Music News

We Are the World 25/2010 performers pull off impressive enough performance without superstars

All right, so we were admittedly skeptical of how this whole "We Are the World" remake was going to turn out with the seemingly random cast of characters organizers assembled. When we first glimpsed the initial list of those present the night of the recording, there were some head scratchers in the bunch, and the star power seemed slightly lacking with the glaring omissions of some undeniable superstars.

Specifically, we couldn't help but notice that A-Listers like Eminem, 50 Cent, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce, Jay-Z? Ryan Tedder, Rhianna, Outkast, Common, Dave Matthews, John Mayer and Chris Martin appeared to be conspicuously missing from the list.

While we still don't know why they weren't on hand, as it turns out, it didn't really make that much of a difference one way or the other. The version of the song the folks listed below put together -- which premiered last night during the Olympics -- is nearly as affecting as the original, despite some missteps.

The midsection -- the all-star rap interlude featuring LL,, Snoop, Busta and others -- for instance, is a little jarring at first and kind of breaks up the overall continuity of the song. After a few listens, though, it grows on you, and regardless, it's gratifying to see the inclusion of a genre which was barely on the radar around the time of the original recording.

There's a few other slightly underwhelming moments, among them Tony Bennett's stiff delivery during the first verse, and the auto-tuning is a bit excessive. Just the same, there's some standout vocal performances: BeBe Winans is in top form, as are Celine Dion and Josh Groban (natch). And hot damn! Is that The Genius during a latter verse? Nope. It's Jamie Foxx channeling him (clearly, the casting of Ray was no fluke). And not to be outdone, Maroon 5's Adam Levine does a dead on Stevie Wonder.

Other highlights: The posthumous inclusion of MJ from the original session shown split screen with his sister Janet is a nice touch. Oh and don't miss Wyclef Jean's exaggerated vibrato throughout.

"We Are the World" 25 for Haiti Behind the Scenes Interviews (Part One)

"We Are the World" 25 for Haiti Behind the Scenes Interviews (Part Two)

"We Are the World" The Original from 1985

We Are the World 25 for Haiti the complete list of performers per USA Today.

  • Pink
  • Jamie Foxx
  • The Jonas Brothers
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Tony Bennett
  • Brian Wilson
  • Natalie Cole
  • Carlos Santana
  • Orianthi
  • Jennifer Hudson
  • Sugarland
  • Adam Levine
  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Jason Mraz
  • T-Pain
  • Justin Bieber
  • Nicole Scherzinger
  • India Arie
  • Mary Mary
  • BeBe Winans
  • Julianne Hough
  • Melanie Fiona
  • Mya
  • Anthony Hamilton
  • Gladys Knight
  • Tyrese
  • Raphael Saadiq
  • Keri Hilson
  • Joel and Benji Madden
  • Ann and Nancy Wilson (of Heart)
  • Brandy
  • Musiq Soulchild
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Akon
  • Jordin Sparks
  • Celine Dion
  • Rob Thomas
  • Katharine McPhee
  • Jeff Bridges
  • Randy Jackson
  • Patti Austin
  • Kid Cudi
  • Usher
  • LL Cool J
  • Isaac Slade (of The Fray)
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Nicole Richie
  • Trey Songz
  • Ethan Bortnick
  • 3T (Michael Jackson's nephews Taryll, Taj and TJ Jackson)
  • Vince Vaughn
  • Drake
  • Freda Payne
  • Faith Evans
  • Robin Thicke
  • Rashida Jones
  • Jimmy Jean-Louis
  • Enrique Iglesias
  • Zac Brown
  • Lil Wayne
  • Josh Groban
  • Sean Garrett
  • Harry Connick Jr.
  • Al Jardine
  • Bizzy Bone
  • A.R. Rahman