The public television company Rai, which organizes and broadcasts the festival, has launched an investigation into alleged hidden advertising in connection with Travolta’s appearance on the festival’s main stage on Wednesday evening.
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The 71-year-old star of “Saturday Night Fever,” “Grease” and “Pulp Fiction” appeared on stage at the Ariston Theater in striking white sneakers from a well-known Italian shoe brand, whose logo had not been pixelated out. Rai explained that the contract for Travolta’s participation in the festival does not allow any form of direct or indirect promotion that is not authorized in writing and reiterated that no commercial agreements have been made with Travolta.
Less fees and compensation?
The director of Rai Prime Time Entertainment, Marcello Ciannamea, said the broadcaster could refuse to pay the agreed fee to the company “Divina Luna Srl”, which manages the rights to Travolta’s appearance. Rai could claim damages if it turns out that the terms of the contract were not adhered to.
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Travolta’s performance at the Sanremo festival also sparked discussions for other reasons. On the second evening of the traditional song competition, Travolta was visibly surprised when the two Italian show masters Amadeus and Rosario Fiorello asked him to do the duck dance, known in Italy as “Il Ballo del Qua Qua”. Visibly irritated, Travolta rehearsed the steps with them. The party dance with simple choreography caused a lot of fuss and ridicule. Many users made fun of the scene, which went viral on the online platform X (formerly Twitter) as well as on Instagram and TikTok.
Russell Crowe imitates Travolta
Travolta also received ridicule from the star guest of the following evening, Hollywood actor Russell Crowe. He imitated the movements of Travolta dancing ducks in the middle of the stage.
Italy has been in Sanremo fever since Tuesday. 30 singers and bands are represented in the competition, which ends on Saturday. The winner is traditionally Italy’s candidate in the Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place this year from May 7th to 11th in Malmö, Sweden. Austria’s candidate has already been chosen: singer Kaleen.
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