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John Travolta (r.) with presenter Rosario Fiorello in Sanremo

Photo: Ettore Ferrari / EPA-EFE

Almost 50 years after the feature film “Saturday Night Fever,” Hollywood star John Travolta danced again in front of an audience of millions. At the Sanremo music festival in the northern Italian coastal town of the same name, the 69-year-old did the duck dance on the big stage of the song competition.

The American's dance performance with the two Sanremo presenters caused a lot of fuss and ridicule on social media. Many users made fun of the scene, which went viral on the online platform X (formerly Twitter) as well as on Instagram and Tiktok.

On the second evening of the traditional song competition, Travolta, visibly surprised, was supposed to do the party dance with simple choreography with the two Italian show masters Amadeus and Fiorello. Previously he danced the dance scenes from “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease” with Amadeus. This was followed by the duck dance, known in Italy as “Il Ballo del Qua Qua”. Visibly irritated, Travolta rehearsed the steps with them. Travolta was also supposed to wear an orange cap, but he threw it away just before the dance.

Great successes in the seventies

Travolta became an overnight superstar in 1977 as Tony Manero in “Saturday Night Fever.” The role of the dance-loving New York underdog earned him his first Oscar nomination. At the height of the disco wave in the 1970s, he also celebrated a great success with the musical film “Grease” (1978). In 1994, Travolta also starred in the gangster film “Pulp Fiction” (1994) by director Quentin Tarantino. The dance scene with Uma Thurman to the song “You Never Can Tell” is still legendary today.

Italy has been in Sanremo fever since Tuesday. The song competition will select Italy's candidate for the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). Foreign star guests are also always invited. After Travolta, Russell Crowe is expected on Thursday.