As Will Smith revealed on his recent Fallon appearance, a lot of Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin is going to hinge on updating the classic songs. That includes the enduring single “A Whole New World”, which won Song of the Year at the 1994 Grammys. While that version was sung by Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson (who’s currently recuperating after a heart attack), Disney went a little poppier for the 2018 rendition.
The Mouse House tapped former 1Der Zayn and young R&B pop riser Zhavia Ward for the update. Unfortunately, overblown production and attempts to gussy up perfection with “tricky” vocal runs end up stripping the song of its delicate magic. The video doesn’t really help matters, for some reason separating its protagonists in irrelevant New York City locations as they sing about starting a loving adventure together.
Of course, it’s still probably going to do huge numbers, and will likely play during the end credits of the film. If Disney gets even a fraction of the original’s ubiquity out of it, it’ll be considered a successful cover, even if it doesn’t wind up with awards show recognition.
Listen for yourself below.
Directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, and Navid Negahban, Aladdin soars into theaters on May 24th.