By Daniel Welsh
It’s fair to say that the One World: Together At Home event, which took place on Saturday night, was a huge success.
The eight-hour broadcast was curated by Lady Gaga, and saw some of the biggest names in music teaming up to entertain us all amid the global coronavirus pandemic, and encourage us to stay at home and practise social-distancing.
Over the course of the event – highlights of which will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday night, along with a select few new additions just for UK viewers – we were treated to tear-jerking performances, powerful speeches and one or two hilarious moments, too.
Here are just some of the highlights from the Together At Home broadcast…
1. Taylor Swift moves us to tears with her stunning performance
While her recent Lover album saw Taylor Swift heading in a much more in-your-face and pop-oriented sound, it also contained more subdued moments like this ballad, Soon You’ll Get Better.
The track is a somber recollection of Taylor’s feelings during her mother’s battle with cancer, so it’s already a heart-wrenching listen, but took on another meaning in the current climate, when so many thousands of people have lost their lives due to Covid-19.
Frankly, we don’t know how Taylor made it to the end of this stunning performance, but she has our total respect.
2. Lady Gaga puts on a show as she revisits an old classic
As well as helping put the entire thing together, Lady Gaga couldn’t help but treat fans to a musical rendition too.
Anyone who’s heard her Cheek To Cheek album or seen her Jazz And Piano Vegas residency will know that Gaga is no stranger to an old standard from the great American songbook, and added a new track to her repertoire with this rendition of Smile.
While we wait for her recently-delayed new album Chromatica, we’ll take any new Gaga music we can get, quite frankly.
3. Charlie Puth wins praise for rendition of See You Again (but raises eyebrows with his untidy room)
— || ? || CEO of Louis’ smile (@lwt28infinity) April 18, 2020
Like Taylor’s Soon You’ll Get Better, Charlie Puth‘s See You Again is another track that took on a whole new meaning in the current climate, and there’s no denying he did a great job with his performance.
Unfortunately, many couldn’t help but notice that the Grammy-nominated singer didn’t exactly give himself the best backdrop, belting it out right in front of his unmade bed, which did not go unnoticed by fans.
Fortunately, he saw the funny side of the whole thing:
Ooops I forgot to make my bed ?
— Charlie Puth (@charlieputh) April 18, 2020
Honestly…I don’t think I’ve made my bed since 2008.
— Charlie Puth (@charlieputh) April 18, 2020
4. Sir Elton John gives a salute to healthcare workers
Sir Elton John – who put together his own star-studded “living room concert” last month – dedicated his performance to those who have been working on the front line during the pandemic.
“This is for everyone out there who’s been working on the front line,” he said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Fittingly, he then launched into a rousing version of one of his signature tunes, I’m Still Standing.
5. Beyoncé delivers an impactful speech about how coronavirus is affecting Black communities
— BEYONCÉ NEWS (@BeyonceHiveNews) April 19, 2020
Although she ultimately chose not to perform during the event, Beyoncé still made a surprise appearance, and ended up delivering one of the most powerful moments of the night with her speech.
“A recent report in my home city, Houston, Texas, showed that of Covid-19 deaths within Houston city limits, 57 per cent of fatal cases are African-American,” the star said.
“Please protect yourselves. We are one family and we need you, we need your voices and your abilities and your strength all over this world.
“I know it’s very hard but please be patient, stay encouraged, keep the faith, stay positive and continue to pray for our heroes. Good night, and God bless you.”
6. Christine And The Queens’ performance is… a mood
— Chris•tine – Ann(e)’s daughter ?♥️? (@alligatortearsq) April 18, 2020
While many stars like Lady Gaga, Elton John and even the usually-somber Billie Eilish opted for more upbeat tunes to entertain us, there’s no denying that the new Christine And The Queens song captures the mood of a lot of people right now.
Singing live in her sitting room, the singer delivered an emotional version of her current single People, I’ve Been Sad, voicing what so many are feeling during these times.
7. Jennifer Lopez shows off some powerful vocals…
We have to admit, so much of Jennifer Lopez‘s performance abilities is put down to choreography, showmanship and spectacle that her voice is often overlooked.
With this homage to Barbra Streisand, J-Lo showed off another side to herself as a performer, and it was actually pretty damn excellent.
8. …and so does Lizzo
Again, so much of Lizzo‘s appeal centres on her empowering nature and entertainment value – two things the world truly need right now, we should stress – that it’s sometimes forgotten that she also has an unbelievably powerful voice.
Watch the clip above and try and tell us she’s not got one of the best voices in music right now.
9. Jennifer Hudson reminds us of the one good thing to come out of Cats
— The Princess of Soul (@thesoulprincess) April 18, 2020
Because Cats ended up being completely panned, Jennifer Hudson never really got the ability to perform this show-stopping track from the musical at any high-profile events.
Reminding us that there’s at least one reason the Andrew Lloyd Webber show has stood the test of time, this version of Memory is undeniably fantastic, even if it does trigger one or two dodgy CGI memories.
10. Billie Eilish nails it once again as she teams up with her brother Finneas
Known for her moody and, at times, quite unsettling tunes like Bury A Friend, Everything I Wanted and her recent James Bond theme No Time To Die, Billie Eilish said she’d decided to shake things up to try and put a smile on people’s faces.
“I love this song, it’s always warmed my heart and made me feel good… and I wanted to make you guys feel good,” she said, before launching into her version of Sunny, accompanied as ever by her brother Finneas.
11. The Rolling Stones tell it like it is with You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Performing together for more than 60 years will definitely make you in sync with one another, even if you’re not playing in the same room (or, indeed, the same time zone).
That’s what The Rolling Stones proved with this performance of their hit You Can’t Always Get What You Want, a sentiment we’re all well aware of at the moment.
12. Luis Fonsi dusts off Despacito and we are not mad at it at all
— POPZEI (@portalpopzei) April 18, 2020
We’ll admit it, there was a time around 2017 when we thought we’d be over the moon if we never heard Despacito again. But we have to admit, this was definitely a highlight of the Together At Home broadcast.
Sidenote: Does Luis Fonsi actually live with his entire band?
13. Kacey Musgraves delivers a message of hope with her rendition of Rainbow
Kacey Musgraves said she’d been inspired to perform this cut from her Grammy-winning album Golden Hour after “seeing everyone’s rainbows in their window”.
And while this rendition of Rainbow didn’t pack in powerhouse vocals like Jennifer Hudson or Lady Gaga, the simplicity and hopeful messsage of this song still brought a tear to our eye.
14. And finally, *what* an ending
Honestly, what can we say? Some of the biggest and most impressive vocalists and musicians in the world teaming up for this stunning version of The Prayer was always going to make sure things went out with a bang.
But trust us, this is even more incredible than you might think.
A two-hour highlights show of the One World: Together At Home broadcast will air on BBC One at 7.15pm on Sunday night.