Go, Greased Lightnin'!
On Sunday night, Fox took us back to Rydell High with the network’s first-ever live musical, Grease: Live—and the three-hour production had more than its fair share of memorable moments. The special kicked off with the cameras following Jessie J as she performed a rendition of “Grease (Is the Word),” taking viewers on a tour of the soundstage and outside to the production lot, where the cast and crew were armed with umbrellas to combat rainy skies. But despite the weather—or “special guest, El Nino,” as Mario Lopez called it later on in the show—the special proved to be a well-oiled machine.
Julianne Hough pulled off innocent good girl Sandy just right (she hailed from Hough’s native Utah, unlike Olivia Newton-John’s Australian Sandy in Grease). Aaron Tveit killed it as Danny, rocking his T-Birds leather jacket just as well as his gym short-shorts. And Vanessa Hudgens—who dedicated her performance to her father after he passed away the night before the show—slayed as the ultimate tough girl, Rizzo. From the cameos and costumes to the songs and some major #squadgoals courtesy of the Pink Ladies, here are more of our favorite moments from Grease: Live.
1. Keke Palmer’s Performance of “Freddy, My Love”
Starring as Marty Maraschino, Keke Palmer’s performance of “Freddy, My Love” was a red, white, and blue spectacle. During the Pink Ladies’ sleepover, Marty gushed over her boyfriend, Freddy, who’s serving in the Korean War. She began to belt out a tune, dropped her kimono, and was miraculously wearing a glittering red pageant-worthy gown while performing on a U.S.O. stage. The fantasy was short-lived, but it was visually stunning. Plus, the song was a new treat for most Grease fan—while it appeared in the Broadway show, it didn’t appear in the 1978 film.
2. Vanessa Hudgens Rocking Two Wigs at Once
Hudgens nailed the role of Rizzo, and her biggest moment was performing "Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” during the Pink Ladies’ sleepover. The song, which mocks Sandy’s prudish ways, saw Hudgens throwing on a blonde Sandy-esque wig over her own curly wig before jumping around on a bed in one of the special’s most fun scenes.
3. “Greased Lightnin’"
The performance of “Greased Lightnin’” was jazzed up in a major way. The scene started off with the T-Birds wearing drab mechanics uniforms and the banged-up car having seen better days—but all of that quickly changed. While the guys sang and danced, their costumes went from boring to bold, rocking shimmery blue-and-white striped tracksuits. But it was the car that truly stole the scene, magically transforming into a glittering red ride with a white lightning bolt on its side.
4. When Frenchy met Frenchy
Didi Conn, who played the Pink Ladies’ original Frenchy in Grease, returned as the malt shop’s waitress, Vi, in Grease: Live. In a poignant moment during the special, Conn’s character gave the new Frenchy (a pink-haired Carly Rae Jepsen) advice about her future, encouraging her to drop out of beauty school and head back to Rydell High. The scene was short but sweet— and at the end of the show, Conn took her final bow while wearing her own Pink Ladies jacket. Aww.
5. The real bands playing fictional bands
In Grease, Teen Angel was a one-man band. But Grease: Live gave us triple the heavenly crooners, with Boyz II Men bringing their smooth moves to a dreamy performance of “Beauty School Dropout.” And they weren’t the only real-life music act to take the stage during the special. Joe Jonas’s band, DNCE, performed as Johnny Casino and the Gamblers during the school dance, lending a stylish soundtrack to the National Bandstand competition.
6. A fresh take on the hand jive
During the school dance’s National Bandstand competition, the cast performed an all-new take on the hand jive. There were tons of full skirts and impressive dance moves—most notably from Julianne Hough and Aaron Tveit. But then, of course, Cha Cha (Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer) swept in and stole Sandy’s thunder.
7. The carnival
Over the course of the three hours, the rain stopped—just in time for the cast to go outside, hop onto golf carts, and head to the carnival. The town square was decked out with games and rides, but the real attraction was, of course, Sandy’s bombshell new look. Hough’s skintight all-black outfit and big hair lived up to the hype as she left Sandy's innocent ways behind, and it was certainly cause for a celebration.