Disclaimer: I am not trying to offend Zac Efron or Drew Seeley in this post. I just always wondered what could’ve been, and I love both actors dearly.
I don’t want to assume everyone knows High School Musical (2006), but if you were a kid growing up in the 2000s, you might’ve at least heard of it. The movie had two sequels, a spin-off, and a television series released on Disney+ titled High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. People still talk about it, know all the songs, and fangirl over how Zac Efron was a babe in that movie (or maybe that was just me)! But it’s true, the High School Musical franchise made him a star. The thing that’s been bugging me, though, is Efron didn’t do the vocals for his character in the first film, at least for most of it.
I remember watching the High School Musical: The Concert (2007) DVD as a kid and hearing “Get’cha Head in the Game” and “Breaking Free,” and noticed that the singer sounded suspiciously like Efron, even though he wasn’t present. So for a good ten years, I’ve always wondered why that was the case. Wikipedia finally told me Efron didn’t do the vocals for his character, Troy Bolton, in the first film. So who sang Troy’s parts? It was none other than Drew Seeley.
According to Seventeen, Efron couldn’t hit the high notes for the songs, so Seeley helped him out. However, Efron sang the first few lines in “Start of Something New” and “Breaking Free,” so I’ll give him credit for that.
But I can’t help but wonder if High School Musical would’ve been a hit if Seeley was Troy Bolton instead of Efron. I heard Seeley auditioned for the role as well, which makes this topic more interesting to discuss. Both actors can sing, they’re both charming, and girls would go crazy over them. I saw Seeley on Another Cinderella Story (2008) when I was 10-11 years old, and I thought he was good looking. I would’ve been fine if he was Troy in the first film. But again, I was head over heels for Efron’s character and everything he did after that.
Plus, it’s not like Efron wanted Seeley to take over on the vocals; it just happened. Teen Vogue noted that Efron recorded all of his parts, but his voice didn’t make the final cut. It put him in a weird position, knowing that he lip-synced, and then High School Musical became a sensation. Thankfully, Efron sang all his songs in the following sequels, High School Musical 2 (2007) and High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008). He also sang in Hairspray (2007), another one of my favorite films of his, and The Greatest Showman (2017). I am happy Efron fought for his right to be heard because he does have a fine baritone voice, and “Bet On It” is one of my favorite songs from the whole HSM franchise.
I also have to bring up the age difference. Seeley was born in 1982, while Vanessa Hudgens, who played Gabriella Montez, was born in 1988. So there’s a six-year age gap. Efron, on the other hand, was born in 1987. I know age doesn’t matter at times, but I think it helps if the love interests aren’t too far apart in terms of age.
I still feel a bit uneasy about the 10-year age difference between Selena Gomez and Drew Seeley in Another Cinderella Story, as much as I love the film. But they were supposed to play high schoolers, and Gomez was 15 while Seeley was 26. So I don’t entirely blame Disney for wanting someone younger for the role of Troy.
How did Seeley feel about lending his voice for High School Musical? Efron said that Seeley got the credit he deserved. He also got be Troy for a bit when he took over for Efron on the High School Musical: The Concert tour, which ran from November 29, 2006 to May 30, 2007. Efron couldn’t participate because of his prior commitment to Hairspray.
I know Seeley recorded a few songs for the Disney Channel show Shake It Up (2010-2013), such as “I Do,” “A Space in the Stars,” and “Dance For Life.” He also sang on the movie Lovestruck: The Musical (2013), where he and Chelsea Kane did a pretty catchy rendition of Usher’s “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love.” I think it’s better than the original, haha. Seeley is still acting and making music, so he’s doing well.
I’ve concluded that it was a good thing Disney cast Efron as Troy because I think for his age at the time, he fit the part for a teen idol. What that means is he could appeal to preteen girls and up. He and Hudgens also had great chemistry on and off-screen; they even dated. So if Seeley was Troy Bolton instead of Efron, I don’t think the movie would’ve been as successful, not enough to have a franchise. Again, I wouldn’t have minded if it were the other way around, but the age difference between Hudgens and Seeley steered me towards thinking Efron was the right call.
Let me know in the comments below what you think! Would High School Musical have been as successful if Drew Seeley was Troy Bolton?
Take care and see ya real soon!