A funny thing happened while watching last night’s premiere of “Hellcats,” the new TV show based on my book Cheer!: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders. Yes, I got a little giddy seeing my name flash onscreen in the opening sequence. Yes, I found my hips shaking during the cheer scenes and Aly Michalka’s awesome “Flashdance”-esque dance round the living room. And, yes, I totally got chills in the final scene where the squad saunters toward the entrance of a cheer competition. But I was surprised at just how much I loved Ashley Tisdale in the episode.
See, while I’m a “Degrassi” devotee and “Glee” fanatic, I’ve never gotten into “High School Musical”—I’ve just never watched it. But I was thoroughly thrilled with Tisdale’s portrayal of Savannah, the Hellcats team captain who doesn’t compute sarcasm and demands that the gym be a “no negativity zone.” Tisdale gave the character depth and layers—yes, she can be part mean girl, but it comes purely from a place of wanting her squad to win. And yes she can be completely Type-A, but in other ways, she’s a softie.
I also just saw this interview Tisdale did yesterday on “Regis and Kelly.” I love that Regis thought cheerleading involved batons.
So will you be watching next week to see how things go down for the Hellcats at qualifiers? I hope we’ll be seeing lots more of Ashley in the episode.