Stevie Wonder and Charlie Puth Create Star-Studded ‘We Are The World’ Tribute to Lionel Richie at 2022 AMAs

Just after Lionel Richie took home the Icon Award at 2022 American Music Awards Sunday (Nov. 20), Stevie Wonder and Charlie Puth took to the Microsoft Theater stage for an extended tribute to the superstar.

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Appearing on stage at a set of dueling pianos, the pair engaged in what Puth referred to onstage as a “musical tennis match with Lionel Richie’s copyrights” — essentially, ping-ponging each other and performing hits from Richie’s vast catalog.

Wonder started by throwing it all the way back to the Commodores with his rendition of “Three Times A Lady” — though even after adoring audience participation he relented, saying, “It still doesn’t sound as good as Lionel.” Puth countered with a song in Richie’s “best key” of A-flat major (“I know that’s the most ‘me’ thing ever,” Puth said), which also turned out to be “Easy” by the Commodores.

The two went back and forth for a while before finally landing on one of the biggest hits from Richie’s pen, “We Are The World” featuring Michael Jackson. Much like the original celebrity-studded jam, the stage filled with stars including Ari Lennox, Muni Long, Melissa Etheridge, Jimmie Allen, Yola, Smokey Robinson and more. As everyone belted out the lyrics, Richie couldn’t help but rush up on stage to perform with the group.

In a message to “young superstars” during his Icon Award acceptance speech, Richie said: “When you hear the word ‘hip’ it means today. When you hear the word ‘inspirational’ it means forever. If you get a chance to to get that light on you, then understand what God has in store.”

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