The Little Mermaid Live! Review: Failed to live up to expectations

Failed to live up to the hype.

The Little Mermaid Live! is the latest live musical event by American Broadcasting Company (ABC), in an attempt to change the storyline with a dramatic twist. Much of the audience that watched from home, live, were disappointed with how the show turned out to be. Many people who watched the musical stated that there was no plot twist and that the 1989 movie was acted out exactly the way it was.

What went wrong with the musical?

ABC had hyped the audience up by telling them that Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) and Queen Latifah (Hairspray) were in the musical. Hence, it was rather disappointing to see that the musical was just a recitation of the movie although the musical included some tracks from the 2007 Broadway musical. The in-person audience wer disadvantaged as they had to sit through a remake of the same movie that had more animated videos to describe the story, than celebrity appearances.

Ariel in The Little Mermaid Live! Image Source: ABC
Ariel in The Little Mermaid Live! Image Source: ABC

ABC also knew that not many people would be captivated by the animated background videos that were broadcasted and hence put up a timer to inform the audience when the next live performance would be broadcasted. It is said that the live performances were much more appealing than most of the audience felt. There could have been more live interactions. Although, that would not have been the case for the in-person audience, those who were watching from home found it useless to watch a replay of the old movie.

The better aspects of the musical

Although the live musical was nothing like the audience had expected, the sets were amazing. The show’s set provided proper lighting, some aspects of puppetry, costuming and pyrotechnics to make the set look like the sea. In some sequences, brightly hued jellyfish chandeliers moved gracefully while being hung up from the ceilings. In other scenes, the in-person audience flapped some blue clothes to imitate ocean waves. Sweeping cameras captured actors, including Cravalho as Ariel, moving in a graceful manner like how a body would move in the water.

The set in The Little Mermaid Live! Image Source: ABC
The set in The Little Mermaid Live! Image Source: ABC


Auli’i Cravalho who made her acting debut as the titular character in Moana played Ariel while Queen Latifah played the villainess, Ursula. John Stamos co-starred as Chef Louis. Graham Phillips as charming Prince Eric. Shaggy played Ariel’s best friend, Sebastian.

The Little Mermaid Live! Cast. Image source: The Groove


Although the musical has tried to incorporate both the Broadway musical aspects and 1989 movie aspects, it has clearly failed to impress the audience. Hopefully, ABC would work on providing more unique musicals from now on, if they plan to broadcast any, rather than musicals that not many people would be captivated by.

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