Will Smith sings ‘Prince Ali’ in this new clip from Aladdin – here’s the musical analysis

17 May 2019, 10:28 | Updated: 17 May 2019, 10:31

By Sofia Rizzi

The first teaser clip of Will Smith singing as the Genie in Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin is here... and we’re pleasantly surprised by what we hear.

Will Smith had no easy task following in Robin Williams’ footsteps, as the Genie in Aladdin.

In the trailer for the live-action remake, we’ve already seen the actor don an unexpectedly bold blue tint, but this is the first time we’ve heard a proper clip of the Fresh Prince star’s vocals.

So, what’s his singing like?

It's a little heavy on the auto-tune and, as a result, lacks in some of the original recording's charisma, but the scene makes up for it in glamorous costumes, ostriches, confetti and feathers. Lots of feathers.

Will Smith does, however, navigate the music with genuine charm and that up-beat impishness that the Genie needs.

It’s also a welcome surprise to hear the orchestration. Too often these soundtracks can be an ugly mix of over-produced sounds, but here, there’s a diverse sound of oompah brass band, strings, and both male and female choruses (containing the very awesome Classic FM presenter and professional soprano Catherine Bott!) taking over the lead vocals for the odd phrase.

There's some delightful vibrato coming from the ostrich-carrying dancers, and the men carrying 'seventy-five golden camels' (don't worry, they're miniature) give the music some added depth. They mix up the rhythm with some syncopation on the lyrics ‘Strong as ten regular men, definitely’ which picks up the pace and gives a fresh spin on the original, too.

How does it compare to the original?

It's not quite as up-tempo as the original song, but the scene itself draws on plenty of our favourite bits from the animation.

Almost shot-for-shot, the procession welcoming Prince Ali is the same in the live-action remake as it is in the original. However, the addition of Will Smith riding two peacocks is the exotic twist on Santa's sleigh we didn't realise we needed until now.

Robin Williams has more fun with the vocals than Will Smith, opting for a different tone in almost every phrase, but this fits in more with the nature of the animated genie than it would with a real-life genie.

The clip doesn't show the entire song, so we can't tell if there'll be a big key change like in the original song, but if what we see already is anything to go by, there's probably a show-stopping key change in store.

The jury's still out on whether or not Will Smith can actually sing as the Genie because auto-tune doesn't really give him a chance, but overall it's fun, and we want to see more.


‘Aladdin’ will be released in UK cinemas on 24 May 2019.