I want to preface this recap by saying I think giving to charities is a wonderful idea and I urge everyone to choose a charity that means something to them and either donate money or time to help them out. Now, on with Idol Gives Back.
What a great way to start off the show—Ryan Seacrest messes up and counts it down to start over again. All of the idols are wearing white, and it’s not even the finale! Ryan teases us with the information that there were over 70 million votes and it is the MOST. SHOCKING. RESULTS. EVER. Well, let’s just see about that. This show is two hours long tonight because they like to torture me, so we won’t find out for another hour and 56 minutes yet.
Ryan sends it over to Ellen who is hosting live across town and she introduces Earth, Wind, and Fire after she does a quick verse of Salt N Pepa’s “Shoop”. Earth, Wind, and Fire do a great medley of their greatest hits and really get the show off to an energetic start.
Then we get a downer of a video all about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. Randy went back to visit with some struggling people. The clip is very serious and then Randy comes on to ask for donations.
The next video clip is of Quincy Jones mentoring the idols in a practice session on a song that will be downloadable tomorrow (wait…I thought Bono was the mentor this week). He says they are great and then stands onstage and directs the group sing which is set to a bunch of clips of people in New Orleans. They all sound good and very good together. Blake, Jordin, and Phil seem to get more solos than the others, but honestly, I wasn’t paying that close of attention at the beginning. Eric McCormack from Will and Grace comes on a pre-taped message giving the phone number and saying “If everyone who ever voted for Sanjaya gave just one dollar, we could do so much good.” Sure, he had to mention Sanjaya and make me miss that goofball brand of entertainment. Wait! There he is in the audience! Oh, Sanjaya, save me from this craziness.
David Schwimmer taped a plea and Ben Stiller did as well. He names pretty much all of his movies throughout and he threatens to sing until they raise “200 with about 6 zeroes past it”. A crawl begs for money so he’ll stop singing. Thankfully, that bit is over. Now it’s time to stop the funny to show another Africa video. This time, there is a personal touch as they introduce us to a 12 year old kid whose parents died and it’s now just him and his 7 year old sister and the kid cries as Ryan tells him to keep crying and let it out. After the video, Simon goes on stage and gives his memories of the boy. He says to call the number on the screen to help send him to school (why didn’t you just hand him a few hundred dollars, Simon?). Meanwhile, Ben Stiller is still singing and throws in what he says is his “Blake Lewis” dance. Teri Hatcher, who looks like a skeleton, appears in a taped message to shill out the phone number once again. Half an hour down. Now I remember why I don’t watch telethons.
Forest Whitaker sends a message from Uganda and Ryan starts in with the finalists. He says it’s in random order and there is no highest or lowest. Melinda is first and stands. She’s safe and sits. He makes the rest of them wait. Instead, we get to watch a “very moving story” about Paula visiting the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood. They all want to be performers and the President of the United States. A little girl cries as she talks about how hard it is for her mom to pay the bills.
Hugh Laurie does a plug and then Ryan is going to bring up a “random” person from the audience. He’s asking for $50 to get up on stage and introduce the next act. He “randomly” pulls a seat number and it just happens to be Jack Black. He pushes Ryan out the way and says he has to sing and get judged by the judges. The band says they can back him up on “Kiss from a Rose”. He sings it to his Tenacious D band mate and jumps around like a lunatic. Randy stops him and Paula tells him he’s crappy. Simon tells him he’s better than Sanjaya and they cut to a shot of Sanjaya hysterically laughing in the front row. They bring Seal up to critique the performance. Seal just shakes his head and then says it’s the best rendition of the song he’s ever heard. Ryan begs for people to call in to stop Jack Black from singing “The Greatest Love of All”.
It’s time for more results. Blake stands and he’s told he’s safe as well. We jump back to an Africa video, this time featuring Carrie Underwood singing a song to the orphans you can only download from the Idol website. It’s “I’ll Stand By You” and somewhere Gina kicks herself for not sounding like this when she sang it.
Ellen says she had breakfast with Sanjaya and he told her two things: deep condition once a week and donate! Rascal Flatts then sings “My Wish”. I am not ashamed to admit I love Rascal Flatts, so I’m happy to see them on stage. They are huge Idol fans and often talk about the show during their interviews. In fact, I was hoping they would run on stage last week and slap Chris upside the head for being so bad on “Mayberry”. But I digress. There is more to “give back”.
Tom from MySpace is in the audience. He’s my friend. Then again, he’s everyone’s friend on MySpace, but yeah. More video—they’re in Kentucky this time. Paula’s voiceover tells us that these people can’t read and the kids can’t afford the lunch fee at school. There is an interview with a mother who can’t read, but is proud of her daughter who can read because of a special after school program. Paula is on stage this time to ask people for money to buy books for kids across the country. Ryan calls Paula short just like the pot calling the kettle black. Awkward silence follows as they go to commercial.
We get a look at a “very special” Ford commercial. Which looks like every other Ford commercial with the Idols driving Mustangs and singing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Next is a very strange montage of a bunch of stars lip syncing to “Staying Alive”. I mean a really weird mix of people. Like the Blue Man Group, Miss Piggy, and Helen Mirren. I’m sure that mess will be on YouTube so check it out.
Ryan reminds us the results will shock us this week. He makes Phil stand and asks why he’s smiling and then tells him he’s safe. The last three have to wait. I’m starting to think no one is leaving this week and that’s what’s going to be so “shocking”. I’ll have watched 2 hours to bring you no news and no results. What a rip off!
Again, we’re back in Africa with Ryan and Simon. This time, some of the orphans have AIDS. They bother a poor, really sick girl to film her. We see the same clips of Simon we saw last night complaining about conditions. They have to get out of the way so a man can carry a woman to a truck to get to the hospital. That woman died 2 days later. Ellen asks for donations for ARV drugs for children. Thankfully, she lightens the mood a little and says that she is personally donating $100,000 and challenges all the rich people she watches the show with to donate as well. Josh Groban and the African Children’s Choir sing “You Raise Me Up”. That was a great performance all around.
Ryan introduces to a couple of people from ExxonMobil and starts off a clip about Malaria with a bunch of the stars talking about how many funerals they have been to (most say like 3 or 4) and then in Africa they ask a guy who says 208. We get more clips of Ryan in Africa talking about Malaria. I am starting to feel that Idol is exploiting some of these stories as we see a story of a baby who dies on the way to get treatment as the cameras film the failed journey. Yes, it’s important to tell these stories, but these people deserve their privacy.
Ellen asks kids to donate $1 and get their parents to donate $9 more to buy pills for sick kids. She then introduces Kelly Clarkson. Kelly is looking a lot more like she did when she was on Idol than she has lately. It’s making me realize how much I miss the first 2 seasons of Idol and the real talent they had on those shows. Her voice is really powerful and flawless. Her dress—not so much. Thank goodness we only have 30 minutes left to get through.
Oh, man. Is this Ben Stiller bit STILL going on? He’s still singing. The Simpsons then judge Simon singing “Dontcha” by Pussycat Dolls. Marge is Randy, Lisa is Paula, and Homer is the Simon judge with Bart playing the Ryan Seacrest part. It was somewhat amusing, anyway. Ryan thanks the sponsors again before he goes back to the contestants. LaKisha stands and Ryan tells her she’s safe. Can I just say again that no one is going home?
The next video clip is about helping buy emotional survival kits for kids in America who are abused. Randy plays football with a kid as he asks for donations. With all of these charities they are donating to, I wonder if they’ll have enough to make a difference really. The big duet we’ve been promised is up next. It’s Celine Dion singing with a hologram of Elvis from 1968. This is a bit disturbing, but interesting nonetheless. I’m not familiar with this particular Elvis song and the dead guy is showing more emotion than Celine, but it could have been a lot worse. The Idols come on stage and sing back up and sway side to side. You can download that, and all the other video taped performances, on itunes right now. Madonna then sends a taped message from Malawi where she adopted David and makes a plea for money to save a life from AIDS.
After commercial, Ryan says they have almost raised $30 million dollars already. This week’s Idol Challenge question was who sang the final song in last year’s finale, obviously it has to be Taylor since he won, so text A to 51555. He again begs for money and they have technical difficulties, so he asks Simon how much he’s donated and Simon totally ducks the question. How cheap. Eventually, we’re able to get back to Ellen who again asks people to give what they can and then introduces Annie Lennox. She sings “Bridge Over Troubled Water” as she plays the piano. Her red AIDS ribbon is clearly displayed on her black top. Her great performance is followed by a montage of children just saying “thank you”.
Rob Schneider shows the phone number in a taped video. It’s finally time for the final two Idols, Jordin and Chris to stand. He lets Chris sit and says he’s safe. They show Jordin’s parents crying and then tells her she’s also safe. Did I call that or what? All the others grab and hug her. Ryan says this week’s votes will be added to next week’s votes and the bottom TWO will be sent home next week. We finally get to see the much lauded clip of Bono with the contestants. Most of them are wearing “ONE” t-shirts as he tells them about his charity. He doesn’t mentor anyone, but does ask for money. All six will sing “American Prayer” and Jordin starts off pitchy and even Melinda is pitchy on the low notes. Phil channels his inner Sting again and sounds very good. Wow. This is not very good at all. I don’t think I would have ended the show on those off-notes, but thankfully this week is over and next week we get a double elimination.
You pick two! Which two Idols will leave next week? Email me at email@example.com.