The moment was described as “one of the most terrifying gags in TV history” by the Sanremo organisers themselves as it appears to have been removed from any RAI official channel.
John Travolta, the iconic Grease and Pulp Fiction actor, has denied Italian state TV permission to broadcast again pictures of a bizarre dance he performed on Wednesday (7 February), according to local Italian media.
Sanremo is Italy’s biggest music event of the year, and is known for outstanding performances as well as for moments of pure television trash.
Travolta joined the show on its second night as its special guest, and was treated to a warm welcome. However, his appearance quickly took a wild turn.
After a few questions, the actor was asked to recreate some of his most iconic dance moves, notably the ‘You Never Can Tell’ scene from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, before he was invited to walk among the public to the tune of the Bee Gees’ ‘Saturday Night Fever’.
Little did he know that the worst was yet to come.
Instead of returning to the stage, Travolta was led out of the Sanremo theatre, in the cold. There, he quickly taught how to dance ‘Il Ballo Del Qua Qua‘, an Italian children’s song about a dancing duck.
Travolta did not look amused. He threw away a hat resembling an orange beak that he was handed for the performance, and seemed slightly lost. Nevertheless, he diligently undertook the assignment, learnt the moves, and danced away to the bizarre duck-tune, sending millions of viewers into hysterics.
Today, there seems to be no trace of the performance on any of RAI’s TV and social media channels.
“Travolta knew everything”: Italian host says it was all planned
Amadeus, the show co-presenter, denied ambushing the actor.
“Travolta was aware of everything”, he said on Thursday in a press conference, “and agreed on anything we did beforehand.”
The Italian host conceded nonetheless that the star didn’t look enthusiastic, and the performance didn’t fully work out.
The other co-presenter, Fiorello, was far less indulgent, defining the moment as “one of the most terrifying gags in TV history”.
Most comments on social media were along the same lines, calling the performance “embarrassing” and a “humiliation”.
Travolta does not appear to have commented, but seemed to have at least no hard feelings towards the hosts, whom he called “adorable”.