American Idol 9 Finals: Idol Gives Back

Last night, not only did Idol run long (and drive Glee fans nuts), but it kicked off Idol Gives Back week.  Something to keep in mind before the show starts… in past years, there’d be nobody eliminated on the Idol Gives Back show, and that fact usually wasn’t announced until IGB itself.  So… we may be on our way to another double-elimination week next week.

But first… it’s two hours of Idol finalists and entertainment stars using the Idol brand name to raise money for an assortment of charities… TONIGHT!?

Disclaimer and attempted-seriousness section

I’m not going to attempt to recap video packages – honestly, you have to see these for yourself.  There will be gentle (and occasionally not-so-gentle) mocking… I can’t help myself.

You can call 1.877.IDOL.AID, text IDOL to 20222 to donate $10, or visit the American Idol website to help the charities under the Idol Gives Back umbrella.

Or, you can help Vote For The Worst’s annual American Cancer Society fundraiser on their site at VFTW.

Or give locally.  I know a lot of us aren’t doing so well (trust me, I know)… but there are even more folks worse off than we are.   There’s always someone who can use some help.  You can’t help them all, but you can consider helping one.

Wow… we start tonight with President and Mrs. Obama.  This *is* serious business. 🙂

From Hollywood and Pasadena… THIS… is American Idol! *cue the music*

This must be an important night… Simon wore a button-down shirt *and* a jacket… and Ryan pimped all of the corporate sponsors before passing the baton to Queen Latifah at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium for the entertainment portion of the show… the first of many back-and-forth transitions tonight… and Ryan swears someone will go home… leading into a Very Special Group Lip-Sync featuring all of this season’s Top 12.

OK, seriously serious business — the first IGB update is from Jennifer Garner, looking at homegrown poverty.

Up next, season 9 guest judge Victoria Beckham is in to talk about literacy programs along with a couple of kids helped by IGB-supported programs.

Oh, look… Queen Latifah has a movie coming out in a couple of weeks… here’s an ad for it… and she’s hosting from Pasadena.  This HAS to be a coincidence.

Ah, THIS is why Captain “Sully” Sullenberger was in the studio last night… he was taping a donation request spot for tonight…

…leading into this alleged comedy segment (with the pointless Jonah Hill and Russell Brand) that I am going to pretend I didn’t see (something about a non-existent celebrity phone bank)…

…from here, we go to the blindingly-white-clad Top Seven on the couches… maybe there will actually be real results…?

Nope… we cut to Pasadena and the Black Eyed Peas… and the inspirational “Rock Your Body”. 

Cut to a disturbing IGB update about “Malaria No More” (not coincidentally, there’s a push on for World Malaria Day this Sunday – if you’d like more information, go to their website)…

Back to Hollywood… and back to the results portion of our show, we think… the claim is that Idol “auctioned” off the right to host the results… and the “auction” was won by… TBS late-night host George Lopez.

Lopez dims the lights (after a couple of “missteps” – total darkness, blinding light, and disco lights)… and here we go…

George has the finalists stand up… and then sit down and relax.  Why?  He’s going to judge the judges instead.

  • Randy is safe, despite his abuse of “pitchy” and “dawg” (to the point where the Dog Whisperer wants him to stop).
  • Kara gets abused for her repetitive, pointless critiques… after which George notes that “Karla” is safe, but the cute boys on the show aren’t.
  • Ellen gets hers for being the Kourtney Kardashian of the judges panel… before being declared safe.
  • Simon gets dinged for his tight t-shirts (“people can tell how cold it is in the studio”)… and America has voted… Simon has to go back to England… but because of the volcanic ash/travel mess… Simon is safe.

Ryan thanks “Erik Estrada” for helping out before we sink even lower with the Officially Pointless Ford Music Video.

OK… for the THIRD time… we go to the couches.  Dim the lights, here we go…

  • Crystal and Casey are called to center stage.  Neither has been in the bottom three before tonight.  But one of them is now, and it’s Casey going to the Bottom ThreeCrystal is safe.
  • Aaron and Lee get their critiques next.  Lee is safe.  Aaron joins Casey in the Bottom Three.

The third seat in the Bottom Three will wait a while… as we cut to Pasadena for Jeff Beck and Joss Stone with “I Put A Spell On You”…

…into another IGB video focusing on the horrifying death-in-childbirth rate in Africa.

…back from the break, and a appearance from United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Yi Moon.  Man, the political star power is out in force tonight…

…and so is the star power.  It’s Morgan F’n Freeman!  His cause is improving America’s public school system through “Save The Children”.  Related video follows.

Up next, this week’s inspirational mentor Alicia Keys with “Unthinkable” and “Empire State of Mind (Part 2)”.

Carrie Underwood is up after the break.  It occurred to me that, on an as-yet unannounced date in the near future, she’ll legally be Carrie Fisher.  One hopes this isn’t an omen… 🙂

…but first, back to the still-pointless Jonah Hill and Russell Brand (here, it appears, to indirectly shill their pointless summer movie), with more pointless pseudo-comedy… and cameos by Slash, VFTW favorite Tatiana Del Toro (craziness not shown in this picture), and Jim Carrey, all of which were rendered pointless because this segment will be fast-forwarded by just about everyone…

…fortunately, we’re off to Pasadena for the Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year, Carrie Underwood, with “Change”.  Carrie’s on tour (in Richmond next week) and is donating 36 cents of every ticket sold to “Save The Children”.  Considering her ticket sales on this tour… that’s going to be a ton of money.

We cut to a video about a food bank in SoCal (with David Arquette)… there’s a food bank in your town, you can always drop off non-perishable food if you happen to have some…

…next, it’s Elliot Yamin with the nun who runs an Angolan orphanage…

It’s 9:20pm Eastern, and Ryan just gave the official warning that the show is running long.  This may be the least-surprising moment of the night… week… month…

Did you know that malaria kills one African child every 30 seconds?  IGB wants to bring malaria nets to every child it can.  Donation info is at the top of this ever-lengthening post…

We’re back with the contestants (on-camera only), but first a quick trip to visit Bill and Melinda Gates, as their foundation comes on board with IGB. 

Shifting gears, again, now it’s Wanda Sykes, bringing her brand of comedy (which, coincidentally, is seen on Saturday nights on FOX) to IGB.  She’s mocking how Idol sends off their losers, with the “here’s when you were happy” montage and the “show America why they didn’t vote for you” final song.  You just know VFTW is sending the love… 🙂

OK, let’s try to get back to the results… in case you’ve forgotten (which we can understand), Crystal and Lee are safe, Aaron and Casey are in the Bottom Three…

  • The remaining three, Michael, Siobhan, and Tim go to center stage…
  • Siobhan is safe.
  • Ryan invokes the memory of last year’s save as a swerve, as Michael is safe, making it longer than last year’s save (Matt Giraud).
  • Tim is in the Bottom Three.

We stay live in Hollywood, with the 7th Idol, David Cook, talking about his IGB trip to Ethiopia.  Video ensues.

Back from break with video narrated by Annie Lennox about Africa’s other major health nightmare, the epidemic of kids born with AIDS.  Annie Lennox couldn’t get to Pasadena (thank you, Icelandic volcano), so Queen Latifah provided the bridge to a second segment updating the health of the one child focused on in the prior video… and a taped performance (from London) of “My Universal Child” by Lennox.

It’s 9:51pm Eastern.  We are still anticipating performances from Sir Elton John in Pasadena and Mary J. Blige in Hollywood… and a finalist has to go home (or we’ll get the semi-expected “IGB Save”).  If you set your DVR to stop at 10:00 Eastern, you’re going to miss stuff.

We’re back in Hollywood with Mary J. Blige and a cast of thousands for “Stairway To Heaven”… Ryan namechecked pretty quickly, but he mentioned Orianthi, Travis Barker, and Randy Jackson as part of the all-star band.

We shot through the 10:00pm Eastern barrier during this performance.  I’ll try to compensate…

Simon’s turn for an IGB video, as he’s off to Arizona to see where donations have gone… they’ve gone to the Children’s Health Fund to fund a pediatrician in an area of Arizona that didn’t have one before.  His segment ends with a tote board of sorts – $15 million in the last 2 hours…

Back from break in Pasadena, with Queen Latifah and Sir Elton John.  Of course, Sir Elton’s cause is AIDS research… which he explains for us.  And he wraps up the Pasadena portion of the show with “Your Song”.

It’s 10:16pm Eastern.  Your DVR gave up in disgust at least 10 minutes ago.  But the show goes on…

The Bottom Three (Tim, Aaron, and Casey, in case you’ve forgotten) are onstage to hear that next week’s mentor and theme are both Shania Twain.  Who won’t have to worry about it?  Dim the lights…

  • Aaron is safe.
  • Casey is safe.  Tim Urban’s inexplicable run is over, as he’s going home tonight.  VFTW’s poll to find a new finalist to back starts… now.

We get Tim’s send-off montage, but because the show is so far over time, Tim will not get the chance to sing.  I’m not sure this is a bad thing.

It’s 10:24pm Eastern… and your delayed late local news is next… we go back to the srs bsns of Idol on Tuesday at 8/7c… for tonight, I’ll end with just one question… what about the children?  OK, seriously… help a worthwhile charity if you can… if you can’t do it now, do it when you can… and let’s hope you never need one.  See you Tuesday.


Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, slightly less occasional improv player/ref/tech, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

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