Sunday night’s season finale of “American Idol” turned into a blast from the past when judge Lionel Richie led an all-star update of the classic song “We Are the World” in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Richie, who wrote the iconic 1985 tune with Michael Jackson, performed the new version with fellow judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and all of this season's 11 finalists, marking the first time the song has been performed on TV since the year it was released, "Entertainment Tonight" reported.
It wasn't just "Idol" stars of today who took part, either. Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks, Lauren Alaina, Phillip Phillips, Laine Hardy and Alejandro Aranda were among “Idol” contestants from years past who lent their voices to the track.
The clip features images of popular American landmarks that are normally bustling, ranging from the Las Vegas Strip to New York City’s Times Square, while the singers’ faces were on the screen. There are also shots of deserted roads, beaches, as well as more tranquil images, like forests and canyons.
The new “We Are the World” runs roughly three minutes, less than half as long as the original performed by USA for Africa, which raised money for famine relief. More than 20 million copies of that song were sold.
Another celebrity version of "We Are the World" was also released in 2010, to help raise money for victims of an earthquake that struck Haiti.