One might assume that certain online journalists would be able to easily uncover the identity of the man who most definitely wasn’t Zac Efron during Paris Jackson’s High School Musical live experience.
In an occurrence more confusing than that of the experience the 19-year-old model shared with Jimmy Fallon during her Monday night Tonight Show sit-down, more than one entertainment publication, including MTV News, have noted the performer as being a “random” stand-in for the now 29-year-old heartthrob as he filmed 2005’s The Derby Stallion.
“[Zac] wasn’t there,” the daughter of the late, great Michael Jackson relayed to the talk show host of the memory.
“He was busy filming [the movie] when the [High School Musical] tour was going on. That was the most depressing part. He wasn’t there! I was like, this heartbroken 10-year-old.”
“Instead,” as MTV News’ take from Jackson and Fallon’s chat reads, “some ‘rando’ — who looked nothing like Zac Efron, mind you — showed up to sing all of Zac’s parts.”
Actually, my fellow writers (and Paris), he’s not as “rando” as you all think he is: Allow me to reintroduce you to the one-and-only Drew Seeley, a Canadian actor/singer-songwriter who rose to prominence on American shores as — drum roll, please — the singing voice of Efron throughout the first High School Musical movie.
Feel free to take a moment to pick your jaws back up from the floor before continuing on.
For those who require a deeper reminder of Drew’s talents, the 33-year-old Emmy-nominated performer — who received the nod thanks to “Get’cha Head in the Game,” one of HSM’s most memorable tunes that he co-wrote for the film — was personally asked by Disney and director Kenny Ortega to cover for a vocally-shy Zac when it came to all of his singing scenes (Efron gained more confidence by the time the 2007 sequel rolled around and sang for himself from that point on).
When other career obligations got in the way of Efron showing up for the film’s stage-show follow-up, properly titled High School Musical: The Concert, the move was made to bring Seeley on-board, which finally gave the somewhat-unknown talent his just due by allowing him to be both seen and heard throughout the musical excursion.
Even more hilariously ironic in this particular regard, Drew was personally interviewed by MTV not once, but twice; first by talk show host Alexa Chung in 2007, and later by a reporter from the channel’s spin-off network, ThinkMTV, in 2009 — and the second interview is still accessible to this very day!
“In every town [on the High School Musical live tour], I had to win over the crowd,” the entertainer recalled to OK! Magazine in 2008 about the Efron switcheroo.
“Most people were like, ‘Where’s Zac? Here’s everybody else.’ But I was the first one to get on stage every night and I think by the end of the first song I won over the crowd.”
Seeley did so well, in fact, he was ultimately invited to record a collective of songs for several Disney compilation albums, including a heartwarming take of the Yuletide classic “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” for 2007’s A Disney Channel Holiday and “New Classic” with Selena Gomez for the soundtrack to the 2008 Disney Channel Original Movie Another Cinderella Story, which he also starred in.
Unsurprisingly, however, this is not the first time that someone like Paris Jackson has disregarded Drew for the more-recognizable Efron.
In January of 2016, as a way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first High School Musical flick making its debut, Seeley took to Twitter to laud a special Disney Channel re-airing of the seminal offering and was blasted by Efron fans who believed he was trying to impersonate the actor, as Just Jared Jr. reported.
While nobody can blame Paris Jackson for failing to recall him, let’s hope the media never forgets the cardinal rule that Zac Efron mimed at the end of HSM1: We’re all in this together, and that includes Drew, too!
[Featured Image by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]