America’s Got Talent Ventriloquist Celia Munoz Talks Honoring Olivia Newton-John With Her Grease Tribute Performance


America’s Got Talent uses qualifying to narrow down the 55 acts that made it through the auditions to the top ten that will perform in the finale, and week three had a wide variety of acts, including the return of gold buzzer winner Sara James and girl group XOMG POP! Celia Munoz was back as a wildly quirky ventriloquist who blows away crowds without even needing a dummy, unlike the former AGT winners Terry Fator and Darci Lynne. Her final performance also managed to honor the late Olivia Newton-John with a Fat tribute, and Munoz opened up about it.

The Spanish opera singer-turned-ventriloquist performed a scene of herself sitting in a drive-in to watch Fat, while munching on traditional movie theater treats…and singing Olivia Newton-John’s iconic “Hopelessly Devoted To You.” Not only did she pull off all the necessary vocals without moving her lips, but she played the role of a fan watching the movie and became deeply invested in Danny and Sandy’s love story. The judges raved about her originality, and Simon Cowell even said she was the best act of the night when there weren’t many acts left.

Celia Munoz spoke to CinemaBlend and other outlets after coming to qualifying as Ventriloquist Without A Puppet. When I asked about her decision to kiss Fat along with the classic Olivia Newton-John song, she shared:

I chose the song before Olivia Newton-John died. Like, I watch Grease because I’m a super fan of the movie, and I love Olivia Newton-John, and then she died afterwards. Then I said, ‘Now I really have to do this act well because now it’s become a tribute to this wonderful artist that we all love, and she’s brought so much joy.’ So that day, I went crazy and rehearsed.

Olivia Newton-John died on August 8 at the age of 73 after a long battle with cancerand his famous friends (including Fat leading man John Travolta) wasted no time in sharing tributes to the singer/actress. According to Celia Munoz, she was already planning to kiss Fat for his qualifying performance before Newton-John’s death. And I would say that the “crazy” repetitions paid off!

The ventriloquist made him AGT debut in May, so she’d had plenty of time to start planning her next act, and it makes sense that a performance with as many variables as hers would require a fair amount of prep time. How many people could talk while drinking a milkshake, eating ice cream and munching popcorn, not to mention singing a great rendition of “Hopelessly Devoted To You” live on national television?

Celia Munoz went on to explain her creative process for hitting the virtual red carpet, saying:

The idea was like a cinema because when you watch a movie, there is [are] voices and songs, and I want to sing because I’m a singer. So of course when I thought of a movie, I thought it had to be Grease. It must be Grease because people love Grease. I love Grease and I love Olivia Newton-John. So I picked the song before she died, and then after she died, of course, it became an even deeper feeling for the act because it’s now a tribute.

Thankfully, the performance wasn’t dark or serious even as it got deeper and she realized her rehearsal was for a tribute as well as the chance to move forward. AGT finals. It wasn’t a sad way to remember Olivia Newton-John, but a lot of fun, and her chances of advancing to the final looked pretty good as soon as the judges gave their comment and the audience (finally ) stopped clapping. In case you missed it, take a look:

Like the ten other artists of the third week of qualifying, his America’s Got Talent Fate was in the hands of the voters back home, and fans didn’t have much time to vote. The episode ended at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday night on NBC, and voting ended at 7 a.m. ET Wednesday morning, with the results to be announced in prime time Wednesday night. Howie Mandel previously points out that sometimes home viewers miss by not being part of the live audience; will this affect Munoz’s chances?

Be sure to log in to America’s Got Talent on Wednesday, August 24 at 8 p.m. ET to see which of the final eleven will move on and if Celia Munoz is one of them. She and magician Nicolas Ribs were among the judge’s favorites of the evening, but singer Sara James – who I may have made a huge mistake in where I listed her as a gold buzzer winner – blew the roof off with his performance of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” to close out the night.


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