First Look: Queen Latifah Admits She Was ‘Terrified’ to Tackle Ursula’s ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ in The Little Mermaid Live!

Behind-The-Scenes with Queen Latifah for The Little Mermaid Live! / Courtesy of ABC

Ursula’s iconic villain song, “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, explored her desire to assist the helpless peons in the sea…for a price, of course.


Funny enough, the woman portraying the sassy squid, Queen Latifah, can’t rely on Ursula’s loanshark contract to sing the epic song. In a first-look, behind-the-scenes clip provided by ABC to The Root, Latifah discusses the challenges she faced while recording.

“I absolutely love musicals,” Latifah says. “‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ is iconic when it comes to The Little Mermaid. It is a very challenging song, so I’m terrified, of course.”

I can imagine! “Poor Unfortunate Souls” is in my Top 3 of Disney villain songs, so I expect no less than full reverence when covering the classic. Along with technical singing chops, the song requires a certain bit of oomph. You can’t be basic and embody Ursula. So sad, so true.

“I think it’s a fun song,” Latifah exclaims. “There’s so much attitude! It also has to be sexy because Ursula is all about her body.” That she is. Ursula was a “Big Fine” way before Twitter was ever fathomed.

As Latifah describes, the televised stage play will be “part-animated film, part live spectacle.” Along with Latifah, the upcoming stage play production (not to be confused with the live-action theatrical release) of the Disney classic stars Auli’i Cravalho (Ariel), Graham Phillips (Prince Eric), Shaggy (Sebastian), John Stamos (Chef Louis) and more.


You can catch Latifah “wrapping [her] tentacles around the role of Ursula” in The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live!, which shimmies onto your television screens Tuesday, Nov. 5 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.


I like Queen Latifah, that being said, can  Hollywood please stop hiring her to sing in stuff because while her singing voice is perfectly fine she CAN NOT SING to carry off songs like this.  As we’ve seen ( and heard) in The Wiz and Hairspray, she does NOT have those chops.  Give someone else a chance.