Lionel Richie is remaking ‘We Are The World’ with former American Idol contestants in place of the original’s all-star line-up.
The song was written by Richie and Michael Jackson and released in 1985, with proceeds going to the United Support Of Artists For Africa (USA For Africa) non-profit. The organisation works to “help ease the pain of poverty in Africa and the United States”.
In March, Richie suggested a third remake could be released to benefit coronavirus relief efforts. It was previously remade in 2010 following a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti.
The latest version of ‘We Are The World’ will feature Richie and his fellow American Idol judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. They will be joined by former winners and contestants of the US talent show including Jordin Sparks, Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, Fantasia, and more. The top 11 finalists from the current series will also feature and the group will perform the track for the first time on this week’s episode of the show (May 17).
Speaking about his decision to use American Idol contestants on the remake, Richie told Billboard: “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.”
The original version of ‘We Are The World’ featured Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Dionne Warwick and more. The 2010 version starred the likes of Justin Bieber, Mary J. Blige, Miley Cyrus, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Jonas Brothers and more.
This year marks 35 years since the single’s original release and Richie said he had previously not been planning to mark the anniversary. “Two weeks ago, we said we didn’t want to do too much [about the song] because this is not the time to sell an anniversary,” he said.
“But the message is so clear. There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives.”