Idol Gives Back. Do You? I’m Waiting For The Fergie Cartwheel

After a pompous start by Ryan Seacrest, we get this party started with Rhianna’s ‘Please Don’t Stop The Music.’ No, wait, it’s the Idols going a group number! Carly’s singing about dancing, but she still looks pissed off. This is for charity, so the Idols don’t have to dance. They have professionals for this. Oh, now we’re going into the ‘mamma-say mamma-sa mamakusa’ or whatever Michael Jackson was singing back in the ’80s. One of the dancers has a really flexible back and a strong neck since his neck was almost the only thing holding him up.

Next we get Maria Skeletor Shriver. She’s got big hair and no meat on her. I love that the band plays ‘Maria’ from West Side Story. A whole host of people come up on stage to join her. I have no idea who they are. Maria tells me that they are volunteers through California Volunteers. She encourages all of us to log on to americanidol.com to find volunteer opportunities. She’s also introducing Ben Stiller as someone who volunteers. He wants to raise a gogillion dollars. Won’t you help?

Next is a film of a bunch of people walking through New York with yellow containers. They fill them up in what I assume is a canal. Of course, it’s nasty. No one should have to drink water like that. Ryan Seacrest thanks Jennifer Connelly for the film. I thank Ryan for telling me who she is, since I couldn’t place her.

Then Snoop Dogg and his bling are on stage with the kids from his camp. He’s also got some guy who sings instead of raps. It’s a decent performance, and there’s something reassuring about the huge Snoop Dogg bling he’s got on his microphone. He may be down with helping others, but he’s still the Dogg. Word.

Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul discuss childhood obesity and travel to a school relatively close to the Idol studios. It’s a small town, but there’s poverty, so there’s also gang activity. Save The Children helps with after-school programs and healthy food.

We then cut to Carrie Underwood having her sink fixed by a guy who apparently plays Teri Hatcher’s husband on Desperate Housewives. Teri tells Carrie that she’s going to steal Carrie’s song. So we get the treat of hearing Teri Hatcher sing ‘Before He Cheats.’ She’s awful. Way awful. James Denton is playing guitar. Carrie Underwood then comes out & says ‘nice job!’ We then get Mary Murphy threatening to scream ‘who-hoo!’ until someone picks up the phone. That would only make me pick up the phone to chuck it at her.

The Jonas Brothers do a taped ‘give now’ segment. I’d never actually seen them before. Yep. They look like this generation’s Hanson, all right. Billy Crystal then introduces Miley Cyrus. His bit is that he thinks she’s just starting out. So she asks him if he’s in show business. They bond over Monsters Inc. It’s really forced. I’ll stop describing it. She sings ‘Good and Broken,’ which is apparently a Hannah Montana song. But she’s not dressed as Hannah Montana! I wonder if there are confused children out there.

The Idols are on stage answering the phones. Apparently if you’re in the Top 12, you get the honor. Danny Noriega is now thanking his lucky stars he didn’t make the Top 12. Ryan takes a minute to chat with people who are calling in. Yes, it’s as exciting as listening to a one-sided conversation usually is. Ryan introduces a film by Bono about the fight against AIDS in Africa. He’s highlighting the work of The Global Fund. He’s also highlighting a woman who has lost 3 children to AIDS and is volunteering to help keep kids with AIDS alive. Wanna give to the fund, click the link.

Sweet! Now we get Fergie with John Legend. I want to see some Wilson sisters come out & Fergie start doing cartwheels. She’s singing ‘Finally’ and it’s nice to hear that, yes, she can really sing. ‘My Lumps’ doesn’t really show off one’s vocal range. Check it out! She should tone down the eye makeup. It makes her eyes look way tiny.

And out come Ann & Nancy Wilson of Heart. I wonder if they just wanted to do ‘Barracuda,’ because it’s not really ‘inspirational’ and doesn’t talk about giving. Fergie’s back on stage for verse two. She’s lost the bubble skirt she was wearing previously. She also tries the crawling to the camera Madonna thing. Ah, she does a one-handed cartwheel. Kathy notes that it’s more of a roundoff, but she looks good doing it.

Ryan is back with the Idols on stage answering the phones and theoretically doing something with their Apple laptops. I don’t know what they’re doing because they’re all writing with pens on legal pads. Whatever, we’re cutting to the Mannings Eli and Peyton. Apparently they’re from New Orleans, so we get a film on the horrors of Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of some kids who lived through it. These kids are working with Save the Children to help grow and move forward.

David and Victoria Beckham say a few things about donating. Kathy notes that Victoria looks like a typical Gray. You know, a gray. The basic alien shape.

Cut to Ryan with the telemarketing Idols and then a film from Bono. He’s talking to kids who’ve been orphaned by AIDS. He then tells the boy that we’re going to Annie Lennox. I highly doubt that he knows who Annie Lennox is. Annie Lennox, for her part, is introducing a family of 4 kids. All of the adults in their lives have died of AIDS. The oldest boy is 15. Annie takes the kids to get tested for the virus. Thankfully, they’re all negative. To be honest, it’s the only film that really moved me. I think it was because she was so visibly moved. The rest of the films have been well-produced and lovely, but it’s hard to see if the people making them actually have been affected. She was affected, and it made the boys’ story more real. I think she’s singing ‘Many Rivers To Cross’ by Jimmy Cliff. She’s great, as usual.

And then we get Celine Dion! I think she sings a little better than you, no? People think I’m skinny. Celine Dion is like me skinny stretched another 8 inches. Wow, she’s skinny. Jimmy Kimmel then introduces Simon Cowell. There are many comments about Simon’s shirt and his nipples the size of pepper mills. It’s a Simon roast. But before Simon speaks, we see his film about the uninsured in America. He travels with the Children’s Health Fund to homeless people who need medical care. One family he visits has numerous health problems, in addition to being homeless. You wonder if Simon’s thinking: “Why doesn’t America have nationalized health care?” He then gives it back to Jimmy Kimmel by saying Simon loves Jay Leno. Simon then introduces Carrie Underwood.

Carrie Underwood is singing ‘Praying For Time’ by George Michael. Makes Kathy think they should do a George Michael theme night. They won’t, though. He smokes a lot of pot and doesn’t really apologize for it. Except when judges make him.

Then, after a bit by Ellen, we get Gloria Estefan singing ‘Get On Your Feet.’ She has to introduce Sheila E, who I’m more excited about seeing. I know Ms. Estefan is a survivor and all, but I never got into her. Sheila E, however, is awesome. She better bust into a drum solo. Ah, yes, she does. I can’t tell if she meant to knock over her cymbals or not. Either way, awesome.

Sarah Silverman was so excited she almost made it happen. She might do it tomorrow. She has to do a serious bit about malaria. Surprisingly, I actually believed her in the serious bit. I didn’t think I would. The film, presented by Forest Whitaker, is heartbreaking. Mosquito nets are cheap — $10 per net. The pills are even cheaper.

Then we have to cut back to the fun, and the Idols are on stage answering the phones in front of a live audience. How boring does that have to be? I hope it’s mostly family — they’re the only ones who should be watching their kids answer a phone. Ryan takes the phone away from Carly Smithson and Brooke White. Apparently at this point Idol Gives Back has raised $22 million.

Back from the break and it’s Reese Witherspoon. She wanted to spotlight The Children’s Defense Fund and the work they’ve been doing in New Orleans. This film is set to Moby. They interview a woman who’s supporting her kids and some extended family on minimum wage. Her daughter is going to a program called Freedom School. She’s learning how to think for herself and become a leader. I hope it works for her.

Yay! Crappy group number with harmonies that will never be hit! They’re singing ‘Seasons Of Love’ from Rent. It’s a great song. I was too old when I saw the show. I kept thinking ‘Get a job, you putz. Boo-hoo that someone wants to pay you for your art.’ Aha! American Idol totally cheats the harmonies by having a gospel choir come in. Problem solved. Now, who’s going to do the belter note? David Archuleta sings of the ‘times she died.’ Um, David, it’s the way she died. You only do that once. They fake the power note by having Syesha Mercado, Michael Johns and David Cook sing it one after the other.

And back to the Kodak we go. Dane Cook introduces Alicia Keys and her journey across Africa. She talks to a grandmother raising her 8 grandchildren because their parents have all died of AIDS. Generally children should be taking care of their grandparents in African culture. They follow the edict of: ‘I’m not raising your babies ’cause I done raised my own, thank you very much.’ If you’re interested in seeing all of Alicia Keys journey, click on the large Idol Gives Back square on this page.

Next we get Miley Cyrus and her bank of backup dancers. We have the shots of little girls going crazy. The Idols could take a lesson from her. She didn’t appear to be a great dancer, but she could hit a couple of moves with the backup dancers, so she didn’t look awkward. And then she did some ‘sexy’ moves that seemed completely age-inappropriate. Miley introduces a film she made with dad Billy Ray in Kentucky. I’ve got a good friend who lived in Appalachian Kentucky. The focus on their film is an after-school program designed to get the kids in the area more literate and capable than their financial situation may allow. Reading’s definitely a start to see a larger world. Seeing a larger world is the first step to thinking you can be something other than what you see around you.

Robin Williams is then introduced as the next Russian Idol, Ivan Yakinov. He mentions hot Russian shows like So You Think You Can Drink. He does other stereotypical Russian jokes that are funny because it’s Robin Williams. Of course, he has to sing his ‘winning’ song, ‘My Way’ in Russian and get critiqued. Randy calls it pitchy, Paula loves his shirt, and Simon thinks it was brilliant. Robin says he loves Simon in a Brokeback way, and then goes in for the butt grab.

Rob Schneider then mentions that Bono only has half the money needed to fix everything in Africa, so donations are still needed. And Rob could use some coin as well. Then back from commercial it’s Tyra! She’s fierce.

Good lord, it’s David Spade. He’s talking about rebuilding New Orleans. Briefly, then he says Brad Pitt, and he gets out of the way for the film to start. The focus is the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie community that’s being planed. The building plans are way cool & green. The bulk of the film is interviews with folks who are displaced from New Orleans who want to come home. Then Brad Pitt is there! Live! Squeal! His mike doesn’t work! The tech just wanted a reason to touch him. He’s there to introduce Daughtry and their trip to Africa. Does anyone think of Daughtry as a band? I mean, really. It’s Christopher Lowell’s band. I mean Chris Daughtry. He’s singing, presumably in Africa and he’s not doing a Ricky Gervais PSA. Daughtry is just singing. He’s not really talking in Africa. I’m also noticing that one of his band members looks a lot like Michael Johns. At least from a distance.

Mariah Carey finally graces the Idol stage, with Randy on bass. She’s singing ‘Fly Like a Bird.’ It’s way boring. She gets the gospel choir treatment and unleashes the pipes to make it less boring and more high-pitched squealing that signals a Mariah Carey song. I don’t know why this is better than ‘Little Sparrow,’ I really don’t. They both have a bird focus. I’d way rather hear Dolly Parton talk than Mariah Carey.

Ryan closes out the show and encourages you and me and everyone to donate. We’re left with a final cheesy group number. All the Idols are in white to sing ‘Shout To The Lord.’ I hear that freakin’ song every time I see the commercial for ‘Now That’s What I Call Christian Music’ volume 35. Or whatever the CD is called. The Idols step-touch bravely, undoubtedly grateful that more movement wasn’t required of them. Wisely, they give the big notes to Carly. But we’re not done! We have a fake ending with Ben Stiller. He got left out this year, poor guy.

So that’s it. If you want to give, head on over to Idol Gives Back. I’ve also included links to the organizations they give to, so if you want to donate to one group in particular, just follow the link and give. Oh, yeah, and if you want some American Idol stamps, get some stamps here. Thankfully tomorrow we’re back to American Idol the way we like it — crushing dreams and sending kids home.