SOUND BITES — HOLIDAY EDITION

Friday our HOLLYWOOD ISSUE comes out, so in anticipation of it, and to keep things season, here’s a rundown of Christmas music features the good (Cee Lo!), the godawful (Travolta!) and the just plain weird (Tracey Thorn).

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, This Christmas. Friends since summer lovin’ brought them together more than 30 years ago, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta are, still, hopelessly devoted to each other. They’re as chummy together in the liner pics of their charity Christmas album, where they even share an oversized coffee mug, as they are on these creepy renditions of classics. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is the worst offender; on the traditional-sounding track, they’re dropping each other’s names — he calls her “Liv” (barf) — and making that banter cornier than that “Sir, I Wanna Buy These Shoes For My Dyin’ Mama” song. Travolta’s “oh gosh, I really do have to go” line sounds less like a farewell and more like he’s ready to drop some poops.

It’s hard to even take them serious on “Silent Night,” which isn’t half bad; Olivia’s voice is still pretty and pleasant, and even Travolta doesn’t sound like he’s still wearing Edna Turnblad’s Hairspray muumuu. But a children’s choir — of course! “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” featuring Kenny G for max cheesiness — has Travolta in Elvis mode. The booze really takes over when they get to “I Think You Might Like It,” a rollicking soft-rocker that’s being billed as the sequel to “You’re the One That I Want” from their Grease days. For better or worse, at least it sounds like a Danny and Sandy song. Will you like it? They think so. The album’s an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party full of nostalgia and awesomely bad moments, but it’s hard to tell if they’re in on the joke. They bring in some pretty serious talent: Tony Bennett, James Taylor and Barbra Streisand. Let’s hope Babs has a healthy sense of humor.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gay actor Ron Palillo, my childhood nemesis, is dead

It was not easy growing up as an Arnold, and Ron Palillo was one reason why.

Palillo played Arnold Horshack on the ’70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, which for about two years was the not-miss comedy of my youth along with Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. Horshack was an endearing but annoying character, and having the same name as him as a 10-year-old was not easy, let me tell ya. I also shared the name with a pig on Green Acres and a sassy black kid on Diff’rent Strokes; hell, I even sorta shared a name with Ernie (Arnie, which most people called me) from Sesame Street. Interesting, all were savvy and likable characters if not respected ones. Indeed, Horshack, one of the two breakout characters to come from Kotter; the other was Vinnie Barbarino, played by a guy named John Travolta. He went on to be him; Palillo and the rest of the cast pretty much were relegated to Fantasy Island guest spots and Circus of the Stars.

Truth be told, I always had a huge crush on Juan Epstein (Robert Hegyes), who was much more my type (and still is) than Travolta; Hegyes died in January at 60.

And yesterday, Palillo died at 63 — young for both, to be sure. Palillo was gay, and is actually survived by his partner of 41 years … which means, he was with his partner for four years already when he starred on the show as a high school kid at age 26.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

John Travolta likes well-hung Middle Eastern types. Join the club

It’s one of the best-kept, worst-kept secrets in Hollywood that John Travolta is gay (Scientology allegedly promises to “cure” you of your homosexuality) — a fact that, despite evidence (remember the candid lip-lock photographed on him kissing his late son’s male, umm, “nanny”?) that has been respectfully ignored most of the time by the mainstream press.

This is nothing new. I was at the Samar party last week, jawing with some straight male media friends, and all of them were shocked by my “secret” list of commonly accepted gay celebs … including Travolta. People believe what they wanna believe. It’s how Lindsey Graham is still in a leadership position with the GOP.

Anyway, the most salacious of rumors about Travolta have been published on Gawker, and the language used is surprising. Well, not to me, but most hausfraus out there will probably be astonished to find that the man who gained fame in musicals and had his last hit as a cross-dressing woman (in a musical!) likes to go to bathhouses and apparently has a penchant for Middle Easterns (guilty as charged, I admit it).

Some of the allegations made include that Travolta abused himself in a steam room and came onto the author; that he has both given and received oral sex from other men in public; and that he uses his celebrity to attract his type (which usually means well-endowed men of color).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones