Versions: Beauty and the Beast

In this week’s edition of Versions – Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson vs Ariana Grande and John Legend. Both pairs lent their vocals to the classic “Beauty and the Beast”.

What do the charts and critics say?

Both pairs deal with an Oscar and Grammy winning composition. The track ushered in the golden age of Disney pop music. “Circle of Life”, “Colors of the Wind” and “Reflection” followed in its footsteps.

The love was not spread equally. The Dion-Bryson duo turned the song into a top 10 hit in the US, UK and Canada. Grande and Legend barely cracked the charts in most markets.

The original scored a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. They were even nominated for the top honour of the night – Record of the Year. In 2018, the cover was a submission that likely went ignored by their peers in the academy and by pop culture bodies like MTV.

What do I say?

I haven’t heard a single soul say that he/she prefers the revival of Grande and Legend. The tragedy of covering a well-loved and well-remembered movie theme song is there’s little to improve on. The pair stayed faithful to the original. They end up coming off as uninspired and bland.

Realistically, holding their own against the original powerhouse was a task huge enough. Beating them would’ve been unrealistic.

Was a revival necessary? The answer is a resounding yes. The movie’s transition to live action would have been incomplete without the title track. The expectation the same magic can be created is mistaken.

The silver lining in this remake is the creation of “Evermore”. This new track was written for the latest adaptation and Josh Groban provided the vocals. The studio should’ve channeled their energy to this song instead.

Verdict

By a mile, Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson won this battle!

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