Tonight marks American Idol’s annual Idol Gives Back show to raise money for charities including Children’s Health Fund, Feeding America, Malaria No More, Save the Children’s U.S. Programs and the United Nations Foundation.
Elton John, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, The Black Eyed Peas, Annie Lennox, Jeff Beck & Joss Stone and Mary J. Blige & the All-Star Band are scheduled to appear tonight.
Oh, yeah. And one of the Idol contestants goes home.
The show kicks off with a message from President and Michelle Obama – he says, “To all of the finalists, as Randy says, You’re all my dawgs.” And she adds, “Simon, be nice.”
Plug for the corporate sponsors and introducing Queen Latifah in Pasedna with another whole crowd.
The Top 12 are back together to perform, all dressed in white, lip synching … I mean, singing … a song about keeping the dream alive.
Hey, is this a commercial free show? Rats. I’m not going to get a break, am I?
OK, before we get started:

If you want to donate to Idol Gives Back, by all means, call 1-877- IDOL-AID. If, for whatever reason, you don’t want to support these specific charities (you can read this post about one group’s concerns), please do contribute to your favorite charity. Personally, I support Compassion International and my dogs Scout and Bandit are going to be the “spokesdogs” for Faceless International. (I know, it’s silly, but what a lovely way to help kids!) The important thing is to get involved – donate your money, donate your time, pray, pray and pray some more.
First celeb, Jennifer Garner in Appalacia. If you’ve never been there, you can’t imagine the poverty.
Victoria Beckham is up, looking very … frail …. while she chats with a couple of kids who look like they’d rather be anywhere but on stage. And yay! A commerical!

Capt. “Sully” gives a plug for donations.
Boring, stupid video of Ryan with Russell Brand and Jonah Hill.
Finalists on the couches, Ryan chats, asks Lee why he looks like he’s about to cry before he sings, and we’re back to Pasadena with Queen Latifah and The Black Eyed Peas, singing “Rock That Body.”
Oh, so the musical guests don’t have to sing inspirational songs. They can sing crap. I mean, seriously. They can’t get with the theme and sing a song that’s not about sex?
Queen Latifah tells us about how Idol Gives Back benefits charities in Africa.
She mentions malaria – it seems so silly, but mosquito netting can literally change lives. We can’t imagine what it’s like to be at risk for malaria, just from a little bug we spray away with “Off”. And for something like $10, a person in Africa can have mosquito netting which will help protect them from getting bitten and dying. Because people actually die from mosquitos. I know, it’s crazy. We can’t even imagine.
We’re back, and Ryan explains that as part of the online auction they gave away the chance to host the results part of the show. Oh, it’s a joke. It’s George Lopez. Ryan, stick to your day job because comedy just ain’t your thing.
George says “Dim the lights,” too dark, too light – “Now I’ve got eyes like Danny Gokey” – disco lights. George says he loves the power and says to Ryan, “When you do this you probably feel like 5 feet tall.” George has the Idols stand up, then has them sit down, because he’s going to judge the judges.
He says to Randy that he says pitchy, pitchy, pitchy and to formulate his own thoughts and stop asking Kara. He says since Randy is “the only brother on the show” he’s safe. Oh haha,
Kara is next, and he calls her Carla DaGuido. He mocks how she always says “I wrote that song,” and how she always wants more from the singers, and how he wallpapered his bedroom with the nude picture of her from the magazine. She’s safe – “although no cute boy on the show is.” Hahaha.
He goes to Ellen next, and says she always loves everyone and is the Kourtney Kardashian of the judges, and because she’s always dancing, she’s safe.
Simon’s last, and says that Simon says every night he’s saying “Rubbish” and “Ryan stop touching me,” and he needs to wear a large shirt once in a while. And asks, “Saline or silicone.” He ends saying Simon has go back to England but because there’s a cloud of volcanic ash, he’s safe. Ryan comes back with, thanks to “Erik Estrada.” Oh Ryan, you’re hilarious.
Time for the weekly Ford commercial/video. And now some real results.
Ryan calls Casey James and Crystal Bowersox to the center of the stage first. Recaps their performances. Neither has been in the bottom three before, but tonight Casey is. Crystal’s safe. Casey to the loser stools.
Aaron Kelly and Lee Dewyze are next. Hmm, I would guess if one’s in the bottom three, it’s Aaron. And I’m right. That was a no brainer.
So that leaves Tim Urban, Sioghan Mangus, and Big Mike Lynche. One of them is in the bottom three, but we won’t find out right now.
Back to Pasadena with Jeff Beck and Joss Stone, backed by the Jubilation Choir, singing “I’ve Put A Spell On You.” Snore.
Our Idol expert Brittany Keener just commented (in case you don’t get that far down the post) that they had to give half of the Idol Gives Back show tickets away for free. I can see why. The music is the pits so far.
And I mean, I get that celebrities want to help charity. I do. But if I’m being totally honest, these are not celebrities who inspire me. It all seems packaged and slick and indulgent. Then again, this is the first Idol Gives Back show I’ve seen, and I’d really rather be changing the cat litter box.
But who cares what I think; what do you think at the halfway mark in the show?
Wow, they bring in the Secty General of the United Nations? Huh. That’s not inspiring me to donate either.
Morgan Freeman’s up next. OK, I looove Morgan Freeman. He talks about an approach to education and how he and Randy Jackson were in Mississippi to see what Save The Children is doing there with literacy programs.
Freeman says, “If you want to change things, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and jump in and start.” That’s good advice; I think we often feel like we have to wait to be asked – well, consider yourself asked. Find a charity that speaks to your heart and jump in.
Alicia Keyes is up next; is she singing completely out of synch with the music? Or is it just me? And what’s with the arm flailing and waving? Yeesh, I thought she might be the one who would bring us a nice inspirational song. It’s just another crappy, repetitive song. So she segues to the piano and goes into another song. Good grief, she sounds horrible.
Josh Grobin makes a pitch for donations. He’s so cute; he looks like a little puppy dog.
Yay! Another commercial!
OK so I’m back late – had to put the chickens in the coop – and I find another very, very lame “comedy” sketch with Jonah Hill and Russell Brand. Oh, and there’s Slash, and Tatiano DelToro, and Jim Carrey. And it’s still stupid. I mean, really stupid.
Back to Pasadena and Carrie Underwood. She looks classy and sounds fantastic. She’s singing, “Change”, and yes! That’s the kind of inspirational song we need to hear on a show like this. Yes, the smallest thing can make all the difference. Yes, you can be the fool who changes the world. They ought to shut the show down and let her sing for the other 1/2 hour. She’s the epitome of everything this show should be about.
She talks with Queen Latifah about her new tour, and how she’s donating 36 cents from every ticket sold to Save The Children. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but add up ticket sales for a Carrie Underwood tour and that’s a nice chunk of change, eh?
Video of Ellen DeGeneres going to Monrovia, California where she meets up with David Arquette to check out a food pantry there feeding families in need, particularly working families who have fallen on hard time and need a helping hand.
Elliot Yamin is in the audience with Sister Dominga, from his trip to Africa.
We’re headed out to a commercial, and Ryan reminds us Annie Lennox, Elton John and Mary J Blige are coming up – and we’re going to run long. Why? They should just have showed the videos, let Carrie Underwood sing a few songs, give us the results, and call it a night.
So while we’re on break: This show is making me nuts. My husband says he has always loved the Idol Gives Back show, and while I’m in Nashville he always watches it. I’m watching and feeling like they’re manipulating the viewers for donations, like this all has an agenda. I don’t feel inspired at all. My husband says in years past the show did a better job of telling how something like a mosquito net can change a life, and the artists were better and more inspirational. My husband also says I’m feeling this way because I’ve been on mission trips so I don’t need to be manipulated into giving. And because I’m in a cranky mood tonight. So take my comments with a grain of salt. I say give, give, give. Time, money prayers. But you don’t need to watch some crappy pop music to inspire you to do it. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
Videotaped interview with Ryan and Bill and Melinda Gates. Plug for The One Campaign.
Wandy Sykes is on stage now, talking about the show, throwing out some jokes about Simon’s nipples – that joke’s getting old – and eliminations and how they make the loser sing. Haha, that is actually pretty funny! Before you go, let’s take a video look at when you were happy, before we crushed all your hopes and dreams. They sing; “Come on now and remind America why they didn’t vote for you.” Hahaha!
Back to the results – let’s crush some more dreams tonight.
Siobhan Mangus, Big Mike and Tim Urban are at center stage; Ryan recaps the performances. So who’s in the bottom three? Siobhan is safe. And so is Mike. Tim is in the bottom three.
There you go: bottom three Casey, Aaron and Tim.
Up next, David Cook talks about a trip to Ethiopia, and how it wasn’t anything like his preconcieved notions. Video report about human slavery and the sex trade in Addis Abba in Ethiopia.
Check this out – and I don’t know why Idol didn’t share this info with viewers: there are estimated to be about 27 million slaves in the world today – forced laborers, sex slaves, etc. That’s more than twice than during the Atlantic slave trade, and more than at any point in history. You want to learn more about that issue? Visit Faceless International, the organization my dogs and I have just teamed up with.
Video now of Annie Lennox talking about programs that help moms and children get treatment for AIDS. Annie Lennox wasn’t able to make it to the show because of the flights being cancelled because of the volcano. But we do get a video update of the little girl we met – and holy smokes! The treatment the little girl got for AIDS completely transformed her.
We support three children through Compassion International one of which who lives in an AIDS infected area in Uganda. The money we send provides food, education, medical care, etc for our child and his family. The extra AIDS donation also provides testing for the family and treatment. Just that little bit can help, you know?
Annie Lennox is performing – I think it’s a taped performance? The orchestra is playing on stage; she’s on the video? She’s wearing an “HIV Positive” t-shirt. And she’s also singing a very emotional song that’s completely fitting for tonight’s theme. I’m glad she was able to participate and we could see her video.
Mary J Blige, Randy Jackson and a whole bunch of other people whose names I didn’t catch are singing “Stairway to Heaven.” The band was great – great! – but yeesh, the should have just skipped the vocals.
Video of Simon Cowell in Douglas, AZ, one of the poorest places in the nation. He profiles Dr. Jon and his mobile unit treating kids in rural areas that are otherwise without a pediatrician. And a little girl with a genetic condition that wouldn’t be treated without the Idol Gives Back funds that allow Dr. Jon to be able to treat her – and 5,000 other children in the community.
Simon gives us the donation tally: as of 10:17 PM ET, $15 million. If everyone who voted for a contestant gave $1 they’d raise twice that. Why don’t they do that one week? Instead of voting, have people donate money, and the contestant that raises the least goes home. That way at least there would still be something good. Just thinking out loud.
OK, we still have Elton John to perform and the final results. Ryan wasn’t kidding when he said it was running over.
Back to Pasadena and Sir Elton John. Queen Latifah talks to him about his AIDS foundation, he talks about how it offers medicine, a buddy, testing, etc. – because, he says, he wanted “to do something more responsible with my life than I was doing 15 years before that.” He’s trying to give his foundation’s URL and he can’t remember it – “I’m such a Luddite,” he says. I love that; some of the most famous people are so technologically challenged. Makes me feel better.
Anyway, he performs “Your Song.” OK, the show at least is ending on a much better note than it started. And I feel badly for Casey, Tim and Aaron, who had to sit there for two hours and wonder which one of them was going home. Kind of hard to enjoy this event with that hanging over your head, eh?
Well, the wait is over. Ryan says the person who’s safe is .. .the audience yells, “Tim!” … but it’s Aaron. That leaves Casey and Tim, and it’s Tim going home tonight. Or as Ryan calls him, Teflon Tim, The Comeback Kid. Tim’s still smiling, and now we see his video Idol journey. Ryan says goodbye, wait, isn’t Tim going to sing? That’s not fair! Tim needs his time for his goodbye song. They could have skipped The Black Eye Peas and let Tim sing, It would have been better.
Recap: The first part of the show stunk royally. They could have started with Carrie Underwood and cut out everything before that (and “Stairway to Heaven”). Carrie Underwood was one class act, loved the Annie Lennox segment, Elton John was classic. George Lopez and Wanda Sykes were actually really funny.
So there you have it: Idol Gives Back. The message? Tonight you’ve been presented with several ongoing problems in the world – from poverty in your own backyard to AIDS in Africa to a need for mosquito netting to sex slavery.
The point? What can you do to help? Donate time? Donate money? Pray?
Remember, the need isn’t just on the other side of the world. Look in your own backyard and ask God where he wants you to help.
American Idol season 9 auditions and recaps – complete list of posts
More from Beliefnet and our partners