American crooner Lionel Richie, who'll provide the pre-AFL grand final replay entertainment on Saturday.

American crooner Lionel Richie, who'll provide the pre-AFL grand final replay entertainment on Saturday.

LIONEL Richie will perform once, twice (but not three times) at the stadii, with the multi-Grammy Award winner to provide both pre- and post-game entertainment for the grand final replay.

The AFL yesterday confirmed Richie, whose best-known hits include Three Times a Lady and Hello, would be the headline musical act at Saturday's big game at the MCG. The deal to bring him here has been brokered by Michael Gudinski's Frontier Touring, and the free entertainment at AAMI stadium has been facilitated by the Victorian Government (though it is not contributing to the cost of bringing Richie here).

''It is a great honour to be invited to perform at such an historic event in Australian football,'' Richie said in a statement issued via the AFL yesterday. ''I am incredibly fortunate to have been available for this once-in-a-lifetime experience to share my music with my fans.''

2005 AFL Grand Final Sydney V West Coast pre game entertainment from Dame Edna. Click for more photos

AFL Grand Final entertainers

2005 AFL Grand Final Sydney V West Coast pre game entertainment from Dame Edna. Photo: Wayne Taylor

  • 2005 AFL Grand Final Sydney V West Coast pre game entertainment from Dame Edna.
  • 2005 AFL Grand Final Sydney V West Coast, pre game entertainment from Dame Edna.
  • 29 Sep 2001 Vanessa Amorosi performs during the pre-match entertainment before the match between Essendon and the Brisbane Lions.
  • 2004 AFL Grand Final Port Adelaide Vs Brisbane Lions Kath and Kim perform for the pre match entertainment.
  • 2004 AFL Grand Final Port Adelaide Vs Brisbane Lions Kath and Kim perform for the pre match entertainment.
  • AFL Grand Final 2007 Geelong v Port Adelaide at the MCG, pre match entertainment Natalie Basingthwaite trying to stay warm.
  • The Seekers performing at the 1994 VFL Grand Final with Keith Podger, Bruce Woodley, Judith Durham and Athol Guy.
  • 1999 AFL grand final between Kangaroos versus Carlton. Pre Game entertainment Human Nature sing the national anthem.
  • 1999 AFL grand final between Kangaroos versus Carlton. Pre Game entertainment  Hayley White and The Ten Tenors.
  • 1997 AFL Grand Final Marina Prior sings the National Anthem.
  • 2004 AFL Grand Final Port Adelaide Vs Brisbane Lions, Guy Sebastian performs for pre game entertainment.
  • Daryl Somers performs at the 1987 grand final between Hawthorn and Carlton.
  • AFL football Grand Final 2005 Sydney Swans Vs West Coast Eagles. Pre game entertainment by Delta Goodrem.
  • Mike Brady at footy Grand Final 1979.  THE AGE 8th August 2009
  • AFL football Grand Final 2005 Sydney Swans Vs West Coast Eagles. Pre game entertainment Laura Gissero and Delta Goodrem.
  • 25 Sep 1999 Mike Brady sings to the crowd during the Pre-Match entertainment, in the AFL Grand Final match between the Kangaroos and Carlton.
  • 2001 AFL Grand Final Essendon versus Brisbane Lions, pre game entertainment Jon Stevens and INXS.
  • Normie Rowe at Footy Grand Final 1990.
  • AFL football Grand Final 2005 Sydney Swans v West Coast Eagles Silvie Paladino performs Advance Australia Fair as part of the pre-match entertainment.
  • Half time entertainment at Footy Grand Final 1994.
  • AFL Grand Final 2006 Sydney Swans V West Coast Eagles, Irene Cara performs during the pre match entertainment.
  • AFL Grand Final 2005 Sydney Vs West Coast Eagle, pre match entertainment by the Australian Idols.
  • AFL Grand Final 2006 Sydney Swans V West Coast Eagles Australian Idols perform during the pre match entertainment.
  • Peter Allen rehearsing for the footy Grand Final 1980.
  • AFL Grand Final 2006 Sydney Swans V West Coast Eagles at the MCG. Australian rock legends perform a medley of hits including Bryan Manix, John Paul Young and Daryl Braithwaite.
  • 2003 AFL Grand Final Collingwood versus Brisbane Lions. Pre game entertainment by Christine Anu.
  • Angry Anderson performs with the Batmobile at Waverley Park Football Stadium during the AFL Grand Final between the West Coast Eagles and Hawthorn Hawks, 28 September 1991.
  • Aboriginal singer Maroochy Barambah at the 1993 AFL Grand Final.
  • AFL Grand Final 2007 Geelong v Port Adelaide at the MCG, pre match entertainment by Jet.
  • 2008 Geelong v Hawthorn grand final when Powderfinger gave pre match performance.
  • John Farnham at footy Grand Final 1979.
  • Opera Star Joan Carden at Footy Grand Final 1992.
  • Daryl Braithwaite and members of the Australian Childrens Choir at Footy Grand Final 1991.
  • Barry Crocker at footy Grand Final 1977.

Richie performed on Tuesday night in Hong Kong, but Gudinski dismissed suggestions that it was a case of securing the big-name artist simply because he was in the neighbourhood.

''New Zealand is in the neighbourhood. Hong Kong is still a 10-hour flight away. He's cancelled recording commitments to be here,'' he said.

Richie will bring his full band and will perform at least three songs at the MCG before the game. After the match, he and the band will again perform in a mini-concert likely to last about 30 minutes at the nearby AAMI Park. Artists performing at the grand final often use backing tracks, but Gudinski promised Richie's performance "will be fully live''.

''Lionel absolutely cherishes live events, and he's so keen to see this game. Unfortunately, the AFL wouldn't grant him his wish to be allowed to perform in a St Kilda jumper.''

The grand final shows will be Richie's only performances in Australia on this visit.

The AFL could not confirm if any other acts would perform at the grand final. There is no truth, however, to the rumour that Sarah Murdoch will announce the winner of the game.

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