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Fred Hayes/Disney+; Adam Larkey/Disney Channel/Courtesy Everett Collection
Joshua Bassett and his High School Musical: The Musical: The Series costars had some big shoes to fill when the spinoff premiered in 2019.
But the actor, 20, isn't worried about living up to the original cast in season 2 of the Disney+ series, which features his performance of "Bet on It," originated by Zac Efron in High School Musical 2. "I was a little bit intimidated that I was going to not do it justice," Bassett told Entertainment Weekly ahead of Friday's season 2 premiere.
"But once I realized that I'm not supposed to be doing it justice and it's really just Ricky trying his best — I'm not trying to live up to Zac Efron's performance or Troy — then I was like, we can just have fun with this one," he continued. "But it was definitely a little intimidating at first," Bassett said.
The singer and choreographer Zach Woodlee recreated Efron's dance moves from the 2007 sequel, which have since been meme-ified numerous times for public amusement. "Oh man, he does these weird hand movements, I don't even know," Bassett jokingly recalled of Efron's performance. "Man, he does some weird stuff, I don't know where they came up with that."
"It was insane," he added. "It's such a random dance when you actually watch what Zac's doing in the movie, you're like, 'What are you on?! What are you doing?' It was interesting learning all that weird stuff but just a blast. I tried my best."
Bassett plays skateboarder Ricky Bowen in the mockumentary series about students at the high school, where the beloved 2006 Disney Channel movie musical was filmed, putting on a theater production of the show for the first time.
His character is part of a love triangle with Nini Salazar-Roberts, played by Olivia Rodrigo. Bassett has faced speculation about a real-life love triangle between himself, Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter after fans started sparking theories about Rodrigo's hit debut single "Driver's License."
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"People are going to have their opinions on who Ricky and Nini should be with," he told the Huffington Post. "It starts to bleed into real life, and people make assumptions about what they want to happen. I can't take it personally, because it's not founded in truth. Most people are making theories up. They're just not informed."
The "Feel Something" artist previously opened up to PEOPLE about how he handles the social media gossip. "I just don't subject myself to a lot of the negative talk, because I just don't want to focus on the negativity," Bassett said. "I'd rather focus on the music and the good stuff, and I think, naturally, that's what will go the distance, and the talk will go away."