How is Allison Lanier doing in the role of Summer Newman so far? We’re grading the recast on her performance, so don’t forget to add your score in the poll below!
When reports surfaced that The Young and the Restless (Y&R) had put out a casting call for Summer Newman, most viewers were not pleased. “Skyle” fans, in particular, had expected both Hunter King and Michael Mealor to reprise their super couple roles.
And you can’t blame them for hoping! King may have announced her exit from the CBS soap months earlier, but her character was still making sporadic appearances via video calls from Milan. Besides that, fans had been watching King develop the role for a whole decade.
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So when fans acknowledged that the casting call – which asked for “a dynamic, attractive woman in her late 20’s – savvy, fun-loving, and refined, from a powerful and rich family” – was clearly for the part of Summer Newman, the gauntlet was dropped. Who can fill King’s shoes?
As it turns out, recast Allison Lanier fills those shoes with ease! Lanier may not have King’s robust presence but perhaps that’s the point. If King’s energy was ideal for a 20-something Newman figuring her life out, then Lanier’s the ideal choice to bring Summer into her 30s and beyond.
Summer has already grown significantly under Lanier’s brief tenure. She has a protective yet soft demeanor as a mother figure to Harrison, and she’s working hard to give Kyle’s mother, Diane, the benefit of the doubt. Sure, she’s still petty with Mariah, but there’s gotta be some room for growth!
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Besides, Lanier has a knack for that spitfire energy, which she wisely reserves for moments when she needs to manage expectations. The new Summer does a great job of toning down Phyllis’s aggressive edges, or gently pushing Kyle to express his feelings.
More recently, Lanier proved that she totally belonged at the table when she confronted Phyllis and Nikki – played by legendary soap actresses Michelle Stafford and Melody Thomas Scott – about their dinner with investigative reporter Talia Morgan.
Of course, replacing King has just as much to do with being half of “Skyle” as being a shrewd, intelligent Newman. The super couple was one of the most beloved in daytime drama, with fans all over the world. So how is Lanier’s chemistry with Kyle? A solid 7 out of 10 right now, but full of potential.
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If her romantic scenes with Mealor haven’t been mind-blowing so far, viewers are willing to give the couple a grace period. It takes time to develop a natural, syncopated body language with another actor, especially in a genre which uses the first take 95% of the time!
Luckily for viewers, Lanier and Mealor score perfectly as a happy and settled couple outside of the bedroom. They seem to split parental duties evenly – unlike Abby and Chance, who leave Dominic with the Nanny every chance they get – and share the same enthusiasm for business and fashion.
Moreover, there’s a palpable sense that the co-stars genuinely enjoy each other’s company, which is critical for “Skyle 2.0” fans. Let’s just hope head writer Josh Griffith gives them something to talk about other than their mothers!
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On that note, it’s worth mentioning that Summer has yet to experience any serious conflict since returning to Genoa City. Outside of a nuanced performance when she was saddened by Ashland’s demise (for Harrison’s sake, obviously), Lanier hasn’t had to dig deep yet.
But we know trouble is coming. With Phyllis and Kyle’s mother – both wiley and unpredictable enemies of one another – working for the same company, Summer’s bound to get wrapped up in some drama soon. Plus, the new Summer hasn’t run into Sally Spectra yet!
We’ve seen Lanier’s quiet command of Summer – she’s confident and poised. But what about Newman’s flustered and angry side? If Kyle’s eye begins to wander when that new exec, Audra Charles, comes to town, will Lanier have the bluster to convey that jealousy well?
Given everything we’ve seen so far, there’s no reason to doubt that Lanier will continue to evolve into this beloved role.
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