Still reeling from the news that Disney has chosen 11-year-old Rowan Blanchard to play Riley Matthews on their upcoming Boy Meets World spin-off? Well, prepare for your mind to be blown a second time — because we just found out that little Rowan likes to sing. And she’s good.
The budding actress already has her very own YouTube channel, where she’s posted a handful of covers over the past year and a half or so. (She’s also got a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account that’s racked up nearly 4,000 tweets. The early bird catches the followers, right?) Rowan favors big, showy tunes that have been covered on Glee, including “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, the show’s “Anything Goes”/”Anything You Can Do” mashup, and Adele’s “Someone Like You,” her take on which I’ve embedded below. It’s a pretty impressive showing, though she doesn’t really reach for the rafters on “don’t forget me!” (To be fair, not even Adele always hits those notes live. Also, ROWAN IS A TINY CHILD.)
On one hand, I’m glad that these videos exist: They prove that Rowan is cute and charismatic, which bodes well for her casting. But on the other hand, they make me worry about the tone Girl Meets World might strike.
When Boy Meets World premiered, it was remarkable precisely because its protagonist was so normal — Cory Matthews’s averageness was essential to his character, and it’s what made him so endlessly relatable. (As it aged, of course, Boy and the boy himself got wackier and wackier — but that’s a topic for another time.)
But if Rowan Blanchard is a singer, chances are that Riley Matthews will be a singer as well. And if Riley harbors dreams of superstardom, Girl Meets World won’t be the story of a regular kid trying to navigate the realities of growing up, like BMW was — it’ll just be the latest in a long string of Disney Channel shows about kids who want to be famous. Which would be a shame, since mining less glitzy material might actually help the nascent series stand out.
These worries are entirely premature, of course; GMW‘s pilot won’t shoot until next month, and the show itself won’t appear on TV screens until the 2013/2014 season (if it gets picked up to series, which is all but inevitable). Even so, Disney execs, take note: Our Girl should be more like Lizzie McGuire than Hannah Montana. And no, I don’t mean the Lizzie who’s mistaken for an Italian pop star in the Lizzie McGuire movie.