as the show has been in production, rumors have endured that the series' central musical, "Bombshell," might someday make it to an actual Broadway stage. According to Meron, those conversations are still ongoing: "We stand on the set and we watch the 'Bombshell' moments, and we always say, 'wouldn't this show be great on Broadway?' That's where we left it, having those discussions ad infinitum ... I think all of us think yes, but have we done anything? No."

"Idol" chatter: Katherine McPhee hasn't forgotten her roots, admitting that she keeps up with the show that launched her career and still pays attention to the ongoing changes on the judging panel. When asked for words of wisdom for aspiring "Idol" contestants, she said, "I really did not know myself when I was on that show, as a musician, and that was a big challenge for me coming off the show, because I kind of wanted to be an actress ... I didn't realize I was supposed to have an identity as a musician [after I left] ... If you're not ready to that, you should probably try to figure out who you are [before auditioning]."

Renewed Rivalry: After Ivy (Hilty) slept with Karen's (McPhee) fiance at the end of last season, they begin this year back on thin ice with each other. "I love our relationship because it is on a constant rollercoaster and you never know if they're going to be friends," Hilty said. "They have all these beautiful moments and then someone goes and ruins it. It'll always be that way and you'll never know where they are." McPhee agreed, "[After last season] it kind of makes sense for Karen and Ivy to have very little interaction and then you'll see us come back together and it'll be ... interesting."

"Smash" Season 2 premieres with a two-hour episode on Tues., Feb 5 at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.

Watch a new promo for "Smash" below:

Smash Season 2