The strange format, odd costume choices and ad-lib flubs almost caused the production to sink.
"The Little Mermaid Live" struggled to keep its head above water on Tuesday night.
ABC paid tribute to the 30th anniversary of the iconic Disney animated film with a two-hour special on the Disney lot which saw the musical numbers performed live by Hollywood heavyweights while the original movie played in the background.
Auli’i Cravalho played Ariel, Queen Latifah was the evil sea witch Ursula, Shaggy became the Jamaican crab Sebastian, John Stamos portrayed Chef Louis, and the role of Prince Eric went to Graham Phillip.
Social media blew up during the broadcast as the event proved polarizing for even the most ardent House of Mouse fans. The strange format of mixing live performances with the classic film shown on screen had viewers and critics confused, some costume choices were suspect and a hilarious flub was jeered. But praise for an inclusive cast and the spot-on performance by Latifah kept the production afloat.
Here are the best reactions for what worked and what didn't in "The Little Mermaid Live":
Queen Latifah Slayed As Ursula
As the iconic Disney villain, Latifah proved herself more than capable of taking on the robust, menacing dialogue as well as the big musical numbers such as "Poor Unfortunate Souls," which was the highlight of the evening.
Her spot-on performance was boosted by the amazing detail to her costume as well as the technical theatrics that played a part in her time on stage.
"Okay, nothing more to see here. Queen Latifah killed it. Everyone else can go home," wrote one fan as another posted, "Queen Latifah needs to play Ursula in every production of the Little Mermaid. She is slaying it!"
Inclusive Mermaids Ruled The Seas
Fans were delighted to see a variety of shapes, sizes and colors for the merfolk that lived under the sea.
While the original 1989 flick had mermaid Ariel and her friends typically tall, thin and white, the live production brought the story into modern times with a diverse cast of characters.
"The most inclusive thing I've ever seen!!! Big mermaids, little mermaids, mermaids of color!! THERE IS A MERMAID WITH AN AFRO," wrote one excited follower.
Another supported the claim with, "Okayyyy size inclusive and diverse mermaids #TheLittleMermaidLive I see you @Disney and I thank you!"
Shaggy Looked Like a Boy Band Reject
Sebastian is the beloved friend and mentor of Ariel who happens to be a Jamaican crab. Taking on the role, Shaggy of course got the Jamaican part down, but whether it was his call or the wardrobe department, he looked more like a 1990s pop star then a humble crustacean.
His red, latex-like jacket and pants combo took fans out of the "Under The Sea" atmosphere. There were glittery fins, outrageous tails, and showstopping costumes for the other sea creatures. So where were Sebastian's claws?!
"I'm crying at how shaggy is just wearing red and not a crab outfit," lamented one fan. "Why is Shaggy dressed like Eddie Murphy from Delirious tho," asked another confused social media user.
John Stamos Couldn't Remember His Prince
John Stamos certainly hammed it up and brought the laughs for his portrayal of the seafood-crazed Chef Louis, but it was an ad-lib flub that drew the biggest chuckle.
At the end of his "Les Poissons" number, before exiting the stage, Stamos could be heard joking, "I knew I should have played Prince Albert." He quickly added an "or Eric" to cover his tracks, but social media was ready to pounce.
"John Stamos must have been feeling cute when he said he should have been Prince Albert, I mean Eric," poised a fan. Another added,"Did... did John Stamos think his mic was off? Who dafuq is Prince Albert?"
Here's hoping the live-action version of "The Little Mermaid" coming to theaters in 2021 fares better.
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