Stevie Wonder, Usher, in ‘Hand in Hand’

Stevie Wonder covered Bill Withers’ ‘Lean on Me’, Usher and Blake Shelton teamed up for emotional rendition of ‘Stand by Me’, while Demi Lovato performed ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’.

The “Hand in Hand” telethon for hurricane relief kicked off on September 12 with a moving performance from Stevie Wonder. Assisted by gospel choir, the legend opened the broadcast by singing a rendition of Bill Withers‘ hit song “Lean on Me”.

Ahead of his performance, Wonder addressed the viewers with a powerful message. “We’ve come together today to love on the people that have been devastated by the hurricanes,” he said. “When love goes into action, it preferences no color of skin, no ethnicity, no religious beliefs, no sexual preferences and no political persuasions. It just loves.”

His closing statement was a total jab at global warming deniers. “As we begin to love and value our planet…anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent,” he continued. “Lord, please save us all.”

As Wonder belted out the song, camera panned to Cher, Tom Hanks, Stephen Colbert, Billy Crystal, Wanda Skyes, Al Pacino, Jay Leno and other celebrities who waited for phone donations to come in.

Stevie Wonder has kicked off the hurricane relief telethon in the US. — The Morning Show (@morningshowon7) 13 September 2017

After Justin Bieber introduced a prayer, Luis Fonsi and Tori Kelly took the stage to perform “Hallelujah”. The two singers ended the bilingual rendition dramatically by showcasing their powerful vocals.

Usher and Blake Shelton offered hurricane victims a shoulder to lean on as they teamed up for a poignant cover of Ben E. King’s classic “Stand by Me”. Usher started the song before Shelton chimed in while strumming his acoustic guitar. The two then traded verses as the audience at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville sang along with them.

Demi Lovato, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and CeCe Winans were also among the performers. They joined forces to sing The Beatles‘ “With a Little Help From My Friends”. Shortly after, country stars Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Lyle Lovett, George Strait and Robert Earl Keen teamed up for a performance of “Texas” as an ode to the city.

Please go to to donate to the telethon’s relief efforts. Proceeds will benefit a number of charities aiding recovery efforts in Houston after the storm ravaged the city and its surrounding areas. The organizations include the United Way of Greater Houston, Habital for Humanity, Save the Children, Feeding Texas and the Mayor’s Fund of Hurricane Harvey Relief.

Watch the full telethon below.