American Idol 7: Idol Gives Back, Live Thoughts
American Idol's Idol Gives Back charity event is a great thing.  When a media empire like American Idol comes into being, they have a responsibility to use their power for good, and that's exactly what they do with Idol Gives Back.  No matter what qualms you may have with the Idol brand, you can't argue with the $76 million they made for charity last year.  The second edition of Idol Gives Back is up tonight and will bring us two and a half hours of star-studded entertainment, as well as show us where our donated money will go.  I'll be here throughout the night, blogging along with the action.  If you're going to read along, feel free to comment below. 

Also, if you wish to donate money to Idol Gives Back, Click Here

Seacrest!  He introduces the show.  Tonight is all about giving, people.  That's his basic intro.

Sweet.  The show starts with a dance-off featuring the stars of last season's So You Think You Can Dance.  They only get a few seconds each on front of the stage.  Ohp, there's more dancing and I wish they'd do this for every American Idol group song.  The song the Top 8 Idols sing here is I think called" Please Don't Stop the Music" but I'm not sure.  That was only cool because of the dancing. 

Ha...Ryan dances off the stage and it's like totally awkward.

Jimmy Johnson, famed NASCAR driver (he professionally drives in circles) gives the first celebrity pitch of the night.

George Lopez speaks to the Spanish speaking audience, giving his pitch in front of the phone numbers. 

Next, Kylie Minogue gives her pitch.  Fun fact: Kylie is only four feet tall.

First Lady of California Maria Shriver comes out to speak to the audience.  She gives an impassioned speech, she quotes Ghandi.  She brings over a hundred youth volunteers up on stage.  She's pleading the audience to give their time for volunteering. 

Ben Stiller is next.  He says that he recorded a cover album of only Whitney Houston for Idol Gives Back, but it ended up costing Idol Gives Back 3.2 million.  Pretty funny.  But then he's gone. 

Next, is a cool little short film featuring Jennifer Connolly.  It shows what women in Africa have to go through to get water every day and what the water looks like.  I like Jennifer Connolly.  Remember Labyrinth?  Yeah, that movie was awesome when I was 10. 

Snoop Dogg and Charlie Wilson and Snoop's football team come out to perform.  Charlie isn't looking too bad these days.  Not a bad song, Snoop's still a cool dude.

Before the commercial, Kobe Bryant gives a pitch.  Hey, Kobe, remember when you bought your wife a multi-million dollar piece of jewelry after you cheated on her with that girl in Colorado?  Maybe that money could have gone to charity.  (I'm sorry, maybe Kobe does give money to charity, but I don't like him.)

Triple H, wrestler, gives a pitch.

Paula and Randy hit the stage.  They want to bring awareness to something called Save the Children.  There's a big problem with poverty and with child obesity.  They went to Goshen, California, just a couple hours from LA.  Streets aren't safe and the per capita income is only $9,000.  Sad stuff.

Silly Desperate Housewives thing: James Denton shows Carrie Underwood how to fix a sink.  Teri Hatcher coems in and is all like, "If you're going to steal my man, I'm going to steal your song."  So, Teri Hatcher comes out on stage and sings "Before He Cheats."  Yes, Teri Hatcher is taking up five minutes of this show to SING.  She's not awful (well, she is), but she's actually trying and singing out of tune a lot in the process.  Did she demand a song for her appearance.  That was weird.

Anyway, Carrie Underwood comes on stage, but doesn't sing.  SHe'll probably sing later.

Holy crap!  Mary Murphy makes her pitch and does her patented scream.  Like 10 times.  I want to jump on a pike right now. 

OMG OMG OMG!!!  The Jonas Brothers make their pitch. 

Billy Crystal comes out on stage and does some schtick.   Miley Cyrus joins Billy on stage.  The fans go wild.  This is the first time I've ever seen Miley Cyrus say or do anything.  They do a "Billy Crystal is old and Miley Cyrus is young and successful" bit.  This bit goes on forever, and it ends with Miley singing a song.  She doesn't seem to unlikable.  Not a very good song, though. 

The Idol singers are taking calls on the stage and they all have Macs.  First update of the night - with the sponsors, they've already made $15 million.

Next, we get a video of Bono in Africa in an AIDS-inflicted village.  He talks to a young girl, with no parents and no electricity, who has AIDS.  He features a woman who has devoted her life to caring for children with AIDS.  Three of her children died of AIDS. 

Julianne Moore reads off a cue card and gives her pitch.

Fergie and John Legend perform.  This probably means that they cut John Legend's own song, which is a travesty.  Fergie is not a very good singer who sings not very good songs.  It's insane how famous she is.  And then Fergie introduces Heart and they play "Barracuda"...with Fergie.  I can only think about Guitar Hero 3 when I hear this song these days.  This is a weird performance.  Fergie does some writhing on the ground and a couple of cartwheels (WTF).

Adam Sandler makes a brief appearance to give his pitch. 

Eli and Peyton Manning take the stage.  They introduce a segment about the ongoing tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. 

David and Victoria Beckham make their pitch with their silly English accents. 

Update: 18 million dollars made so far.

Back to Bono in Africa.

Then, we go to Annie Lennox in Tanzania.  She talks to a group of brothers whose parents have died from AIDS.  She takes the brothers to a hospital for an HIV test.  They are all HIV negative.  It's sad stuff, and after wards Annie performs Jimmy Cliff's classic song "Many Rivers to Cross."  Damn, this is a great song.  It's getting dusty in a lot of living rooms across America right now. 

Kiefer Sutherland makes a very sober pitch.

Celine Dion and her ridiculous French-Canadian accent makes a pitch from South Africa. 

Jimmy Kimmel comes on stage and he's there to introduce to Simon Cowell.  He makes fun of Simon for a while.  He mostly talks about Simon's nipples.  We segue into an on-location piece with Simon about the lack of proper health care for millions of people in America.

After the piece, Simon introduces Carrie Underwood, who sings a song I don't recognize.  She looks great, though.  She's not a bad singer either.

Ellen Degeneres gives her pitch.  She does her thing. 

Gloria Estefan performs with Sheila E. in a performance that would've been relevant 18 years go.  But, an A for effort.

Sarah Silverman hits the stage next and calls Estefan's performance was pitchy in places.  She also wasn't impressed by the song choice.  She introduces a segment from Forest Whitaker.  He's in Africa showing the horrors of Malaria.  Tough stuff to watch.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown makes a taped announcement.  Britain is paying for $200 million for mosquito nets for African families.  That means 20 million nets. 

22 million dollars pledged so far.

Reese Witherspoon hits the stage.  She talks about the Children's Defense Fund, which helps pay for education.  We see a segment from New Orleans with Reese visiting with mothers and their kids. 

The American Idol Top 8 sing "Seasons of Love."  It's not bad.

Dane Cook is on stage and he tells people to go to and download Alicia Keys video journey across Africa.  We see a little preview.  I like Alicia Keys, I'll admit it.

Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale's pointy new nose make a little pitch. 

Next, we get another Miley Cyrus song.  Really?  Two Miley Cyrus songs?  Are you happy, youth of America?

After the song, we get more Miley in the form of a filmed segment from her and her father, the guy who sang "Achy Breaky Heart." 

OK, Seacrest introduces the Russian Idol champion, played by Robin Williams.  He sports a terrible Russian accent, aped from Borat most likely.  It goes on for a long time.

David Spade is on stage now.  He was available.  He introduces Brad Pitt - we see video of Brad in New Orleans.  The charity Make it Right is building a ton of new homes for some of the 200,000 still displaced families.  After the video, Brad Pitt hits the stage.  He introduces a clip of Daughtry's trip to Uganda.

We're already over time at this point, so adjust your DVR accordingly.  Mariah Carey is performing "Fly Like a Bird" with Randy Jackson on bass. 

The show ends with the Top 8 singing another song, this time wearing their all white cult outfits.

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)