There wasn’t a dry eye in the Disney Hall of Music last night when American Idol turned their spotlight on extreme poverty. Bleeding heart celebs including Bono, Ben Stiller, and Gwyneth Paltrow made appearances on the show in an effort to raise money for poverty stricken areas in both Africa and America.
Between montages of Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest in Africa, and jaw dropping performances by Annie Lennox, Kelly Clarkson, and the African Children’s Choir, the modern day telethon was a huge success. Idol Gives Back is sure to raise $50 million plus for extreme poverty. The number of course, is incredible, but I also applaud the show for getting these issues to the masses in a way only pop media can.
Ellen Degeneres, who co-hosted the event, did an incredible job getting Americans to dig deep into their pockets. The comedian was visibly emotional throughout the evening and ended up donating $100,000 out of her own pocket!
At the after party, the recently voted off Sanjaya and I chatted about celebrity influence. Says Sanjaya, “I think it’s ridiculous when people of power don’t give back.” In the future he hopes to raise awareness on poverty issues in India and China. On going green, Sanjaya mentioned that he was looking into getting a hybrid, but his busy life has left him little chance to get a drivers license… the kid completely won my heart when he told me, “It makes me cry when people cut down trees.”