Wildcats! Welcome to the season 2 recap of High School Musical The Musical The Series; in this article, we will break down the overall season, give out awards to our favorite performers, and try not to break into song every three or four sentences (no promises though). I have mentioned this a few times this season, but once again I would like to say thank you to everyone who has viewed, enjoyed, and sang along to our weekly reviews; it means the world to me that this review series has happened, and that it did as well as it did. Thank you to everyone who responded to our polls on the Boss Rush Entertainment Twitter feed, together with over 2,00 of you Wildcats made your voice heard on who you want to see win the awards in this article.
Season 2 Overall Thoughts
Season 2 was faced right out the gate with a difficult question; should East High cover High School Musical 2 in the spring musical or should they cover a Broadway classic? I thought Disney made a really great choice by giving fans little snippets of what the cast could do with HSM2 (I love that the cast performed “You Are The Music In Me”) and showcasing the cast with Beauty and the Beast. Disney added a traditional high school theater aspect to the show by pitting East High against North High in season 2, however, I felt like the first few episodes were built on this big battle looming once both schools opened their show, and yet opening night was one the most anti-climatic parts of the rivalry. I really enjoyed the performances by Derek Hough (who played Zack, North High’s Director) and Olivia Rose Keegan (who played Lily), both oh which added a level of drama to the show this season. I thought Olivia showcased how a villain can be misunderstood in a way that we don’t see very often in this genre; I lowkey hope she and Ricky date in season 3.
Julia Lester showcased her vocal range this season, as her character Ashlyn was cast as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Joe Serafani who plays Sebastian, gave one of the best performances of the year with his cover of The Climb, Matt Cornett returned as EJ, and was all charm and no bite this season, and Roman Banks came out of nowhere with a brilliant performance as Kortney’s love interest Howie.
Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Basset put aside their personal drama, then delivered a wonderful story about how even the most star-crossed lovers can eventually fall out of sync. I thought Disney did a really great job of using Olivia’s real-life within her character’s story as Nini was pushing herself into a solo music career. I absolutely loved the breakup scene between Ricky and Nini, because it felt so incredibly authentic. I think back to the quote when Nini says “I am so tired of running away”, and Ricky follows with “I don’t like who I’m becoming chasing you down all the time”; the words resonate with fans who have felt trapped in relationships or for those who kept trying to make things work when it wasn’t worth the fight.
The star of season 2 of HSMTMTS is easily Sofia Wylie (who plays Gina); Sofia gave the audience a performance based on authenticity. Throughout season 2 we watched as Gina struggled with her feelings for Ricky, doubts about her own self-worth, and how she eventually found a strong voice inside herself that pushed her to new heights. Sofia brought emotion and chemistry with every scene she performed and her dedication to the character was incredible to watch.
Season 2 Awards
Underdog Award: Julia Lester
The Underdog Award is awarded to Julia Lester for her performance as Ashlyn. In season 1 of HSMTMTS, I was amazed by Julia’s performance in the song “Wondering” because she brought raw power in every performance. In season 2 Julia built on the character she created in season 1 by adding a level of confidence and swagger I was not expecting. Julia isn’t the biggest name on the cast list, but she is the most under appreciated; every scene with Julia is one worth watching.
Best Cover: Joe Serafani “The Climb”
The Best Cover is awarded to Joe Serefani for his INCREDIBLE performance of “The Climb”. I love the relationship that Joe and Frankie Rodriguez have built with their characters Seb and Carlos, and in season two we see how they become the couple goals of the show. Seb performed The Climb during Carlos’s Quincenero, and it earned him the top cover the season, I particularly love the bridge when the music drops back and you hear Joe let his voice control the song.
Best Moment: The Flashback
Rina fans, this is the award you have been waiting for, and I can’t tell you how many DM’s we received about how the flashback needed to win this award. Gina and Ricky have always had incredible chemistry, and in season 2 HSMTMTS gave us a glimpse at the relationship we always wanted.
I wouldn’t quit on us if I wasn’t moving awayGina
Sofia Wylie has easily the best performance of season 2 during the flashback, because she opens herself up emotionally in a way that is really hard to make authentic. I think this moment defines season 2 in ways that very few scenes can; it’s authentic, there’s real emotion, and its simplicity adds to the emotion of the moment.
Best Actor: Joshua Bassett
The best actor of season 2 is awarded to Joshua Bassett for his performance as Ricky Bowen. Ricky went through a journey this season, as he tried to hold together a relationship he fought desperately to get back, he struggled with his dad dating his drama teacher, and ultimately he found peace in letting go. I think without Josh in this season the show would simply fall apart both in drama but also in musical talent.
Best Actress: Olivia Rodrigo
The best actress of season 2 is awarded to Olivia Rodrigo for her performance as Nini. Olivia became one the biggest names in music in the time between seasons 1 and 2, but she didn’t forget to give it her all in season 2 of HSMTMTS. I think the best performance that Olivia gave in season 2 is her part in the breakup scene with Ricky.
The breakup of Nini and Ricky was predictable but the performance within the actual breakup was not; in this scene both, Olivia and Ricky channeled emotions perfectly to give a performance that is heartbreaking but needed to allow these characters to finally separate.
Best Overall Performance: Sofia Wylie
Over 1,800 Sofia Wylie fans flooded our poll on the BRE Twitter account last weekend to share why they loved Sofia Wylie’s performance in season 2 of HSMTMTS. Sofia without a doubt was the MVP of this season and she is only beginning to tap into what makes her an incredible actress. I mentioned earlier in this article how Sofia brought authenticity to her character in ways that really relate to the audience, and I don’t know if there is a better word to describe her performance in season 2 than authentic.
Thank you so much for reading this review of season 2 of HSMTMTS, check Boss Rush tomorrow for a ranking of the original songs performed in season 2.
We will see you for season 3 Wildcats!