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On Tuesday night, the sprit of giving was in the air. I breathed it deep into my lungs, voted for LaKisha about fifty times (What? She needed me) and felt really good about myself. I woke up the next day and the positivity had leaked into my personal life so dramatically that by Wednesday night, it was way less fun. I was exhausted from giving. I had tipped the Starbucks guy sixty four cents, the car wash guy a buck. I even resisted throwing my Diet Coke can at a homeless guy’s head when he grabbed my ankle and begged for a sandwich as I left the Subway. I offered him a chip, and he started crying and cursing at me. Whatevs, freak. And you wonder why you’re a crazy homeless dude. Some people just don’t know how to say thank you.
There. I did it. I GAVE. Happy? NO. Tink starts off the show by reminding me that I can call in with donations tonight, I can donate on the internet, by mail, by messenger, by text, by aim. They’ll be sending big white Idol vans into neighborhoods all across America just in case you found some loose change in your couch and didn’t want to waste the postage. The door rings and I’m afraid it’s Nigel coming to make sure I’m not holding out on him. Ah, thank God. It’s just my pizza. I suppose the delivery guy wants a handout too. Ugh. Giving felt good when it was on TV and didn’t cost me anything, but it hurts like Holy Water in the real world. This isn’t church, dammit! This! Is Idol Gives Back!The votes were over 70 million last night, which is pretty amazing. News Corp. donated their five million bucks, which seems kind of anemic after seventy million votes. After all, News Corp. owns American Idol, which means they get all the money to distribute. So aren’t they just getting the money the callers are donating tonight, taking a cut for their efforts, and passing the rest on as their own contribution? Confused? I (News Corp.) called my Dad (the American people) today to ask for fifty bucks to buy my Mom (Africa) a Mother’s day gift. I pocketed thirty of it and bought her a twenty dollar book with the rest. She will be too blinded by her new Sudoku bonanza to even notice my fresh, cute new hoodie from the Gap. I (News Corp.) look like a hero and will clean up at Christmas time, my Dad (the American people) feels like he donated to a worthy cause (sucka), and my Mom (Africa) will be scratching her head trying to figure out where to place a 3 for the next year. Everybody’s happy. Charity’s charity. And Charity’s good any way you slice it. Unless I lose money.
Tink will be running the voting off part of the show on the Idol stage while Ellen Degeneres hosts the Idol Gives Back concert half at the Disney Concert Hall. Tink promises that tonight’s voting results will be the most shocking in Idol History. Ellen’s afraid she’s gonna be sent home. LOL, Ellen. Her patter seems pretty thrown together, and when she announces Earth, Wind and Fire, she turns to the stage like she is gonna watch but the camera stays on her too long and we catch her turning away. As if she’s gonna sit through Earth,Wind and Fire. Not for all the crack babies in South Central. I almost hit FF. You promised me Pink and Gwen, and you give me an Earth, Wind and Fire montage? If Kathy Lee comes out I’m done with this show. This guy made it all worth it.>>>
They did a happy cruise show medley starting with “Boogie Wonderland”. Old guys in glitter and leather lip synching to what sounds like a choir of recorded voices and jumping all over the stage in waaay too tight pants seem a little out of place on relief day. Maybe if they showed Africa footage during the song, it would make more sense. Who says images of people dying of AIDS has to be depressing? Shake your booty, Africa!
The guys proved that they still got it. Whatever it was that they had. As he jumped up and down and ran around the stage like a madman, the crazy glitter shirt guitar playin’ old dude had me laughing the whole time. When this happened, I fell out of my bed and came inches from a lung collapse.
Tink reminds us that our money won’t only be going to Africa. A lot of it will be spent on Americans. Randy goes back home to New Orleans where we are shown a mob of Idol hopefuls crowding into the Super Dome for auditions back in 2005, and all the misplaced Katrina victims who huddled there just one year later.
That poor city isn’t even close to recovering. There are fallen houses all over the place and heaps of junk filling the streets. Randy looks either extremely touched or gassy. You decide. Also, is he wearing a diamond crucifix? I pressed pause a million times and still can’t tell. If so, ew, Randy. Next up is Quincy Jones, who, among many many other things, wrote and produced “We are the World”. He works with the kids to get his newest needy number, “Time to Care”, ready for iTunes. He’s extremely impressed with them, but wow. What a craptacular song. It sounds like he took the soundtrack to the Lion King and beat all the life and melody out of it to make it palatable for the evangelical crowd. I could swear I heard this tune at my parent’s “cool church”. When the remaining six contestants come out dressed like they’re about to start their shift at the Cheesecake Factory, I scrunch my face and shake my fists to the Heavens. Now I have to get takeout from the Cheesecake Factory. I’ll be back.
The girls sound pretty good, although it bugs me that people knock LaKisha for yelling when Spanx is squealing like a pig on the spit most of the time. Nice to see that even on charity day Powder’s pullin’ out the old point and wink. Mmmm. Key Lime. I can’t eat it all, and wish Nigel would flash an address in Africa on the screen I could send the crust to. Will from Will and Grace comes on the screen so Botoxed he can hardly move his eyes enough to read the tele-prompter. He says if everyone who voted for Sanjaya gave just one dollar, it could change the world. Cut to not smiling Sanjy. Way to kick a girl when she’s down, Freeze Face.
David Schwimmer does a pre-recorded, expressionless intro back from the commercial. The producers really are charitable. Where the hell’s that guy been? He looks like he just woke up from a nap. Perk up, David. You’re on TV.
Cut to Ben Stiller via pre-recorded satellite looking pissed off that his agent is making him do this. He does his arrogant ass (Ben Stiller) character and lists all of his movies. Then he threatens to sing “Reminiscing” by the Little River Band until he has raised 20 billion dollars. He slides into a parody of a sad crazy person AI audition and just like his movies, the bit goes on way too long. Still, I chuckle at him just cuz he won’t go away. I can be talked into anything if you nag me hard enough.
The audience laughs kinda and Tink intros more footage from his and Simon’s trip to Africa. Paula and I sigh at the same time. Wait a second, is she drunk tonight? She doesn’t have to say much, so a couple drinks would have been reasonable. Dare I hope? She’s giggling a lot, wearing a ho-y rack platter and that thick ass eyeliner Drunk Paula wears. Has Paula come home?
Sorry. Back to the pain. Tink and Ryan hold auditions for young talent in Africa, and Simon calls one girl fat. She takes it in stride and keeps on singing. Now that’s how to deal with Cowell! They visit a town called Kabira in Kenya, where 1.5 million people live in the same amount of space as Central Park.
The stories in Kabira are heart breaking. Fifty thousand tiny orphans wandering through life alone. Tink and Cowell visit a brother who takes care of his little sister because their parents are dead and there is no one else to step in. Their only relief is school, which costs less than a dollar a day. When Tink calls the kid the hardest working dad in the world and the kid smiles through his tears, I squeeze out a couple fat drips and finish eating my cheesecake crust. Cut to Ben Stiller stomping the life out of his lame bit. The switch between heartfelt tears to hacky bit is too much for me to handle. I scream out at no one in particular and slap myself. Thank God Michael Jackson’s on hand to make sense of it all.
Then, as if it couldn’t get any sadder, the President comes on and performs the hokey pokey.
Forrest Whitaker says hi from Yuganda in that shaky, palsy like way I’d always assumed was “acting”. Hi, Yuganda! Woah. The stars are out tonight! Tink takes a sec to get down to business. He will be announcing results in random order, and starts by telling Doolittle that she’s safe before introducing Paula’s South Central video. She arrives at the Boys and Girls Club wearing so much of her chunky QVC jewelry that she sounds like a glass of iced tea being stirred every time she moves. A little girl tells her about how her single mother has to work three jobs and still can’t pay the bills. Paula waves her ginormous Pope ring in front of her face and the girl starts crying.
Back at the Disney Concert Hall, Ellen stumbles around the English language like only Ellen can, but something’s different tonight. She’s not funny, and I automatically feel for Porta DiRossi. It must be hard to live with unfunny Ellen. Without humor she’s just a stuttering weirdo in a man’s suit. She announces Il Divo singing “Somewhere”, but if it helps, she doesn’t sound proud of it. WOAH. I never grasped until this moment what horseshit Il Divo is. These guys look like an audition line for a Disney Cruise Dinner Show. Why are they together? They don’t compliment each other’s voices and the two that aren’t insufferable, bloated wedding singers look petrified in front of the audience. Creaky, wobbly and off key. Is Cowell still repping these tards? EW.
I am gagging and kicking my feet, but am glad I didn’t press FF, because tonight these jack asses taught us a very important life lesson that could save hundreds of thousands of lives.
When they are done nailing the last nail in West Side Story’s coffin, Dr. Phil appears on the screen with some nonsensical advice about standing tall and not stooping to help children. Seriously. Dr. Phil? Was Harry Hamlin busy? How’s that Dr. Phil Diet Plan going, by the way?
Dr. House’s clip is up next, and he’s really a nice guy! I’m done with that show. Tink notes that “House has an accent.” I never know whether or not Tink is kidding. He says that for the first time ever, AI is gonna bring up someone from the audience and give them a chance to “do something on national tv.” I was hoping for the Bush Baby as the cameras panned the audience. Of course BJ from the Amazing Race is here again this week. How did he gain so much weight in just the seven days since we last saw him?
Hey wait! That’s Jack Black! THANK GOD. He rips through Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” to his best friend Kyle and it’s the most touching thing I’ve seen tonight.
Randy tells him it would have worked better with the stretch pants and Jack reminds him he’s not funny. Paula said the School of Rock called and they want their money back. Woah. Paula’s downright nasty to men she doesn’t want to fuck. Simon said it was better than Sanjaya, and Sanjy practically jumps up and down in her seat laughing. No, Sanj. Seriously. You suck. Jack sticks up for himself, saying if Seal was here, he would dig it. Seal is there! Right next to Randy! Wait a second, was this planned? He and Robot Heidi Klum loved the performance. Tink ushers Jack off stage as he sings Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All”. Oh, Jack Black. You’re such a ham.
Tink tells Blake he’s safe and goes right back to Africa mode. OK, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve watched almost an hour of this damned show and I’ve seen Earth, Wind and Fire and Il Divo. They better have one slammin second hour planned. And back to the pain.
Carrie Underwood went to Africa too. She recorded a soft acoustic version of “I’ll Stand By You” while she was there and I have to admit. I dripped. The girl is wooden as a post, but she can sang. Granted, she had images of dying children to help her out, but I felt more in her song than any from this year’s contestants. I’ve been reading that Carrie just can’t find anyone to date cuz she’s just so busy. Girl, look next to you. You’re traveling with the guys from the husband brochure. If you don’t take one, I will.
Ellen clocks back in over at the Disney Concert Hall and tells us that she had breakfast with Sanjaya and he told her two things: deep condition and donate. Ouch. Seriously, you’ve had like twenty minutes since your last segment. You couldn’t come up with anything?
She introduces Rascal Flats and the first measure of their song induced a coma. When I came to, I had mustard on my face and my dog was hiding in the corner. Tink says that coming up in just two minutes, 36 superstars are going to do a brilliant version of “Stayin’ Alive”. ??? Please tell me that there’s another “Stayin’ Alive” besides the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive”.
First, he goes into the audience to say hello to our first friend on Myspace! Tom! HOLLA! Tink thanks Tom for all his support for Idol Gives Back, and Tom gives the cameras a peace sign. He’s so generous! Nope, he’s owned by News Corp. too. Sorry, Tom. Rupert Murdoch can only own so much of my soul. You are so deleted.
Back to the pain. Paula narrates a Kentucky montage. People work in coal mines, black lung disease runs rampant, and “the fact that so many people can’t read…is one of the reasons poverty lasts a long time…”(bad splice) “…in this part of America. Yeah, poverty makes you dumb. What’s your excuse? Some chunky white kids tell us how hard it is being ignorant, and a grand pappy says “Back in my day, you just needed a strong back and a weak mind, and you could find you a job doin’ somethin’.” In a dilapidated trailer, a toothless mom says she hopes her oldest of three daughters will be the one to finish school. I have to tell you, I’ve heard ignorant people from Kentucky jokes, but I never took them literally. It’s hard not to feel for this mother as she tells us her kid has to read things to her, because she can only read small words. I put my head in my hands. So I guess this isn’t the time to try and explain polyunsaturated fat. Sorry, but it’s way harder to emote for poor white trash. I’ll say it again.
And now it’s time for Guess Which Kid From Kentucky Can Really Read!
I vote for Number 3. Hell, that’s probably the future Governor. I wish we could vote tonight so we could get rid of Kentucky. I only speak so freely because I’m pretty sure no one there’s reading this. Paula comes onstage to sell Kentucky like it’s a Buick, but all I can concentrate on is her rack, which I’m sure she intended. What percentage of those is boobie and how much is Victoria’s Secret Water Bra? Damn you for making me do math, Abdul!
Well, Nigel had a pretty difficult choice to make this week regarding the Ford Music Video, and I’m glad he chose not to try and teach a guest group of starving kids choreography. The song is “This Thing Called Love”. Uh…Ok.
The theme this week seems to be small towns and hideous patterns. LaKisha looks like she swallowed a mushroom from Super Mario Brothers and Melinda looks like Weezy Jefferson jumped Donna Reed in an alley and cut her out of her clothes. Blake is in argyle again. When in doubt, wear a yuppie country club a hole sweater. No one comes off well in this weeks ad, but Powder is the most unfortunate. Gay cowboys are so 2005.
Then here it comes. “Stayin’ Alive”. There is no way you can pull my heart strings with the Bee Jees. But as the flashes of random celebrities dancing and lip synching and crapping away their dignity for a higher Q rating came on my screen, I started sobbing uncontrollably. The desperation is simply soul wrenching.
Next up is more Africa footage. Cowell and Tink visit a house the size of a closet where one woman takes care of thirteen kids, then they move down to visit some women dying of AIDS. Simon can’t take it, and insists one goes to the hospital. She dies two days later. WHAT? Oh, God. This show is KILLING ME. I start throwing things around my bedroom and leave a drunken voicemail breaking up with a guy I wasn’t even dating. Don’t judge me. It’s my way of cutting. I find myself dialing the toll free credit card line feeling proud and ashamed at the same time. Damn you, Idol Gives Back!
Ellen says that she knows all sorts of rich people watch this show because she watches it with them. LOL. El. She personally donates $100,000 and challenges them to do the same. Aw! And then she kills the mood by introducing Josh Groban. To make it worse, she’s put the African Boy’s Choir behind him, forcing the audience not to boo. Booooo! Poor Josh. He’s a homely little fella. Standing in the middle of such adorable children, he looks like a scraggly old drug addict, and I worry for the kids. They sound beautiful and give me tingles, but I wish I was in the audience to blow a spit wad at Groban. His vibrato sounds like the Cheeto tiger. “ahityahityahityahity”. It ain’t easy bein’ cheesy. Don’t use Africa as an excuse to bring “You Raise Me Up” out of the morgue, Josh! It’s over. Accept it.
Back to Africa, but this time it’s not about AIDS. Thank God. This video’s about malaria. Did you know that Julia Roberts has only been to two funerals but a guy in Africa has been to 280? If that doesn’t put things in perspective, I don’t know what will. Tink and the cameras follow a mother who’s trying to rush her baby to the overcrowded clinic to get medical attention. Unfortunately, Tink tells us, the kid didn’t make it. WHAT?!?!?! Ok, now we’re moving into dead baby territory? I am officially grossed out with American Idol. I curse Nigel’s name as I press redial and pony up another twenty. Kelly Clarkson comes onstage and sings “Up to the Mountain” and wipes the floor with every contestant from the past two seasons. Atta girl. Kelly has taken some crap for packin’ on a few pounds, but she could morph into Wynona Judd and I’d buy her albums as long as she keeps wailin’ like that. Damn, girl.
A commercial for the news comes on. Something about Sanjaya! I’ll have to tune in! Ben Stiller is still doing his lame bit when we come back from commercial. Gross. Did someone tell him that a kid just died from malaria? Seriously. Save it. Tink shows a Simpsons clip of Simon auditioning for American Idol with “Don’t Cha (Wish Your Girlfriend was Hot Like Me.” Lisa plays drunk Paula. Those were the days. When Cowell bombs, Homer drops him through a trap door and Bart says no one’s been in that well since Dunkelman. LOL, Bart. Now throw Ben down there and I’ll throw in another twenty.
So far, Doolittle, Blake and Phil are safe. Lakisha’s up next, and she’s safe! That only leaves Timby Cake and Spanx. Ruh-Roh. I have grown to kind of root for Jordin (she’s only 17!) and Timby has an adorable white hoodie on, so I will be sad either way. Back to the pain.
Randy reminds us that America’s kids need help too, but it’s not the kind a sack of grain and prescription drugs can fix. Our kids need “emotional survival kits”. Crayons, scissors, construction paper. A boom box! Awesome! CDs only cost about twenty bucks these days. Good thinkin’, Nigel. Just how many people in the world are getting a piece of this money? You guys better be planning on raising a lot because a hundred or so million bucks doesn’t do much when it’s divided equally between the masses. I call BS. If you’re giving to every needy person on the planet, I’m feeling a little left out. I’m as needy as they come. Where’s my emotional survival kit?
Tink intros Celine Dion. She’s gonna sing a song from the year she was born! 1968? Aw. Renee was just 26 back then. Time flies. She’s gonna sing a duet with America’s Biggest Idol Ever….ELVIS! Hot, young Elvis! Technology’s awesome. Soon, I won’t need to keep up any friendships. I’ll just program Rue McClanahan to sit with me and tell me about her dates. Celine sounds great, but she looks stiffer than ever standing next the the emoting, grinding, preaching Elvis. That man was a national obsession for a reason. Go, Elvis. You win. They both bring it and no one can argue that “If I Can Dream” isn’t a beautiful song, but at the end of the performance, I feel a little creeped out. And then Madonna does a segment from her back yard.
And now it’s time for Idol Challenge!
Lisa Simpson has them all beat. I’ll save my dollars for the starving kids this week.
The music doesn’t come in and Tink tries to figure out what to do. He asks Simon how much he’s donated, but Simon says he refuses to help Tink out of his awkward moment. LOL, Cowell. Tink hands the show over to Ellen at the Disney Concert Hall and she reminds us that if every single one of us donated just a little bit….FF. Shoot. I go too far and think I just saw Ellen sitting at a piano. What the hell? Rewind.
Annie Lennox! Way to show them out it’s done, girl! She has the one of the craziest, most soulful voices out there and she didn’t disappoint. She played piano and sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” beautifully. I got tingles and squirted a couple more out. Clay Aiken, if you’re not completely ashamed of yourself right now, you should be.
After a sweet montage of poor kids saying thank you, Tink leads us into the most shocking results in American Idol History! Timby and Spanx are the last ones standing, and Chris is safe. The audience gasps. So is Jordin! Oh, Tink! You rascal! Two people are gonna get the axe next week, but it’s a shame no one has to pay for what was done to inspirational music last night. Jordin is sobbing at the prank with real, live tears. She can cry! Go, Spanx!
To end the show, we see a clip of the contestants practicing the song Bono wrote for Idol Gives Back. Tricky Dick was listening the whole time! He comes into the practice room and tells them “so you murdered that one, eh?” LOL, Bono. He says that he was inspired to start one.org when he was in Africa. A father asked him to take his son on the plane with him to save him from certain death, but Bono didn’t do it. Are you listening, Madge? Instead, he helps in bigger ways. Unfortunately, the next song is one of them. Ouch. Jordin gives it a shaky, wobbly off-key start, and even Doolittle sounds busted at first. Powder swoons into his mic like he’s in a Reno showroom and…
I have to get the rest of the song off youtube, and must say, it grew on me as it went on. Or maybe I got confused with the happiness I felt as the show came to an end. So we didn’t get Pink, Gwen, or a lot of other of the big names that were promised. Il Divo and Earth, Wind and Fire had me laughing harder than 10 Jel-Los. What’s the point of being evil to these innocent kids when they just raised so much money to help the world? I’ll put the rest of my vitriol in a drawer til’ next week. Idol gave back to humanity, and Nigel made Jordin cry, which was kind of giving back to me. God Bless you, American Idol. My roommate just came in and asked to borrow a smoke. I slammed the door in her face. My two days of generosity are thankfully, resoundingly DONE. Til’ next time,
PS: If you want to give but feel gay giving to Idol, check out these sites.