The big announcement on American Idol last night had been built up for a few episodes by Ryan Seacrest. I was skeptical as to the impact such an announcement would make, assuming it would be of the "twist" variety or the appearance of a big-name guest singer. However, Idol surprised me with the announcement of American Idol Gives Back, because this actually may turn out to be a big deal.
American Idol, being the galactic super power that it is, has the clout needed to make a positive impact in the world if it so chooses. And it looks like this is exactly what it sets out to do. On the upcoming Top 6 performance show, American Idol will set out to raise millions of dollars to help quell poverty in Africa and here in the United States. The details are still somewhat vague, but this is what we learned from Ryan Seacrest last night.
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- For every vote cast after that show, a number of sponsors will be donating an undisclosed sum to the relief effort.
- Voters themselves will also be given the opportunity to make their own donations.
- It won't just be the big sponsors, but American Idol itself will make some donations.
- That night will boast some big guest appearances, including Pink, Gwen Stefani and Bono, although it is unclear whether Bono will be performing or just appearing.
- We will also "hear from Africa". It's also not clear what this means, but it seems like this is where Bono will be involved, and I'm guessing we'll be getting a live feed from somewhere in Africa.
The awareness of the extreme poverty and widespread atrocities on the African continent seems to have increased significantly in the last few years. Say what you will about Bono, but he is using all the pull he has to do as much good as he possibly can. American Idol, at this point, almost has a responsibility to do some good in the world. It's not all that often a show achieves such a universally popular state, and the platform the show can utilize is not something to be taken lightly. If American Idol can change the world for the better, then all this media saturation and all these Simon Cowell insults and abominable auditions will have been completely worth the trouble. I hope this all works out.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer