Next to John Legend and Michael Bolton in the pantheon of performers of the most romantic songs ever sits Mrs. Potts, a kindly English housekeeper enchanted into the shape of a teapot. You'll remember that it was she who serenaded Belle and the cursed prince with the title track of Beauty & The Beast in the Disney original animated movie, while Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson recorded their own rendition for the closing credits. In the 2017 live-action remake of Beauty & The Beast, Emma Thompson takes over the role of Mrs. Potts from Angela Lansbury, and she's following in the footsteps of her predecessor by singing the version of Beauty & The Beast that you'll hear during the film. Ariana Grande and John Legend were given the task of dueting on the pop credits version, but if you can't wait until the movie comes out to hear Thompson's take on the classic Disney tune, you can stream or buy Mrs. Potts' version of "Beauty & The Beast" right now.
The whole Beauty & The Beast soundtrack is streaming on Spotify, including both versions of that title track. It's available for purchase on Amazon via download for $15.49 or physical CD for $14.99. You can also sample the Beauty & The Beast soundtrack song-by-song on Amazon for $1.29 a pop. The iTunes download is $15.99, with the same per-track price. But it's well worth it to spring for the whole album instead of just Mrs. Potts' famous ballad. The soundtrack is a deluxe edition, including demo versions of final tracks and the movie's entire instrumental score.
Lansbury's performance of this song is timeless because it's so warm and gentle. Mrs. Potts is motherly, above all, and all she wants is for these two young people — well, a young person and a young beast-person — to treat each other nicely and maybe fall in love. Thompson's voice has the same soothing, nurturing quality as Lansbury's, and she really plays up her Mrs. Pott's accent in her musical performance — less posh than Thompson's natural tone. Have a listen now, and just try not to get swept away in the nostalgia.
In an interview with ScreenSlam, Thompson talked about taking over another one of Lansbury's parts. (A few years ago, she played Mrs. Lovett in a production of Sweeney Todd, a role Lansbury won a Tony for originating in 1979.) "It was a bit of a tough act to follow," Thompson said of Lansbury's Mrs. Potts, especially her vocal performance on "Beauty & The Beast." "She's got quite an iconic voice, Angela, so I don't think I will ever grow out of her version. But I hope that I can give a vague, at least very human and heartfelt version for this new generation coming up."
Personally, I couldn't imagine a better actor to take over as the Beast's loyal and practical teapot housekeeper. Thompson's version of "Beauty & The Beast" has all the serene charm of the original, in a modern, soaring arrangement.