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Sally's Idol Gives Back Review

I know, I know, this can be a long and tedious night for some, 
but I actually look forward to a night which pushes us out of our comfort zones
- and gives us a glimpse of the way some 'others' live around the world - with entertainment! 
That being said:


The NIGHT starts out with a special video by the Obama's. With $140 million raised already, 
they give their thanks and encouragement to all. The President does a, 'Randy Jackson,' telling us, 
"Yo, all my dawgs..." and Michelle is asking Simon to be nice. Good piece to set the tone for the evening.

The show will be live from two locations, the Idol studio (with Ryan) and the Pasadena Civic Auditorium 
(both in CA) where Queen Latifah is hosting.

The special performances begin on the main stage. The Top 12 are on hand to sing, “Keeping the Dream Alive.” 
They are all dressed in white, and Crystal is a knockout - Didi is wearing what looks like a wedding gown. 
Casey is looking like a Greek God in his shining white suit - with hints of gold flecks dazzling off of him - and 
there's Haeley and Lilly - I don't remember the others, save the few who were recent drops... The song is meh, 
but the kids look great!

Here's the first special charity report, courtesy of, 'Save the Children' and Jennifer Garner, who visited 
Breathitt County in West Virginia. A whopping 45 percent of children there grow up in poverty, with barely 
one book for every 300 kids. Their mission is books and literacy - both equally important to me. 
Wonder if Jamie Oliver peeked in?? (Jamie is doing the food show from WV, BTW)

Continuing with, 'Save the Children,' Victoria Beckham spent three days in Kentucky, with her son, for the charity. 
Six thousand new books were handed out, along with healthy food and nutritional help. All right!

Next up is a quick plead for donations by Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. He and his crew saved 
over 150 lives last year, and he tells us, "Your donations can save even more." Seriously, that guy is so cool.

Jonah Hill and Russell Brand show off their supposed celebrity phone bank - not funny, but tolerable for 2-minutes.

Cut away to Pasadena where Queen Latifah introduces, "The Blacked Eyed Peas" performing, “Rock That Body.”  
I like the robotic backup dancers. And Fergie has ... tall skank boots. Not terribly inspiring though, I must say.

Ryan shows us a video of a trip he made to a Kenyan malaria clinic. Of all of the world's malaria cases, 
90 percent are in Africa, and a child dies of it every thirty seconds there - the point being, that a $10 bed net 
can save a life. Are you opening your wallet now, or what?? Just do it!

Apparently, there was an auction for the chance to host. The winner was a Mr. George Lopez (groan). 
George has the remaining Idol's stand up. He says they're all amazing, and because it's, “Idol Gives Back” night, 
they can sit down and he's going to judge the judges. Andrew is seen laughing in the audience. George has the lights 
dimmed again, slams each of the judges, and then declares them all safe as well. It's 'filler' quality...

Here comes the Ford video. Cheesy, but of course - what did we expect?

Finally we get to the, 'elimination's!' Uh oh, it's Casey and Aaron in the 'bottom 3!' Who will join them?


Now for the show-stopper of the night (for me at least):  "I Put a Spell on You" by Jeff Beck & Joss Stone, 
which has Stone's smoky voice at the forefront, highlighted by Beck's bluesy and increasingly intense guitar work. 
This is a classic song, and the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame guitarist and current soul superstar kick butt with it. 
They were backed by a four-piece band and the Jubilation choir, and it rocked the house! The song originated in 1956, 
written by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and has been covered famously by Nina Simone and Creedence Clearwater Revival. 
I think the Stone/Beck version can stand up to any of those, period!

Now it's various celebrities (and Justin Bieber) ha ha  talking about gifts from their mothers. Some children's mothers, 
especially those in Africa, die in childbirth. IGB is funding programs to help prevent this - very cool.
Wow.  Here's UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for the United Nations Foundation. 
Do you want to help the fight against climate change? Give the dough - save the trees! 'Nuff said!
Damn, it's Morgan Freeman, the coolest voice in the world. He tells us he received a great education in Mississippi, 
but today, the education in this country has the kids in America falling behind the rest of the world. (Word!) 
He and Randy traveled to Mississippi for, 'Save the Children' to a town once thriving before Jim Crow laws 
sent it spiraling into poverty. Sad, sad, sad. Donate!
This week's mentor, Alicia Keys, is also the cofounder of, 'Keep a Child Alive.' She talks briefly with Ryan 
about her charity and then performs, "Unthinkable" and "Empire State of Mind." Ya gotta love Alicia, huh?
Josh Groban plea - short but sweet!

Back to Jonah and Russell in their fake, 'Phone Bank.' Ugh. Apparently, now they have their celebrity 'look-a-likes', 
such as Woody Allen, Marilyn Monroe, two Tom Cruises, and Justin Bieber's cousin. Then a guy who looks like Slash
... because he is Slash. And there's Clay Aiken ... or Tatiana Del Toro, close enough. And the Octomom with 3 of her 
older kids (WTF?). Oh, there's Jim Carrey, for real - who runs away. The real Jim Carrey shows up. This is just beyond stupid!!

 It's time for a, "Change" by Carrie Underwood. 
I still stand by my opinion that, as a contestant, Carrie was incredibly overrated. 
As a professional artist, however, I have to say she has been groomed. 
Carrie tells us that 36 cents of every ticket sold for her concerts will be donated. 
Gee, that much for a $50 (and up) ticket? Sounds cheap to me...

I like Carrie but I'm forced to agree.
That sounded so bad, it would've been better to say "a portion of your ticket money..."
Ellen joins Ryan on stage for a clip for, 'Feeding America' with David Arquette. They journeyed to Monrovia, California, 
where 4000 families need the food bank pantries provided by Feeding America. Over thirty-seven million Americans need 
food banks to feed themselves and their families this year alone!  Ellen meets a nice working family who has been forced to 
use a food pantry. They never thought they'd need to use a food bank. They look embarrassed to be on camera... 
Ryan's voice-over tells us a $10 donation to Feeding America will buy 90 pounds of food. Boy, I'd love to know where they shop... 
I'd say this is a worthy cause - it MIGHT just be helping out YOUR neighbor, you know??

Teabaggers won't give a dime because Idol used a Hispanic (probably) family as their example.
Wouldn't it have been smarter to get an All-American family with a name like Wilson, Johnson or Smith?

Elliott Yamin is in the house with Sister Dominga, the nun who is building a new dorm in Africa. Now they are showing 
another clip from Kara's trip to Africa.  Touching.  VO tells us many children in Africa dream of becoming doctors, 
teachers, lawyers, nurses, and athletes. Many don't get that chance because of malaria. 

Please donate $10 buys netting for the kids. GIVE, dammit!

Ryan gets to interview Bill and Melinda Gates about the push to save children's lives through their Foundation. 
Melinda says it would be unthinkable not to save a neighbor's life for $10. 
As the 'Palininator' would say, "You betcha!" Yeah, Bill and Melinda!

Okay! Here's Wanda Sykes. She does her "American Idol Loser" skit - which is funny on UTube, but somehow sorta cruel
for the contestants waiting to be dumped (which is why I LOVE it)! Wanda likes American Idol because it keeps the meanness! 
The loser has to sing and then the person is forced to watch a video of “happier times before all your dreams were crushed!” 
She mentions the, "Big Mike" save. “Who's gonna tell that big brother he's going home!” Everyone laughs, especially Mike...

As Idol prepares to run long (of course), Ryan tells us the last of the danger stools must be filled. But first... 

Time for David Cook's trip to Ethiopia. David is representing the, 'UN Foundation.' They are supporting a school that was set up 
to help some of the girls escaping early marriage (brides as young as 5) and the relentless poverty in the countryside. David sings to 
some of the kids and has even taught them to do the hand-waving. Very cute. These are gorgeous-looking people I must say.

Moving on, here's a touching piece with Annie Lennox.  Annie can't perform in CA because she is stranded in London 
due to the volcanic ash. In the first clip we see Annie with a seven-year-old girl who weighs as much as a baby, and has AIDS 
(she was born with HIV) and is now terribly ill - probably dying.  SO sad. The kid is so malnourished - skin and bones. 
Fast-forward to a follow-up video, and we see how medical care has changed the little girl's life. She now looks chubby 
and is smiling. Yeah! Annie is singing “Universal Child," thanks to a video made in London. 

Come on, this alone is worth a few bucks, wouldn't you say??

Winding down, here's Mary J. Blige and her, "All Star Band" consisting of Orianthi, (Michael Jackson's guitar player) 
Travis Barker, Randy Jackson (and others whose names I didn't catch). They're performing their arrangement of
"Stairway to Heaven."  It's ... better than I expected...

Stairway to Heaven is a great song, but a bad choice for anyone to try to pull off.

Uh oh, now it's Simon Cowell's turn. He heads to Douglas, Arizona, one of the poorest rural areas in the country. 
Simon meets Dr. Jon who is helping many children whose families can't afford doctors in the rural areas. Simon looks 
uncomfortable, but he does get through the piece, and is actually nice the children! Michelle must have scared him...

We learn that $15 million dollars have been raised so far in this episode. Sweet!

This is it! We meet, Sir Elton John, who has made it his mission to stop AIDS in the world. The rate of HIV infection 
has risen in the country, so protection has never been more important he tells us in an emotional plea. But let's face it, 
what we really want to hear from Elton is, "Your Song." After his amazing performance (his voice has more depth than 
it did when he was younger and the words seem to have more meaning for him) the Pasadena portion of the episode is over.

(On a personal note, it's sad to see how much Sir Elton and Annie Lennox have aged...)

Finally, the third of the bottom 3 contestants is (drum roll please) Tim Urban. And, at long last, the Teflon man with 
the shiny teeth is finally gone. His funeral video is the cheesiest ever, which is a perfect fit. Tim doesn't even get the 
time to sing us out, which is a good thing.

And so, hopefully many people got out their wallets and made the Idol gives Back a success!

In case you missed it, here is their link and info to give:   Official Site for Videos, Photos, Community - American Idol

Next week, Shania Twain is mentor - C&W theme? Oh, joy.

Till next time,
 Sally P :)

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