Wanna feel old? The Little Mermaid premiered 30 years ago. Wanna feel young? With The Little Mermaid Live! airing Tuesday night, we were all singing along to the classic ballads and rocking renditions like no time has passed. With performances by major names like John Stamos, Shaggy and the one and only Queen Latifah, it was more Under the Sea than Over the Hill for the timeless Disney classic.
The night was filled with live theatrical performances of the film’s best songs including “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (the ultimate villain jam), “Les Poissons,” and “Under the Sea,” interspersed with sequences from the classic animated flick. Each musical number was spared no expense, with lavishly decorated sets and costumes all decked out with every effect known to man (or fish)—from hydraulic lifts and sparking explosions to fierce AF outfits that dazzled the eye.
Case in point—when Queen Latifah as Ursula descended from the sky in her extravagant octopus costume (including a sexy leather bustier) with explosions and dry-ice all around her, we were literally screaming YAAAAAS QUEEN. The Oscar-nominated actress and OG hip-hop rapper was flawless as the nefarious villainess during her “Poor Unfortunate Souls” number, hitting every high note with ease. She was so perfectly Ursula, that when she sang the line, “Don’t underestimate the importance of BODY LANGUAGE,” she practically twerked to the music.
We could describe it for days, but you should really just see it for yourself. We’re almost disappointed that Ursula doesn’t win in the end.
Then there was Stamos as Chef Louis for the hilarious “Les Poissons” number. Man, we don’t remember Uncle Jesse and the Rippers being this French, but we’ll take it. John Stamos dancing about the stage, flinging seasoning and fish guts about was comedic break we didn’t know we needed. But at the end of the number, Stamos appeared to ad lib the line, “I knew I should have played Prince Albert . . . er, Prince Eric.” Did he just flub the name of a main character? Have mercy.
And let’s not forget about Shaggy’s rendition of “Under The Sea” as the character Sebastian. He performed it credibly but we’re guessing when the producers asked him to wear a proper crab costume, he declined. The man came out on stage wearing what appears to be Eddie Murphy’s old red leather jumpsuit from Delirious. And people were NOT having it. Even the audience wore crab claws on their hands as they bopped to the music. C’mon, Shaggy!
Angelic marvel that is Auli’i Cravalho, who played Ariel also deserves plenty of props. You may recognize her from a little film called Moana and this performance just solidifies her as the voice of the sea. You’ve got a gig for life, girl.
Flubs and oddities aside, The Little Mermaid Live! was an extravagant and ornate spectacle that has us counting down the days until the live-action remake hits theatres.