Lionel Richie brought a star-studded performance of the 1985 charity single “We Are The World” to the American Idol finale on Sunday (May 17).
Returning to the stage to perform the classic song with Idol judges Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry were past Idol notables including Alejandro Aranda aka Scarypoolparty, Gabby Barrett, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Laine Hardy, Lauren Alaina, Phillip Phillips, Ruben Studdard, Scotty McCreery and the top 11 finalists from this season of Idol.
As they performed the beloved hit, images of empty cities and iconic places around the world were showcased on the screen.
This marks the first television performance of “We Are The World” in 35 years. The song was originally was written and performed to raise money for United Support Of Artists For Africa (USA for Africa), the organization that helps “ease the pain of poverty in Africa and the United States.” The song originally featured Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Billy Joel, Cindy Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and several others.
“We Are The World” was originally written by Richie alongside pop-icon Michael Jackson.
The song was remade in 2010 to benefit the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti with Justin Bieber, Mary J. Blige, Miley Cyrus, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and Jonas Brothers. In March, Richie suggested that a third remake of the song happen to benefit the coronavirus relief efforts which he made happen with Idol judges and notables.
When speaking to Billboard about his decision to create a reimagined version of the song Richie explained, “we have a very unique situation for the whole world. What better time to remind people to help and support each other.”
Richie continued to share his reasoning for keeping the remake within the Idol family, saying that the answer is simple: “We’ve done the all-star cast and it was historic. These kids inspire me with their talent and they reflect the diversity of the world.”