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Viewers shred 'Little Mermaid Live!' on Twitter, prompting ABC exec to respond

George Back
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

The Little Mermaid Live! aired on ABC Tuesday night. The live event combined the songs and plot of Disney’s original cartoon film mixed with live-action musical numbers. While the two-hour event was certainly entertaining, the majority of viewers on Twitter couldn’t get over some of the production issues.

While stars Auli'i Cravalho (Ariel) and Queen Latifah (Ursula) emerged unscathed for their performances, major news outlets weren’t kind to the overall experience; for example, USA Today’s review proclaimed, “ABC's baffling Little Mermaid Live! sunk straight to the bottom of the ocean.” But the reviews from Twitter were much, much harsher.

Many fans were disappointed with the production value of the live performance, particularly that of Flounder. Flounder, who is Ariel’s best friend, only made a brief appearance as a very lackluster puppet. 

The most discussed character of the night had to be Sebastian. Sebastian is the crab who watches over Ariel, and was portrayed in the live version by musician Shaggy. Even though Sebastian has large claws in the film and Broadway versions, in this version he had 10 fingers.

It became such a big deal that Robert Mills, ABC’s SVP of alternative series, specials and late-night programming, addressed the criticism on Twitter during the show: “For those wondering, Shaggy wore crab claws in early rehearsals and it looked ridiculous.“ He later tweeted a photo Shaggy in the original crab costume with “ridiculous” claws.

With an abundance of negative reactions on social media, Mills highlighted a positive comment from random person in Texas, tweeting, “I don’t care what anyone else thinks, my man Edward Sanchez said it’s the best ever and that’s good enough for me!!”

For more on The Little Mermaid Live! visit ABC.

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