Vanessa Hudgens, Soon-To-Be Gay Icon

If Levi Johnston can be a gay icon in name only (which, let’s be honest, he isn’t even that), what’s to stop Vanessa Hudgens? Actually, hurting her chances of courting America’s gays is her showmance with Zac Efron. Nothing pisses us off more than the girl stealing the man we’re trying to claim. But aiding her attempt to win over homosexual men not of the tweenage demographic is Neil Patrick Harris, who is stunt casting the High School Musical alum in his three-day production of Rent.

“She came in for a work session, and I must say, Vanessa really impressed,” says Harris, who is directing the show. “She looks amazing, has great vocal chops and seems really committed to honoring the somewhat iconic role of Mimi. I look forward to audiences seeing a dark, edgy and very different side of Vanessa Hudgens this August.”

Dark and edgy, because Hudgens will be playing the role of Mimi, the one who sings about her viral loads.

We’ve spent more hours than we’d like to talk about wondering why tween sensations in the vain of Hudgens — like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale — haven’t developed the gay fan base that should come so easily. After all, these girls were our best friends in high school; they were the pretty popular girls protecting us from the mean jocks. And yet, whether it’s because of their age or Lady Gaga taking over all your sensory functions, they just aren’t registering. (The only one we can explain is that Miley figure, because not only is she a brat, she continues to admit she’s a cultural fraud, and we don’t accept The Inauthentics.)

So does NPH have the power to induct a pretty musically-inclined lass into gay icon status? He hasn’t shown us that wizardry just yet. But if there’s anything we’ve learned to expect from Mr. Harris, it’s that a song and dance routine can convince us of anything.