Here's the Story Behind Courteney Cox's Iconic "Tony Danza" Performance with Elton John

By Allison Crist Mar 10, 2022 10:14 PMTags

Is there anything Courteney Cox can't do?

The Shining Vale actress nearly broke the internet when she shared a video of her singing and playing piano alongside Elton John, Ed Sheeran and Brandi Carlile in June 2021. Unbelievably, the group was performing a song that Friends fans recognize anywhere: Phoebe Buffay's rendition of "Tiny Dancer," a.k.a. "Tony Danza."

Courteney dedicated the video to Lisa Kudrow, her co-star who made the song famous in the first place. But how, exactly, did the iconic combination of celebrities come to be? Courteney herself told E! News' Daily Pop, explaining, "Ed is a friend of mine—he introduced me to my partner Johnny [McDaid]—and I've known him for years. But he invited Elton over for dinner one night."

Much to Courteney's surprise, Ed asked if she was "okay" with invitation beforehand. As the actress joked, "That's like saying, 'Do you want to pick the lottery and win?'" 

Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid's Cutest Moments

However, her excitement turned to panic when she suddenly got the urge to learn how to play "Tiny Dancer" on the piano...20 minutes before Elton was set to arrive.

"I had my piano teacher come over," she recalled. "And he was leaving right when Elton was walking in."

Thankfully, it all worked out and Courteney nailed the performance. "I was in awe and shaking," she added. "I love him."

Now, she's shaking for an entirely different reason: her spooky new TV show, Shining Vale. Courteney plays Pat, who moves into a new house with her family and becomes convinced she's either depressed or possessed—the latter of which Courteney does not want to believe in "because The Exorcist was the scariest thing that I've ever seen."

"But I do believe in ghosts," she said. "I'm not gonna think too hard on possession...if that ever happened to me, oh my god, I can't imagine."

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What is on Courteney's mind, though, is the fact that she'll soon be an empty nester when her daughter Coco, 17, leaves for college. 

"I didn't think about it for a long time," she said. "And recently it's been brought to my attention. So I'm gonna apply at the same school and I'm going to go to school with her."

Jokes, jokes. "I'm not going to," Courtney added, "but I do threaten her a lot because I would love to go to a school that is based around acting and musical theater and stuff I wish I had learned at 18. So I will be close by whether she likes it or not, in some form."

Hear more from Courteney in the above interview!

Shining Vale airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Starz.