Disney+'s meta take on the popular High School Musical moviefranchise gears up for another brand new episode this Friday, and only ET has the exclusive first listen at "Out of the Old," a beautiful new tune performed by 16-year-old series star Olivia Rodrigo, who plays leading lady Nini.
In the Thanksgiving-themed episode, a rambunctious holiday "cast party" at Ashlyn's (Julia Lester) ends with surprising news for Gina (Sofia Wylie), while Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) and Mr. Mazzara (Mark St. Cyr) accidentally spend the holiday together at East High.
ET's exclusive sneak peek features a vignette of emotional moments with Ricky (Joshua Bassett) struggling to apologize for something he said to Nini (Rodrigo) over text; Nini taking down a couples photo of her and Ricky; E.J. (Matt Cornett) in disbelief over losing hundreds (600-plus!) of Instagram followers; and a tear-stricken Gina (Wylie) being consoled by her mother.
But why are the East Highers in such delicate states of mind? Clearly dramatic shifts take place in the upcoming installment, as one can surmise from ET's exclusive first look photos below.
ET recruited original cast member Corbin Bleu to interview the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series cast, where the stars reminisced about what made the Disney franchise so timeless.
"Something that's so special about the original High School Musical films is that it was not only big the year it came out, it was big then and it was big 10 years ago and it's big now and it'll continue to be big. Like, that's just how iconic it is," Rodrigo said. "You don't really need to be a certain age to enjoy the films, which I love."
Bassett recalled the fortuitous way Rodrigo was cast as Nini for the Disney+ series.
"I was the first person cast, which was crazy. I was reading with a bunch of different people and every single person that came in that I read with, who's sitting here, I was like, 'That's the one,' in my head. I knew I wanted them to be in it and it was crazy that it worked out that way," Bassett, 18, said. "Specifically with Olivia, she came in. They told me I wouldn't be singing that day, I was just reading with a bunch of different Nini's and then they come out and they go, 'Hey, can you sing?' I'm like, 'OK, sure....' 'Like, do you just want to do it a cappella?' I was like, 'I think somebody has a guitar?'"
"So I ran out to the waiting room to one of the other Nini's and I was like, 'Yo, can I borrow your guitar real quick?' She gives me her guitar and [Olivia and I] spend two minutes in one of the offices... We put together a rendition of 'Count on Me' by Bruno Mars. She nailed the harmonies, we run inside, do it for all of Disney and from then on, it just clicked," he continued. "And then they assumed I could dance, which was wrong!"
To see more from Bleu's interview with the cast for ET, watch the video below.