Talent Recap

How Talent Shows Have Honored Olivia Newton-John Over the Years

Julianne Hough, Olivia Newton-John, Bruno Tonioli, and Carrie Ann Inaba on the 'Dancing With the Stars' red carpetPhoto by David Livingston/Getty Images

Singer and actress Olivia Newton-John sadly passed away this week at age 73. She was known for films such as Grease and Xanadu. Over the years, not only did Newton-John appear as a guest judge on shows like Dancing with the Stars, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and American Idol, but her famous songs have also been showcased on talent shows around the world.

Olivia Newton-John Tributes on Talent Shows

Dancing with the Stars‘s Grease Night

In Season 30, Dancing with the Stars devoted an entire night to dances inspired by the musical Grease. During the show, Iman Shumpert and his partner Daniella Karagach danced a Viennese Waltz to the song “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” famously sung by Newton-John in the film.

The Masked Singer Australia Does Xanadu

Just before Newton-John’s death, The Masked Singer Australia serendipitously aired a performance from the contestant Mirrorball, who performed the title song from Xanadu. The judges went wild for the instantly iconic performance.

Italian Masked Singer Channels Grease

Australia isn’t the only country to pay tribute to Olivia Newton-John this year. Italy also aired a Grease homage performed by the contestant Drago (or Dragon), who turned out to be dancer Simone Di Pasquale. He sang a medley of songs, including “Summer Nights” and “Grease Lightnin’.”

The Voice Kids Artist Sings “Hopelessly Devoted to You”

In 2020, a contestant named Stella auditioned for The Voice Kids in Germany with a cover of “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Deine Freunde turned their chair for the performance, and she ended up joining their team.

Spain’s Got Talent Honors Grease Through Dance

In 2019, a dance group called D’oo Wap paid tribute to Grease in a fun performance during the Grand Final of Spain’s Got Talent. Featured songs included “Summer Nights” and “You’re the One That I Want.”

X Factor Couple Sings “You’re the One That I Want”

In 2013, winning couple Alex and Sierra took the stage on The X Factor USA for a slowed-down performance of “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease. They cuddled up to each other on stage and ended the song with a hug.

The Voice Australia Contestant Sings Xanadu

In 2013, singer Celia Pavey performed an ethereal cover of “Xanadu” on the second season of The Voice Australia. She finished the competition in third place and now records music under the name Vera Blue.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Queens Lip Sync For Their Lives to “Twist of Fate”

RuPaul’s Drag Race dedicated one of the most important songs of the night to Newton-John when she appeared on season seven. During the final lip sync of the night, Katya Zamolodchikova and Sasha Belle were challenged to perform Newton-John’s song “Twist of Fate.” Reports state that Newton-John was a big fan of the show.

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