At the Academy Awards on Sunday night, Walt Disney Studios released the first full-length trailer for the live-action The Little Mermaid (2023), starring Halle Bailey as Ariel the mermaid. Some have criticized the film for casting a Black actress as a white animated character. Still, many Disney fans are encouraged by viral videos of young Black girls excitedly reacting to a Disney Princess that looks like them. Bailey opened up about the racist backlash last year, saying that she was encouraged by her family and crewmates.
Soon after the trailer premiered, professional voice teacher Jaron M. LeGrair shared a video on TikTok reacting to Bailey’s version of “Part of Your World,” an Alan Menken classic originally performed by Jodi Benson. (Menken returned to Walt Disney Studios to co-compose the live-action film with Lin-Manuel Miranda.):
Halle! 🖤 #hallebailey #disney #oscars2023 #littlemermaid #alanmenken #partofyourworld #vocalcoach #chloexhalle
As the trailer played, LeGrair offered his thoughts on Bailey’s performance with a cheerful grin. “I enjoy hearing her thicken up her sound here (thick fold/chest voice),” he wrote at the start. “The ‘now’ vowel had a longer shape – warms up the voice.”
When Bailey sang the final “Part of Your World,” LeGrair described the techniques she was using to build up to a strong finish. “Listen to this last ‘world!’” he wrote. “She blended into it so nicely!”
Bailey is no stranger to vocal performance. The actress is best known for her career as an American singer, making up half of the duo Chloe x Halle with her sister Chlöe Bailey. The pair has earned five Grammy nominations since 2018.
The Little Mermaid premieres in theaters on May 26, 2023. Directed by Rob Marshall, it also stars Melissa McCarthy as Ursula the Sea Witch, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder.
Share your thoughts about Halle Bailey as Princess Ariel in The Little Mermaid (2023) with Inside the Magic in the comments!