Halle Bailey’s voice has a transcendental power that conveys Ariel’s determination to join the human world with every graceful note. “Part of Your World” is the linchpin of Ariel’s story and Bailey’s rendition is astonishing. She sings it an octave higher than the original and her strong, passionate belting gives you full-body chills. As /Film writer Vanessa Armstrong puts it in her “The Little Mermaid” review, “Bailey is royalty in her own right and on her way to becoming a major star.” Halle Bailey’s vocals are so divine that she has several more solo numbers and is also a part of “Under the Sea.”
Daveed Diggs plays the anxious crustacean, Sebastian. His interpretation of the famous “Under the Sea” is more laid-back with Calypso influences. “I wanted it to feel like he was improvising and just having a great time,” Diggs tells Cinema Blend, and the audience hears this in his loose and playful vocal style. Diggs also shines in “Kiss the Girl” which is now a trio featuring Flounder and Scuttle. Their dulcet harmonies are adorable and endow the song with a mesmerizing quality that brings Ariel and Eric together in a more intimate way.
It’s impossible to top Pat Caroll’s smoky-voiced performance as Ursula but Melissa McCarthy’s vocals are just as theatrically devilish. She finds cunning, sinister humor in her modulations — gliding from snarky sarcasm to a haughtiness that resembles an overdramatic Shakespearean actor. Her brassy voice can also back up some of the bigger notes.