'American Idol': Katy Perry and Luke Bryan Join Lionel Richie for Historic Performance of ‘We Are the World’

Lionel Richie on 'American Idol'
ABC via Getty Images

The 'Idol' judges and past winners came together for a star-studded performance on the song's 35th anniversary.

Sunday's American Idol season finale saw a new winner crowned, the TV debut of Katy Perry's new single, "Daisies," and a historic performance of "We Are the World."

Lionel Richie, who co-wrote the charity anthem alongside Michael Jackson, led the pre-taped spectacular, which marks the first time the tune 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 Luke Bryan.

Past Idol 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 historic number, which each singer recorded remotely.

The tune also serves as a message of unity once again as the world struggles with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which is why each singer had to record their vocals separately. However, in doing so, the song seemed to resonate in a new way and a new message -- even though we are apart, we can still all come together.

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

Check out the video below for more on this historic, unique season of American Idol, and how having to tape episodes remotely proved to be a game changer.