Katy Perry and Luke Bryan join Lionel Richie for historic We Are the World performance

Lionel Richie is presented the key to the iconic Las Vegas Strip at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Featuring: Lionel Richie Where: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States When: 15 Aug 2018 Credit: Judy Eddy/WENN.com

Lionel Richie tapped Katy Perry and Luke Bryan for a performance of We Are the World during the finale of American Idol on Sunday.

The Hello hitmaker, who co-wrote the charity anthem with Michael Jackson, led the pre-taped rendition of the tune during the show – marking the first time the song has been performed on TV since 1985.

The number featured remotely recorded vocals from all of the Top 11 contestants from season 18, as well as Richie’s fellow judges, Perry and Bryan.


Past contestants and winners, including Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks, Lauren Alaina, Phillip Phillips, Laine Hardy, and Alejandro Aranda, also lent their voices to the track.

We Are the World was originally recorded as a charity single and performed by the musical supergroup USA for Africa, benefitting famine relief efforts. The song sold over 20 million copies and became one of the best-selling singles of all time.

The live shows of season 18 of American Idol have been filmed remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the judges, host Ryan Seacrest, and the contestants performing from their respective homes.

The finale also saw Perry perform her new single Daisies live for the first time on TV, while singer Just Sam was crowned the winner of the 2020 contest.