Note and warning: Tonight's show was taped yesterday. Spoilers of everything you need to know about it -- song choices, song order, what they wore and judge critiques -- appear at the bottom of this entry with another warning preceding it in case you'd rather be surprised tonight.
Thank goodness it's finally here. Let's get through these two nights of Idol's pledge drive to benefit relief programs for children and young people in extreme poverty in the United States and Africa, hope they make tons of money, then we can stop being pummeled by the producer's incessant promos for its Big Event and get back to regular show. (Except, off course, soon we will begin getting pummeled for promos about the finale show, but that's OK).
A few things about tomorrow night's Circus Maximus have been leaked by both Fox and other sources. From the official Fox press releases:
U2’s Bono will participate on Wednesday's show, meeting with the finalists to talk about the work of ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History and how Idol's audience can help. The contestants also will perform "American Prayer," a song written by Bono and Dave Stewart about the AIDS emergency in Africa.
Ellen DeGeneres will host tomorrow night's segments from the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Participants includes Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Earth, Wind & Fire, Il Divo, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Josh Groban with the African Children’s Choir, Jack Black, Helen Mirren, Rascal Flatts, Quincy Jones, Carrie Underwood, Annie Lennox and many more.
On tonight's show, the Top 6 finalists will sing "life anthem" songs of compassion and hope. After the show, viewers will vote as usual and corporate sponsors will donate money to the charity.
The special two-hour Wednesday results show features live performances from the Idol stage as well as Walt Disney Concert Hall. Viewers will be able to donate via toll-free pledge lines and the Internet. Ford will produce a special music video to air on Wednesday. This video, as well as other music segments from the night, will be available for download after the show.
All proceeds will go to Charity Projects Entertainment Fund (CPEF), a new charitable organization whose mission is to use the power of entertainment to drive positive change and create a just world free from poverty. In the United States, CPEF has selected Save the Children, America's Second Harvest – The Nation's Food Bank Network, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Children's Health Fund as beneficiaries. In Africa, funds will be dedicated to The Global Fund, Malaria No More, Nothing But Nets, Save the Children and The U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Donate online NOW!
TMZ.com has leaked that the "A.I." tease for "Idol Gives Back" of "two of the biggest stars in musical history come together," is actually Celine Dion singing Elvis Presley's hit "If I Can Dream" with an Elvis impersonator (at least that is what has already been pretaped). But, the site says, they're told the impersonator was just used as a stand-in, and what viewers will actually see when the show airs is Dion singing with a virtual Elvis, kinda like Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" video. At the taping, the Top 6 also sang with Celine and Elvis, but as backup in the choir.
Of course, what would any major event be without celebrity naysayers? Here's what caustic comic cynic Kathy Griffin had to say about Idol Gives back in Newsday:
"Give me a break. Ryan Seacrest discovered poverty in Africa. ... They should make donations retroactive to the first season," she said. " 'Idol' should have given back $10 million," based on all the money producers and sponsors have made from the show, she added.
Sanjaya Malakar is travelling a lot these days. Last night, he appeared on Letterman to give the Top 10 "Things I Learned from "American Idol":
10. The camera adds 10 pounds to your mohawk.
9. Work hard and make sacrifices, you can finish in 7th place.
8. It's very important to "Keep it real, dawg."
7. I should have gone for the immunity idol - oh wait, that's "Survivor."
6. On-camera Simon is a bit nasty, but off-camera, he's a total jerk.
5. Voting for yourself 100 times an hour causes some wicked carpal tunnel.
4. When you forget the words, just do this. (Sanjaya belts out a riff like"Ohhhhhhhh")
3. Honestly, I thought I was auditioning for "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"
1. America loves performers with bad hair - right, Dave?
Or, watch it here:
PARIS' PEACE OFFERING
Remember Paris Bennett's recent "Idol" dis, immediately followed by her promotional turn for McDonald's Happy Meals Idol toys? It seems that Princess P has sent a missive to her myspace friends apologizing for her recent comments about American Idol:
"Hey guys I know this week yo’ve all heard some not so nice things about me... I just want to say I give my up most respect and honors to American Idol... without them I wouldnt have met you all and you all would have never known me.... Im not a mean person by any means....Im grateful for each and everything i get and every new opportunity I get I thank American Idol cause thats why that opportunity flowed my way...!! As for all the sanjaya fans I have lots of respect for him he reminds me of myself with the hair changes etc.... i never meant to come off like I hated him cause thats not what kind of person I am.... What I’ve learned from this week is that your words may mean one thing to me and another to other people....! I truely apologize....Love Always,Paris Bennett aka Princess P “You’ve Officially Beeen Princessed” "
Whatevuh, your highness
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! IDOL SPOILERS FOR TONIGHT'S SHOW
Tonight's show was taped yesterday. Here is everything you need to know about it -- song choices, song order, what they wore and judge critiques -- as reported by accounts on the Web sites Fans of Reality TV (the dress rehearsal) and Idol Forums. Do not read any further if you want to be surprised.
The show features clips from Africa and America interspersed with the Top 6 performances. Each contestant will have two phone lines tonight, open for 4 hours instead of the normal 2.
Song choices, performance order, critiques (from a poster who allegedly attended the taping):
Chris Richardson (wearing a tie and jacket, phone numbers 1 & 7): "If I Could Change The World" by Eric Clapton. All three judges liked his performance. Randy said Chris started off the show great. Paula thought it was one of his best. Simon said it wasn’t nasally, it was a great song choice and he’s finally living up to the potential they saw in his first audition.
Melinda Doolittle (wearing a gray dress, phone numbers 2 & 8): "There Will Come a Day" by Faith Hill. All the judges loved her. Randy said Melinda showed everyone how it’s done. Simon said she made it completely her own -- a master-class performance.
Blake Lewis (wearing a purple shirt and jacket, phone numbers 3 & 9): "Imagine" by John Lennon. Randy thought it was a little boring -- blah blah about being compared to the original. Paula felt his performance was quiet, sincere. Simon liked the vocal and thought it was more about the sincerity than the vocal.
LaKisha Jones (wearing a black strapless dress, phone numbers 4 & 10): "I Believe" (Season 3 coronation song). The judges "slammed" her. Simon thinks she shout-sings. The judges preferred Fantasia’s version from Season 3. (two separate accounts say that the audience loved her and that she sounded great).
Phil Stacey (wearing a blue shirt and jacket, phone numbers 5 & 11): "The Change" by Garth Brooks. Randy and Paula thought he was great. Simon liked it but told him to continue going for the country-style songs.
Jordin Sparks (wearing a beige dress, phone numbers 6 & 12): "You'll Never Walk Alone," from the musical "Carousel" and famously sung by Jerry Lewis during the Muscular Dystrophy telethons. Randy told her tonight it was the best vocal by any Idol on any season. Simon joked that “Unlike Randy, I liked you tonight Jordin.” Paula liked her too.
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