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Nick Lachey goes back to High School

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Jul. 18 2008, Published 6:00 a.m. ET

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This may be the only good reason to be in school during summer break.

High School Musical: Summer Session is the reality competition search for the next big Disney star. (Yep, a chance to get close to Zac Efron!).

The twelve finalists, aged 16-18, enroll in a performing arts boot camp, where they are put through different exercises and challenges each week to improve their performance skills.

Unlike other reality shows, no one is voted off during the series’ run. (After all, this is a Disney production!).

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At the end, the lucky winner will get to star in a music video shown during the end credits of the upcoming theatrical release, High School Musical 3.

The winner will also get a talent holding deal with ABC and record two singles with Walt Disney records.

Host Nick Lachey is leading the talented twelve through their competition experience.

I caught up with Nick, who did a stint in the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio, to get the scoop on these young stars-in-the-making.

Are you a High School Musical fan?

I immersed myself in the franchise when I got this, and I am a fan now. I think they’ve done a great job of capturing the high school spirit. It’s obvious why they are so appealing to kids in that age bracket.

If they make High School Musical 4, would you consider doing a cameo?

If they asked me, I’m sure I would think about it, but I can’t imagine where I would fit in to the High School Musical landscape. My grey hairs are giving me away!

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You could be the sexy substitute teacher.

There you go. I’d take that role!

Why did you want to host the competition?

Having gone to a performance arts high school and through similar experiences at the same age as the contestants, I really felt I could relate to this particular show. I’m very interested in trying to promote and support the performing arts especially for kids. This was a perfect fit.

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Did you give the contestants any guidance on surviving the program?

I tried to give them advice whenever I could and support them. It’s a pretty intense environment of learning and performing every day, and I just wanted to be a support system for them.

Is there drama outside of the challenges? Do the contestants have to live in a house together?

It’s not a Big Brother situation dealing with how they get along or fights within the house or any of that garbage. It’s really about these kids learning and growing.

Do you have your eye on anyone for the win?

I’ve been blown away by how talented the group has been collectively. I expected to come out of this thinking there is going to be a clear-cut winner, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think there. Whoever does win is going to be very, very deserving.

High School Musical: Summer Session, premieres Sunday, July 20 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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