• Network: ABC
  • Series Premiere Date: Nov 5, 2019
Metascore
51

Mixed or average reviews - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 8
  2. Negative: 2 out of 8

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Daniel D'Addario
    Nov 6, 2019
    70
    Often-jittery, ultimately charming concert special. ... The show thrived, in its live moments, when it embraced being proudly ersatz. ... The handmade, quirk-heavy tone of the production carried the day so heavily that at least one big star seemed out of place: Heavily anticipated and promoted within the broadcast, Queen Latifah, as Ursula, seemed to fall behind the beat and to generally lack the risky abandon of her part.
  2. Reviewed by: Caroline Siede
    Nov 6, 2019
    67
    The show opens with two big production numbers that weave in and around the movie fairly seamlessly. ... The rest of the numbers are more of a mixed bag. ... Queen Latifah absolutely nails her performance of Ursula’s “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” She’s the clear MVP of the night, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that her styling and costuming are fantastic to boot. ... It’s a fun, breezy, somewhat forgettable trip back under the sea.
  3. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Nov 6, 2019
    60
    All of these performers handled the material well. The stunt casting of celebrities has sometimes been a drag on live TV musicals, but this cast could sing, and the animated characters handled most of the dialogue. ... The special’s staging was more hit-and-miss.
  4. Nov 7, 2019
    50
    Switching between the classic film and a live production may have sounded good in theory, especially when considering the movie breaks gave the production more time to swap sets, but its execution was clunky. ... What was live was good, what wasn’t became diminished by expectations and comparisons — that’s not an ideal blend, and I’ll take an ambitious failure over half-a-musical any day.
  5. Reviewed by: Kevin Fallon
    Nov 6, 2019
    50
    The Little Mermaid Live! was an equally audacious and disastrous, admirable TV experiment. Everyone involved should be embarrassed and proud!
  6. Reviewed by: Robyn Bahr
    Nov 6, 2019
    40
    Audiences were deprived of any dramatic performances from the cast, treated instead to what ostensibly amounted to a concert that relied heavily on background video and brief celebrity cameos. It was a deflating experience.
  7. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    Nov 6, 2019
    30
    It was a solid, full-throated effort by the actors and chorus members, but a spectacular failure of a live TV event that couldn't get past its own awkwardness.
  8. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    Nov 6, 2019
    25
    It felt like watching The Little Mermaid with regular interruptions for commercials and karaoke. ... The Howard Ashman-Alan Menken tunes are still very catchy, but all the new interpretations were unmemorable.
User Score
3.6

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 7 out of 11
  1. Nov 10, 2019
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. How could you so spoil a warm and sweet franchise. When will we see white actors as Michael Jordan and Tyson? Full Review »
  2. Nov 6, 2019
    0
    Ooof! That's what it felt like when Auli'i tried to sing the high notes. I'm just going to make this review about Part of your World and theOoof! That's what it felt like when Auli'i tried to sing the high notes. I'm just going to make this review about Part of your World and the Part of Your World (Reprise). Everyone has said enough about the terrible crab suit and the amazing performance by the Queen (Truly though, Latifah gots all you need and then some)!

    But let's get down to what's wrong about this production (and really, almost anything where someone sings these days). Auli'i does not have the range nor the intonation to be singing live. I literally felt the pains in my throat as she tried to sing the high notes. Also, they had to modulate lower for the big finale (a huge no no in musicals). If you want to believe it is fine for her to sing as Moana (even though there a MILLIONS of asian girls out there with better intonation and bigger ranges), then fine; you are responsible for the worship of mediocrity. However, to watch her struggle live, on stage in these vocals was embarrassing. Disney should be ashamed to promote someone who clearly doesn't not have the presence or vocal prowess to tackle these numbers. The issue is that no one cares anymore. If they see someone screaming their head off, no matter how out of tune the note is, they say "Mmmm, that girl has passion." The truth is, however, that girl was just too lazy to learn proper singing technique and instead tried to take a short cut. Just think about it this way: she's taking away someone else's chance who actually deserves it through the connections she has; isn't that what Laurie Laughlin did? Huh. Gross.

    I saw Little Mermaid in theatres when I was 8 years old. I don't think I'll ever be able to watch it the same way again. While The Queen was great, Auli'i should invest in voice lessons before singing live again.
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 6, 2019
    0
    What in the upside down Alabama rat infested incest Jesus is this? By all means it is terrible.