Just like many other Disney and Littler Mermaid fans, I have been waiting for ABC’s Little Mermaid Live! to come on ABC for months. I was so excited to see Auli’i Cravalho as Ariel. I absolutely adore her and thought she was would make the perfect Ariel. Then when I heard Queen Latifah was cast as Ursula… I was stoked. Yes… I just used the word stoked. The icing on the cake was when I heard they cast Shaggy as Sebastian! To me, this seemed like the perfect cast for a live action Little Mermaid and I couldn’t wait to see everything put together.
As more and more information came out about the live event, both myself and my Ariel obsessed 7 year old found ourselves becoming more and more excited. I loved the idea of the mixed media viewing. Being able to see some of our most beloved scenes from the movie and then seeing all of our favorite songs performed live by some amazing actors and vocalists. What could go wrong with this?
Apparently, the answer to that question is… quite a bit can go wrong with that. It would seem that there are some pretty upset people after that performance. Everything from Flubbed lyrics to creepy puppets and awkward costumes made for a pretty unforgettable performance of the 30th anniversary special.
Now lets start out with some facts… The little Mermaid Live! averaged 8.98 million total views which is well above other shows for it’s time slot for ABC and the performance managed to get an average rating of 2.6 among adults aged 18-49. So overall, this seems like a pretty big success and I would wager a bet that most kids and families enjoyed the performance, even though it was a little off.
It seemed like there may have been a bit of confusion when it came to the type of performance the Little Mermaid Live! would be. Some people seemed unhappy about the mix of live action singing and showing the rest as actual footage from the movie. There was also a lot of talk surrounding Shaggy’s costume as Sebastian. Then let’s not forget the random singing done by Ariel when she had supposedly lost her voice. It all made for a lot of talk on Twitter.
Personally, I think the performance was just okay. It honestly felt a little bit like a more drawn out version of Voyage of the Little Mermaid (if you’ve been to Disney’s Hollywood Studios you know the show I am talking about) and even though I love that show at Hollywood Studios, I had higher expectations for a high budget Live TV performance.
I love the fact that they brought out Jodi Benson to introduce the show. I love her as an actress and it’s probably a good thing she didn’t talk more because my overly emotional ass would have started crying.
Auli’i Cravalho did make a stunning Ariel. Ariel’s iconic red hair was absolutely on point and Cravalho performance was pretty good. Although, there were a few times that she sounded a little pitchy. I’m not sure if this was bias based on my love of Jodi Benson though. Cravalho is a phenomenal singer though and I do think she did a pretty good job overall. Her costumes were beautiful and I feel like she really did a good job of bringing the character to life.
Shaggy… poor poor shaggy. Now, don’t get me wrong, his performance was great. I felt like he took Sebastian and really made him his own character. It was a great fit and I’m honestly not sure I could picture anyone else playing Sebastian at this point. But that costume! Boy that costume was something else. Where were the claws and why did he look like he was running around in a low budget Thriller jacket with Fashion Nova jeans? I mean, it was a look but it just felt like they didn’t finish his costume.
The SVP of Live Programming at ABC, Robert Mills, tweeted the following during the live show…
“For those wondering, Shaggy wore crab claws in early rehearsals and it looked ridiculous”
Which, after seeing the picture Mr. Mills posted of Shaggy in the claws during rehearsals… I kind of get it. It did look pretty funny.
I loved Queen Latifah as Ursula. She embodied that character and everything from her voice to her costume was fantastic. I said from the first announcement of a live action Little Mermaid, that she would be prefect for that role. My only complaint… SHE FUCKED UP THE LYRICS!!! Oh man, I could have cried when she was singing Poor Unfortunate Souls and she messed it up. I had been waiting all day for this performance and to see the Queen as Ursula and everything was going just as I had anticipated it would until she got to the line “And don’t underestimate the importance of body language, ha!”. That is a very important and stand out line in the song and instead of singing that, she sang “And don’t forget to underestimate the importance of body language”. That is two very different statements!
Graham Phillips I think made a really good Prince Eric. His costume looked great, the hair (which can sometimes look really bad on some actors) looked very natural on him. His overall performance was great. I really don’t have anything negative I can say about him. Only thing missing was the blue eyes but I can live without that one small detail. Out of all of the Prince Eric actors I’ve seen both in parks and in plays, I’d say he was probably the closest to the cartoon Prince Eric I have ever seen.
Now, let’s talk about those sisters. Wow, I don’t know who else was disappointed in Ariel’s sisters but I know I sure was. I don’t know, I just did not like them. That being said Amber Riley did knock her performance out of the park as the Daughters of Triton Emcee.
John Stamos as Chef Louis was adorable. The performance was just cute with the little kids dressed up as crabs and Stamos running around in his chefs costume. It was cute and I don’t know about you but I just think Uncle Jesse (wow that’s an old reference) can do no wrong.
That Flounder puppet was the stuff of nightmares. The kids refused to accept him as flounder, and I can’t really blame them… he was creepy.
I love the fact that they thought to incorporate some of the songs from the Broadway version of the Little Mermaid. It allowed Prince Eric to have more stage time and I loved having that little inner monologue duet with Eric and Ariel. I know a lot of people found that scene to be confusing, my 4 year old son even asked how she was singing, but I loved it and once I explained it to the kids they liked it too.
Overall, I think it was a pretty good live performance. There were a few things I didn’t like but there were a lot of things that I loved. I have one very happy 7 year old and I know I’ll be watching this over and over again for the next few weeks because of my kids. I can say I will probably enjoy it each time too. I’m glad I didn’t pay to go see it but as a free live performance I was happy with it.
Did you watch the performance Live? What did you think? Let me know in the comment section below and make sure to hit that subscribe button.