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The Internet Can’t Get Enough of Halle Bailey’s Incredible ‘Part of Your World’ Performance for Live-Action ‘Little Mermaid’

Halle from Chloe x Halle in Ungoldy Hour music video. Image: Parkwood Entertainment.

Despite the excitement of seeing Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s upcoming remake of The Little Mermaid, I’m still not super optimistic overall because it’s still a live-action remake. And yet, after Disney revealed footage from the upcoming movie at their D23 Expo event, the footage that keeps going around online (only officially shown to in-person attendees), with Bailey’s “Part of Your World” performance, is an undeniable bright spot.

I’ve watched about half of Disney’s remakes, and with the exception of two, none that I’ve seen have been really memorable or transformative. For Disney, they still work because kids will grow up loving them, and by keeping as close as possible to the original, they keep the brand recognition for merchandise sales and park experiences (not even really “rides”). I’m not so sure The Little Mermaid will do anything more than that, but we will very likely get a killer soundtrack, with Bailey at the forefront.

In addition to her amazing vocals (which we will definitely get into below), Alan Menken and Lin Manuel Miranda are co-writing four additional songs. Alan Menken was the songwriter for the original, animated version (1989), and for all of the popular Disney movies from the ’90s. His work in Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and the Beast, and Hercules makes him the person behind the sound and music of the Disney Renaissance. Not to downplay the original problems in some of these (especially the ones featuring characters of color), but the talent is there.

This footage confirms it

The week of D23, when Disney released the teaser trailer for The Little Mermaid, some in Anaheim (like my fellow Mary Sue writer Julia Glassman) got to see more. If I were to link you to any of the videos, they’d just get taken down because recording at the event wasn’t allowed, but regardless, there is footage out there that shows 50 seconds of her singing Part of Your World, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I’ve watched it a dozen times and gotten goosebumps maybe all but one time.

I love, love Jodi Benson’s (the voice actress for the animated version) performance. Let’s make that clear. However, when you see and hear Bailey’s, you understand what director Rob Marshall meant about her setting the bar high in casting, as well as why the footage keeps going around, despite all the takedowns, and why everyone is so enthralled.

For those who didn’t know anything about Bailey pre-casting news, she’s in a pop duo group with her sister called Chloe x Halle. They got their start online with small performances and acting gigs at roughly ages 8 (Halle) and 10 (Chloe). When they were about 11 and 13, their covers and original music uploaded to YouTube caught the attention of Beyoncé’s team. Their 2016 EP Sugar Symphony was the first non-Beyoncé album Parkwood Entertainment released. I didn’t know about them until Grown-ish, where they play supporting characters and sing the intro, but their 2020 album Ungodly Hour was a godsend during the first year of the pandemic and one of my favorite albums of all time.

All this is to say that, minus whatever wack-ass rap they have Awkwafina participate in as Scuttle (I’m not looking forward to the end credits), and any mediocre performances by other cast members (who I don’t know if they can sing at all), I know that Bailey’s vocals, like Benson, will be the best part of the movie.

(featured image: Parkwood Entertainment)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)