This special feature aired on TV a couple of weeks ago but if you missed it then, it’s now available to steam on Disney+, and if your family likes Disney songs half as much as I do, you won’t want to skip it. This special was put together surprisingly quickly by the folks at Disney in response to the quarantine due to COVID-19. It’s an hour’s worth of popular Disney songs performed by a whole host of celebrities, but it’s all self-shot in their own homes. Accordingly, some of the footage is better than others, proving that we’re all equally at the mercy of the strength of our wifi connectivity.
Auliʻi Cravalho, the actual voice of Moana, sings How Far I’ll Go, and sounds movie quality. Josh Groban covers a song from Toy Story. Christina Aguilera belts out Can You Feel The Love Tonight from The Lion King soundtrack. The cast of Broadway’s Aladdin deliver Friend In Me. Ariana Grande covers I Won’t Say (I’m In Love) from Hercules. Beyonce dedicates When You Wish Upon A Star to all the brave health care workers. These are all professional singers and they do a terrific job of covering some great songs – often inter-cut with scenes from the movies.But for my money, things really get interesting when celebrities go above and beyond.
Donny Osmond, who provided the original singing voice for Shang in Mulan, covers I’ll Make A Man Out of You and he sounds just as good as he did 20+ years ago. What makes his performance great though is that he involves all (well, maybe not all, but an awful lot) of his grandkids in the song. They’re all self-isolating in their own homes of course, but everyone had a cell phone and a few lines to sing and the result is pretty adorable.
Country singer Thomas Rhett Akins Jr. gets help from two of his daughters on Do You Want To Build A Snowman?, the pair adorably dressed as Anna and Elsa. The little Anna is sometimes VERY into singing and sometimes bored to tears and mildly angry, all within the 3 minutes of the song, reminding me very much of my own sweet niece. Her older sister is a little more shy, and a little more enthusiastic about throwing the snow. Little Big Town are also joined by their children as they each sing A Spoonful of Sugar from their respective kitchens. Amber Riley does a song from Frozen too, introduced by her niece, who is incredibly poised and professional, proving herself to be a host equal at least to Ryan Seacrest who is managing the show from his own kitchen. Josh Gad and Luke Evans reprise their roles from the live-action Beauty and the Beast for Gaston, with Evans belting out his part with surprising aplomb. Darren Criss plays several instruments and does his own backup vocals on “I Wan’na Be like You (The Monkey Song)” from The Jungle Book. But for my money, the very best effort is also the first, and it’s by someone who doesn’t sing at all.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, and I’ll deny it if you bring it up, but Derek Hough stole the show with a jaw-dropping choreography to Be Our Guest. He’s joined by quarantine buddy (and girlfriend) Hayley Erbert who’s very game. I don’t see any credits for choreography, but for them to have thrown this together themselves in what I can only assume is a pretty short amount of time is impressive. I know they’re professional dancers, but there were plenty of cute and funny little bits that raised the bar to an insurmountable high. Julianne Hough joins in via cellphone to top it all off.