My Thoughts On FOX’s Grease Live

I thought the best thing about Grease Live was the fact that Grease Live didn’t suck. In fact, I thought it was actually pretty good! If we compare the performance to its live-action counterparts (Sound of Music, Peter Pan and The Wiz) I’d say the producers of Grease Live learned many lessons from NBC on what NOT to do.

FOX decided to remove the Broadway stage component and replace it with a huge warehouse on the Warner Bros lot in Los Angeles. They were also completely unapologetic about the fact that the performance was live. They celebrated the pre-show dancing in the hallways scene with cell phone photos, behind-the-scenes set shots and last-minute umbrella purchases for the outdoor scenes, thanks to L.A.’s uninvited guest El Niño.

The actors came to play. The songs were pretty much on point. And Boyz II Men were a collective version of Teen Angel. I may have died. I know I stood up.

Here’s a breakdown of some of my favorite moments, as well as a list of my favorite performances. Enjoy.

G’day Mate
Sandy is not from Australia anymore. She’s from Utah. And she knows how to rock a green screen projecting crashing waves at a fake beach. So does Danny Zuko. Who cares that he’s a 33-year-old high school student? We all grew up with Beverly Hills 90210. If we can suspend our beliefs with Dylan, Steve, Brandon and Andrea, we can totally do it with Danny. I approve.

Blonde Ambition Tour
I had no idea the girl singing “Grease (Is the Word)” was Jessie J. I blame the platinum hair. She did a phenomenal job. I’m always impressed with the artists who can move around and sing at the same time. She worked the camera, worked the extras and owned the slight drizzle that fell in her face the entire time she was performing outside. Well done.

How Do I Know Kenickie Again?
He’s Carlos PenaVega. Some of you youngsters may know him from the Nickelodeon series and Big Time Rush and boy band by the same name. For those of you who stopped watching Nickelodeon right around the time of You Can’t Do That On Television, you may know him from this season’s Dancing with the Stars. He was Witney’s partner. They competed against his wife Alexa. I thought Carlos was a solid performer.

How Do I Know Danny Zuko Again?
Aaron Tveit is a Broadway guy. He’s acted in a ton of plays. You may know him as Mike Warren in Graceland. I know him as Enjolras from Les Miserables. Spoiler: The dude can sing. And he’s not so bad to look at either. Hello shorty shorts!

Call Me Maybe
Carly Rae Jepsen did such a good job that I Googled to see if she had any Broadway performances in her resume. She does. I also choose to believe that she was ACTUALLY fan-girling when Boyz II Men serenaded her during “Beauty School Drop-Out.” Am I right? PS: I have since purchased the song and will listen to it for the rest of my days. Thank you B2M.

It’s Time To Call a Spade, a Spade
I loved, loved, loved when Julianne Hough was a dancer on Dancing with the Stars. I have mixed feelings about her being a judge on the show, but that’s a rant for another post. I never really think about her being an actress, yet I’ve seen pretty much every movie she’s ever been in. This is a weird fact that I’m still processing, yet it is very much true. Please do not judge me as I tick down her resume:

Burlesque — I OWN THIS MOVIE. Bless me.
Footloose — Nothing will be as good as the original. She had the deck stacked against her when they decided to remake it. Give me a break.
Rock of Ages — I OWN THIS MOVE AND LOVE IT WITH ALL MY HEART. Don’t be jealous.
Safe Haven — I saw this movie on opening day. Because Josh Duhmal. And Nicholas Sparks. But mostly Josh Duhmal.

I never think of Julianne as a singer. I will admit that she did hold her own against Broadway superstar Aaron and twenty bopper icons Carly Rae and Vanessa Hudgens. I do find it odd that they didn’t secure a Broadway vet for the role of Sandy, but I’ll concede. I bet the black leather catsuit had something to do with the decision-making process. Plus, they needed someone with fine hair so they could go from straight, innocent to wild and curly in the time frame of one commercial break.

“Her jugs are bigger than her nets?”
Fun fact: I thought this was the line growing up until my Mama explained to me that the T-Birds were talking about Annette Funicello’s boobs. “Her jugs are bigger than Annette’s?” is the actual line. I’m happy to spread this knowledge.

Akeelah is All Grown Up!
Keke Palmer can sing. And she owned the role of Marty. Maraschino. Like the cherry. She’s one of the youngest in the ensemble, yet she looked like a grown woman singing “Freddy My Love.”

We’re All in This Together
Vanessa Hudgens was a solid Rizzo in my opinion. I can’t imagine having to step into Stockard Channing’s high heels, but she did it. The fact that her father passed away the night before the live show after a battle with cancer is heartbreaking. She did a great job.

Dragon Wagon
My sister Jamie and I had two 8-tracks growing up. One was Saturday Night Fever and the other was Grease. We wore them both out. We would also sing every single song to the top of our lungs, including “Greased Lightning” in front of neighborhood audiences and family gatherings. If you know anything about this song, you may recall that there are two extremely dirty words in the lyrics. Dirty words that Jamie and I enunciated with “a hard T” in one of the instances. We asked Mama why she let us shout these profanities at the top of our lungs? Her response: “You were kids. You didn’t know what you were saying.” This coming from the woman who let us roller skate around the swimming pool. Thankfully, FOX decided that the nasty lyrics should be changed because primetime is a sacred place.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia
Eve Plumb, the original Jan Brady, was the shop teacher. She was also the comic relief in a few scenes. This made me so happy.

“Your hair looks like an Easter egg!”
Vi is the original Frenchy! DiDi Conn

The Best Dancer at St. Bernadette’s
I played Cha-Cha in my high school production of Grease. I’ll give you a moment to digest that sentence.

Grease is the Word
I’m so glad they kept the part at the drive-in when Danny elbows Sandy in the boob when he tries to get his ring off his finger. Don’t ask me why.


“Grease (Is the Word)”
Jessie J did an incredible job. I may purchase this one too.

“Summer Nights”
The bleacher choreography and simultaneous cafeteria choreography was really good. I enjoyed the dance, but my butt clenched when Danny and Sandy hit those last notes.

“Freddy My Love”
Fun in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way.

“Look At Me I’m Sandra Dee”
I thought the performance was fine, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I think it was the shaky camera work?

“Greased Lightnin’”
Loved it. Even though they didn’t do the iconic “gooooooo Greased Lightning” move, I enjoyed myself and sang along. Boys dancing in unison will get me every time. And how did they change into their fancy coveralls so fast? Ah, the magic of TV.

“Those Magic Changes”

“All I Need Is An Angel”

“Beauty School Drop-Out”

“Born to Hand Jive”
I was highly entertained and have no idea how they sang, danced and didn’t run into each other. It was a ton of fun. Joe Jonas did a great job. Yes, I just typed that sentence.

“Hopelessly Devoted To You”
For a hot second, I thought Sandy wasn’t going to perform this song, but they saved it for later. And they built an entire set around her pining for Danny on her front porch. It was okay.

I appreciated Aaron’s falsetto at the end, but I didn’t love it. John Travolta will own this song forever and always.

“There Are Worse Things I Could Do”
She nailed it. But it’s a depressing song that I always fast forward in the regular soundtrack.

“You’re the One That I Want”
I thought they sang it very well, but the camera work had a Blair Witch Project feel that made me have to look away. I’m weird. I just own it. I can’t watch Bourne Identity either.

“We Go Together”
I LOVED that this was their curtain call. You could tell that the entire cast was having a ball. After three hours of this business, they were ready for it to be over. In a good way, of course. We were all tired. Grease Live deserves all the buzz it’s getting. Here’s hoping the other live action TV performances follow in their footsteps!

Did you watch? What were your favorite performances? Which tracks will you buy? Sound off in the comments section!

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February 1, 2016 12:26 pm

I thought it was fantastic! I wanted a little more “something” from Julianne, especially at the end when she should have really been smoking hot. (And I was bummed they cut the little part where Rizzo shows her how to put the cigarette out that she sadly didn’t have!) While I think Vanessa Hudgens did a great job (RIP V’s Dad) and it could not have been easy under those circumstances, I wanted someone with a little more bite as Rizzo, like Stockard Channing was. You knew she was a tough broad just by looking at her. But yeah overall, I give it a solid A.

February 1, 2016 12:43 pm

Man I loved this so much. I smiled the whole time. I had to shush my in laws and three kids – and at time questioned if I should allow them to even watch this… but it was so much fun!!! I also heart Boys II Men. Didn’t need the new Frenchie song which didn’t match the rest of the songs. Too contemporary.

But overall the best live televised musical in my opinion.

amy a
amy a
February 1, 2016 12:55 pm

The first thing I noticed and couldn’t shake, was how much thinner the pink ladies were than the original Hollywood version. Kinda a sad reflection on our society today. I loved watching this! It was lots of fun and very well executed! It was very well cast. The guy who played Sonny was in my high school graduating class! I hadn’t seen him act since our spring production of Bye Bye Birdie in 1999!

February 1, 2016 4:18 pm
Reply to  amy a

Part of that is Hollywood standards, but part of that has got to be the amount of rehearsing they did for these extreme dance numbers. It’s hard NOT to lose weight when you’re working that hard. Nikki Blonsky lost a bunch of weight while making the movie Hairspray too, If I remember correctly.

February 1, 2016 1:10 pm it!!
I definitely clapped and sang and smiled the whole time!!
I thought the race scene was kinda lame and didn’t care for Frenchy’s solo but the hair, the singing, the dancing, the marching band, the golf cart rides,…everything else was awesome!!!
Best TV musical so far!!

Kari K
Kari K
February 1, 2016 1:10 pm

Loved, loved this show and your recap. You pretty much nailed it, Lincee. I think my poor cats were in hiding most of that 3 hours – as each song came on, I cranked the music and sang along.

February 1, 2016 1:18 pm

Spot on review! But Eve Plumb was the original JAN, not Marcia, from the Brady Bunch.

February 1, 2016 1:51 pm

Oh, my gosh. We need to see pictures of your high school performance. Pretty please???

February 1, 2016 2:04 pm

They all nailed except Chacha. Who was she? Very lackluster.

Tanya T.
Tanya T.
February 1, 2016 7:51 pm
Reply to  UALass

I too was underwhelmed by her.

February 1, 2016 4:16 pm

I fangirled so much when the original Frenchy was talking to Carly-Rae Frenchy. My absolute favorite character!

Vanessa was incredible.

February 1, 2016 5:03 pm

I LOVED THIS. Fox definitely raised the bar for future live productions- the no-apologies for being live absolutely worked. On point review, except for the part where you said Those Magic Moments was “meh” because I cheered after that one. =)

LI Girl
LI Girl
February 5, 2016 2:23 pm
Reply to  Carri

Me too! My daughter and I really enjoyed that song! He did such a fantastic job! Loved it!

Tanya T.
Tanya T.
February 1, 2016 7:49 pm

It was just adorable! I’m 42 years old, I’ve seen the original Grease more times than I could venture a count and seen it live on stage at least 5 times and I am NOT going to lie….I always thought the line was “You mean her jugs were bigger than her neck?!” Now that I know the truth, I feel that “Annette’s” make much more sense. I might have to watch the show again, just to say it correctly in my head now. I feel a dual sense of shame and enlightenment. I can always count on you.

February 2, 2016 8:06 am

I used your Mama’s line, Lincee! When my daughter was little, she’d belt out Meatloaf’s ’45 Seconds of Ecstasy’……..when she was about 13, she asked ‘How could you let me sing that??’

February 2, 2016 8:06 am

I missed it! 🙁 Anyone know if it is playing On Demand?

February 2, 2016 12:33 pm
Reply to  Allison

I just saw it’s available on Hulu (if you have it)…watching the last half of the Bachelor on my phone in anticipation of Lincee’s recap:)

February 2, 2016 1:49 pm
Reply to  Allison

YES ALLISON!! you can watch it on and ondemand on xfinity

KC Dimmig
KC Dimmig
February 2, 2016 11:39 am

I liked all the performances but they just seemed rushed all the time. It was a huge set, so I give them and the crew all props – choreographing all the changes must have been overwhelming. Lincee – I had two copies of the Grease record album – it opened like a yearbook, and wore them both out!!! I spent countless hours in my room listening and looking at that album!

February 2, 2016 12:45 pm

I loved it – still haven’t deleted because it was so much fun! We saw Carly Rae on Broadway playing Cinderella – she was wonderful there too! Thoroughly impressed!

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