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Grease: Live! By the Numbers

Rating the musical performances

We already know Fox hit it out of the ballpark with Grease: Live! Not only did they pull strong viewer numbers, many critics are calling it the best live musical to date. Thomas Kail just threw down the gauntlet and it’s going to be a hard one to pick up! You can bet the studios who are prepping their upcoming musicals are quaking in intimidation and looking at their projects with a newly critical eye.

We’re going to turn our own eye to the musical performances from last night and rate them from least liked to most.

All I Need Is An Angel – No. Just no. An unnecessary snooze of a song

Beauty School Dropout – People will find this sacrilege, but Boys II Men were all wrong as Teen Angel. Sure, they sang the crap out of that song, but it was too perfect. Beauty School Dropout needs some cheese like the sharp schmaltz Frankie Avalon delivered.

Hopelessly Devoted to You – There’s no faulting Julianne Hough for this being on the bottom. The wailful tune, while beautiful, is rather boring. She gave a solid rendition while looking remarkably like Olivia Newton John in that moment.

Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee – Vanessa Hudgens nailed the funny, yet mean-spirited nature of this number, but didn’t top the growly raunch that Stockard Channing brought to the song as the antithesis of Sandra Dee.

Summer Loving – This was the first song out of the gate and it showed a bit. They hadn’t really relaxed into the show and their characters yet. The choreography was cute, but it needed a little more hammy fun.

There Are Worse Things I Could Do – Vanessa delivered a rich and raw performance that raised goosebumps and brought a few tears to the eye, especially when you think about her sheer strength and bravery in going on with the show after just losing her father.

Sandy – Boy howdy, can Aaron Tveit sing! While John Travolta played Zuko with more camp and swagger, Tveit played it a little more straight and sexy. And when he stepped into that spotlight, oh my. The only thing missing from this scene was the dancing hotdog and the swing!

Those Magic Changes – Not only did Jordan Fisher mesmerize the ladies with his velvety voice, he provided the perfect transition piece for Danny to comically attempt being a jock. As for Aaron Tveit in this scene,  two words say it all: short shorts!

Freddy My Love – Keke Palmer positively shone in this number. She commanded that stage, flirted with those real life servicemen, charmed with a sexy, knowing wink and wowed with that triple costume change.

We Go Together – This infectious tune is a favorite for its boppy energy and the fact that it means a happily ever after, but the best thing about it in this particular production was seeing the sheer relief, ebullience and even a tinge of sadness on the cast’s face as they realize they did it! They made it to the end. Oh man, it’s finally all over….

You’re The One That I Want – Sexy Sandy and Jock Danny declare their love for one another and set the gymnasium ablaze with their flirtatious dance in a small, circular space. The transfer to the outdoor set was a little off-putting as it broke the fourth wall at a time when you wanted to remain in Rydell. (Did the weather keep them from doing the entire thing outdoors and this was Plan B?) Great call on the camera being placed on Julianne and Aaron as they drove though. Had this segue not happened we wouldn’t have seen that second tram almost derail as it hit a curb. Poor Jan Brady gasped and grabbed on before singing again.

Greased Lightning – Let’s be honest, the big group numbers are always favored over the solos and Greased Lightning is the perfect example why. Song aside, you had synchronized dancing, quick costume AND car changes, an incredible log roll maneuver, and Aaron in all his sexy, grinding glory. He launched a thousand memes with that number and made women everywhere fan themselves while younger ones may have spontaneously burst into puberty. As for the song itself–kudos to them for changing some of its more offensive lyrics.

Born to Hand Jive: Without question this was the showstopper! This was an absolute effervescent joy of non-stop energy that swelled and grew like an ocean wave, sweeping you up in its unyielding spirit. No matter where the camera focused, the acting and energy never waned. Julianne and Aaron not only delivered the fan favorite moments in the dance contest, they added some new dance thrills. Like the entire production, the camera work was precise, seamless, ingenious. The scene just begs to be watched again and again. And we will!

Written by Terri Clark

Terri Clark is an award-winning young adult author, entertainment writer, TV addict and pop culture geek. She loves the access Twitter has given her to the people behind her favorite TV shows. TV isn’t just a static sport anymore. (Yes, sport! Watching as much as she does requires commitment, dedication and endurance.) She writes for Talk Nerdy With Us and Entertainment Weekly Community. You can find info on her YA books at TerriClarkBooks.com. Please follow her at terriclarkbooks on Facebook and Twitter.

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