Music

American Idol's Country Music Alums Help Lionel Richie Sing 'We Are the World'

To commemorate Sunday night's (May 17) American Idol finale on ABC and uplift viewers staying safe at home during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Lionel Richie led a star-studded rendition of '80's pop standard "We Are the World."

Fellow judge Luke Bryan wasn't the only country music star singing along with Richie and Katy Perry. Former Idol contestants turned Nashville recording artists involved in the remake include Lauren Alaina, Kellie Pickler, Laine Hardy, Gabby Barrett and Scotty McCreery. Other familiar faces and voices in the video belong to Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Phillip Phillips, Alejandro Aranda and Ruben Studdard.

A video for the song showed the ensemble cast of singers projected on landmarks in normally bustling spots from Hollywood to New York City.

Richie wrote the song with Michael Jackson. They cut it in 1985 alongside all-star ensemble USA for Africa, including Kenny Rogers, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and Ray Charles. The single raised funds for African famine relief.

The song resurfaced in 2010 as "We are the World 25 for Haiti," a charity single for those impacted by a January 12, 2010 hurricane in Haiti. Popular recording artists appearing on the 2010 version include Justin Bieber and Zac Brown.

Read More: Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher: A Country Music Love Story

As for your new American Idol, Just Sam (Samantha Diaz) edged out a field of finalists which included Baskersfield-based actor and country artist Dillon James. Other country-leaning talents failed to make it to the season finale, including mud-covered West Virginian Zack Dobbins, singing garbageman Doug Kiker the most polished songwriter of the bunch, Lauren Mascitti.

Additional finalists included Arthur Gunn, Louis Knight, Francisco Martin, Julia Gargano and Jonny West.

Now Watch: Craig Morgan Leaves Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton in Tears With 'The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost'

recommended for you

American Idol's Country Music Alums Help Lionel Richie Sing 'We Are the World'