Muppet leader and edutainment original Kermit the Frog has been embroiled in a succession controversy the past few weeks. In a controversial move, longtime Kermit voice actor and puppeteer Steve Whitmire was ousted, and new performer Matt Vogel took over as the voice of everyone’s favourite singing amphibian (he sure beats out the #2 entrant). The Muppet Studio claimed that Whitmire “raised concerns about Steve’s repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years and he consistently failed to address the feedback” as the reason for his dismissal. Whitmire took over for Jim Henson as the voice of Kermit when Jim Henson died in 1990.
Now, the Muppet-loving public has gotten their first taste of what Kermit’s new voice sounds like, thanks to a live recording of Kermit and a few other not-quite-mops, not-quite-puppets singing “The Rainbow Connection,” during a September 8th performance at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles:
All in all, a pretty spot-on Kermit rendition, especially considering Vogel’s performing amphibious alter-ego’s biggest hit.