Stevie Wonder and Charlie Puth duel on grand pianos as they honour Lionel Richie by leading a star-studded performance of We Are The World at the AMAs

Stevie Wonder and Charlie Puth
(Image credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for dcp)

We do love a grand piano duel - The Fabulous Baker Boys remains one of our favourite films (opens in new tab) - so it was great to see Stevie Wonder and Charlie Puth facing off on a pair of 88s at the American Music Awards last night as they paid tribute to Icon Award recipient Lionel Richie. 

Engaging in what Puth described as a “musical tennis match of Lionel Richie copyrights,” Wonder got things going with The Commodores’ Three Times A Lady, before Puth delivered a shot of Easy (played in what he described as Richie’s “best key” of Ab major).

The vollying continued, with Wonder playing a genuine smash in the shape of All Night Long (All Night).

But there was more to come: reminding the crowd that he co-wrote the song with Michael Jackson, Wonder then led a star-studded group singalong of USA For Africa’s We Are The World, the 1985 charity record. He and Puth were joined on stage by the likes of Ari Lennox, Muni Long, Melissa Etheridge, Jimmie Allen, Yola and Smokey Robinson.

And, of course, a beaming Richie couldn’t resist leaving his seat in the audience and hopping on the stage himself.

Prior to this emotive finale, the night had been dominated by Taylor Swift, who picked up six awards including Artist of the year, Favorite female pop artist, Favorite pop album, Favorite music video, Favorite female country artist and Favorite country album. 

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.