Check out my video recap right here.
Give to Idol Gives Back at americanidol.com – I did! Also, iTunes performances will be available with all proceeds going to IGB.
This year’s extravaganza was much better organized than last year’s attempt to shmoosh the fundraiser and results show together. Although, I wonder if the ratings suffered (ETA: They did. Roughly 17.60 million viewers and a 6.7 rating/18 share among adults 18-49) without that “carrot” producer Nigel Lythgoe found so distasteful. The night cut between performances recorded at the Kodak theater Sunday, and the Idols and Ryan live at the CBS studios. The Top 12 were there maning phones, although David Hernandez and Amanda Overmyer were so far in the back you could barely see them. Yes, call in now and you can talk to an Idol! And maybe even Ryan Seacrest, who would grab the phone to chat with callers. Was there really a need to pretend that the entire telethon was live? There’s no way Ryan and the kids could be in two places at once, so what’s the point?
More After the Jump…
There were some phenomenal performances. Best of the night–Annie Lennox’s beautifully wrought “Many Rivers to Cross” Chills, baby chills. I’ve never been moved by Carrie Underwood as I was last night. Her take on “Praying for Time” was gorgeous. The Idols and the cast from So You Think You Can Dance performed a fun number, Rhiana’s “Don’t Stop the Music”. Later in the show they sang “Seasons of Love” from Rent and closed the show with “Shout to the Lord”. Jesus was edited out of that one. ‘Is OK, I think. People the world over worship in different ways.
Bono, Annie Lennox, Reese Witherspoon, Brad Pitt, Alicia Keyes, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, Miley Cyrus and her Dad Billy Ray, Simon Cowell, Forrest Whitaker, Peyton and Eli Manning all took trips to different places to highlight people living in poverty. The locations were as close as California, where Randy and Paula visited an area where it’s unsafe for kids to go out and play, to Africa where Chris Daughtry visited a pour Ugandan village and Bono visited families devastated by AIDS. Simon Cowell visited a family in Harlem struggling with poverty and illness.
A slew of celebrities made pitch appeals: Adam Sandler, Victoria and David Beckham, Ben Stiller (who showed up in a weird little coda at the end of the show) Whoopi Goldberg, Celine Dion, George Lopez, Kylie Minogue, Maria Shriver, Kobe Bryant, John Cena and Triple H, Jimmie Johnson, Julianne Moore, Keith Urban, Dane Cook, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale, and Tyra Banks.
First Lady of California, Maria Shriver appeared at the beginning of the show to speak about the importance of volunteering and British British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that Britain would commit to purchasing 20 million mosquito nets to distribute in Africa to combat the Malaria problem there. Thankfully,
campaign speeches appeals by the US candidates running for president, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and John McCain were cut from the broadcast.