American Idol has changed a lot due to quarantine, but even the biggest of changes won't prevent the show from trying to have a monstrous Season 18 finale. Among other things, Lionel Richie will perform his song "We Are The World" and, much like the original, the song will need a bunch of famous folks to help. In this case, Idol is digging deep and pulling some of its past contestants for what should be one magical performance.
Per a press release, American Idol's "We Are The World" will feature Richie singing with fellow judges Luke Bryan and Katy Perry. After that, there's a who's who of Idol's past, as recent veterans like Season 17 runner up Alejandro Aranda and Season 17 winner Laine Hardy will be a part of the fun. 3rd place finisher Gabby Barrett from Season 16 will sing as well, though no sign of Season 16 winner Maddie Poppe.
From there, American Idol is going deep into the vault with a mix of famous faces and past winners. Jordin Sparks, Phillip Phillips, Katharine McPhee, Scottie McCreery, Lauren Alaina, and Kellie Pickler will all lend their talented voices to the song and give longtime Idol fans a great feeling of nostalgia. None are as big of a throwback as Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard, however, who rounds out the announced list of American Idol alumni participating in "We Are The World."
Those aren't the only American Idol contestants performing, though. Season 18's Top 11 will team with actress Cynthia Erivo for a medley of Aretha Franklin songs that will get audiences moving. After that, the Top 5 will perform alongside Lauren Daigle to perform her hit "You Say." Finally, a fan-favorite of this season will return, as garbage man Doug Kiker will team up with Rascal Flatts to perform their hit song "Bless The Broken Road."
Take all that, plus the reveal of new songs by Katy Perry ("Daisies") and Luke Bryan ("One Margarita"), and this is looking to be an absolutely packed American Idol finale. Despite that, the Top 5 will perform two songs each. One will celebrate their induction into the Top 5, and the other will be a previously recorded song that will serve as their hit single if selected the winner of Season 18. It all leads up to a live reveal of the winner, who will be the first-ever American Idol champion announced off stage.
The live reveal will be interesting to watch, as other shows have shown going live is easier said than done in quarantine. Reactions can be delayed, celebrations a bit awkward, and it's all a little less fun without a studio full of fans cheering and applauding. Still, it's all better than if American Idol had cancelled the season when forced to postpone and left us high and dry with repeats and unresolved stories like so many other shows.
American Idol's Season 18 finale airs Sunday, May 17 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest news happening in television and movies.