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.

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“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.

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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.

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About the author

Tonja Renée Stidhum

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.