Pop Culture

Vanessa Hudgens wows in 'Grease: Live' just 1 day after father's death

An elaborate musical on live television is bound to be stressful for a star under the best of circumstances. But for Vanessa Hudgens, Sunday night's highly anticipated production of "Grease: Live" hit the airwaves after the actress received heartbreaking news, and she somehow never let the stress show.

Just hours before Hudgens took on the fan-favorite role of Rizzo in the retro teen-romance tale, she announced that her father had died the night before after battling stage 4 cancer.

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Former "High School Musical" star Vanessa Hudgens with father Greg Hudgens in 2007.

Hudgens then vowed to go on with the show.

And what a show — at least for Hudgens. While fan reactions to some elements of the production, such as a brand new song from beauty-school dropout Frenchy, were mixed on social media, Hudgen's take on the bad girl with a good heart had fans raving.

MORE: How 'Grease' made its stars look like teens (or at least tried)

And the 27-year-old's rendition of "There are Worse Things I Could Do" — a song popularized by Stockard Channing in the 1978 film version of "Grease" — was the showstopper in a night filled with catchy classics.

When it was all over, co-star Mario Lopez, who played "National Bandstand" host Vince Fontaine in the big dance-off scene, called Hudgens his "new hero."

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