John Travolta leapt on stage and did an impromptu duet of Yesterday with Keith Urban on Wednesday night at the launch of the 10th anniversary of G'Day USA in Los Angeles. It's the sort of high spirits seen at these parties during the past decade.
Aussies are good at having a rocking good time but not so good at blowing their own trumpet - you know, tall-poppy syndrome and all that. But if anyone needs reminding that Aussies are kicking butt in America, this is a great showcase. G'Day USA trots out Aussie talent and highlights Aussie businesses in seven US cities for Australia Week. It actually lasts three weeks, proving we're terrible at maths or have a lot to celebrate.
This year the event was launched with a bang by Qantas's Spirit of Australia cocktail party, which had more stars than the American flag. A red carpet was thrown down at the Montage Terrace in Beverly Hills for celeb partygoers, including guest of honour Urban. Qantas ambassadors Travolta and Miranda Kerr fronted - Kerr minus Orlando Bloom and Travolta minus real hair. TV presenter Laura Csortan MC'd the night, and other guests included Daniel McPherson, Zoe Ventoura, Axel Whitehead, Callan McAuliffe, Nick Bishop, Phoebe Tonkin, Bella Heathcote and brothers Anthony and Jonathan LaPaglia. Tonkin said, ''I feel like I'm in Bondi Beach right now.'' While Bishop joked, ''I bump into more Aussie actors here in LA than when I'm in Sydney.'' Gatsby star McAuliffe said such events ''keep me grounded'', which sounded funny when spoken in an affected American accent.
The night was doubly sweet for Urban, because he and wife Nicole Kidman had just been nominated for Golden Globes. Urban received a nod for co-writing the song For You, and Kidman received two acting nominations for The Paperboy and HBO biopic Hemingway & Gellhorn. The two are over the moon about the experience. ''It's not lost on us how amazing it is,'' Urban said. ''For the both of us to be nominated at the same time is just magical.''
The singer, who is a judge on American Idol, performed an acoustic set starting with Flame Trees by Cold Chisel, reminding everyone on reality shows around the world how it should be done. He had the crowd singing along. ''You're all full of piss, that's why!'' he laughed. When he asked for people to join him on stage, Travolta jumped up. There will be many more G'Day USA celebrations in coming weeks but, boy, it will be hard to top this party.
Shelly was a guest of Qantas and Swisse for G'Day USA.
Shelly is editor-at-large of S and a regular on Channel Seven's Sunrise, The Morning Show and Weekend Sunrise.