Last night's star-studded "American Idol" fundraising/elimination extravaganza couldn't be witnessed without tissues on hand. And among our earnest contestants, justice was served at last. Let's review.
First off, I can't watch "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" without welling up, 'kay? I'm one of those idiots. So the abundance of celeb-infused footage of the fund beneficiaries just about knocked me on my ass. Especially the story about the pregnant woman in Africa who contracted malaria and died on tape while we -- and her despondent husband -- looked on. When the cameras homed in on this poor guy carrying the remains of his wife and baby in pine boxes, I collapsed in a hawt-mess heap of tears and ran for my phone to donate (as my hubs looked on in shame and wonder).
Go ahead. Make fun. But I dare you to watch that segment without losing your mind and forking over the contents of your wallet. "Idol Gives Back" raised more than $15 million by the end of the show ....
President and First Lady Obama kicked things off by asking all Americans to donate. Barack fist-pumped as he said to the contestants, "Y'all are my dawgs." Michelle tsked Simon, asking him to be nice. Shortly thereafter, the celeb footage of the disadvantaged was unleashed. Jennifer Garner visited a remote town in West Virginia. Randy Jackson and Morgan Freeman hung out in Kentucky. Simon Cowell showed that he's actually capable of hugging a child without recoiling as if it were boiling his skin.
The most moving celeb recount came from a stranded-in-London Annie Lennox, who told the tale of a 7-year-old girl born with HIV who weighed the same as a typical 1-year-old. We're talking walking skeleton -- it was a miracle that the little girl was breathing, let alone drawing a picture. Lennox went back to visit her after a few months, and not only had the peanut survived due to donated medicine (thanks to our dollars!), she'd gained enough weight to look remotely healthy. I think I was wiping errant tears off the couch at this point. Following that was a pre-taped performance from Lennox, who is always flawless in my book. This just confirmed it.
Live performances came courtesy of The Black Eyed Peas, who performed their latest thump-thump, "Rock That Body." "Idol" alum Carrie Underwood gave an elegant performance of her song, "Change." Alicia Keys is always gorge, but sounded like she was out of breath during her brief hits medley. Sir Elton John performed "Your Song" live, and Jeff Beck rose from the crypt to finally claim his rightful place as living guitar legend during a great jam with Joss Stone (to the tune of "I Put a Spell on You").
Another highlight came from the Mary J. Blige All-Star Band -- an amalgam of talent including the amazing gal guitar player Orianthi, Steve Vai (who blew the dust off of him?!), Travis Barker and "Idol" judge Randy Jackson. They scorched through a modern rendition of "Stairway to Heaven" which surprisingly left a decent aftertaste.
A futile attempt at comedy from Jonah Hill and Russell Brand could not be saved by cameos from Jim Carrey and Slash. George Lopez and Wanda Sykes did a little stand-up; George judged the judges and Wanda ragged on the show, saying it was "Mean Idol" because the contestants were forced to get up and sing after they were voted off -- to remind us why we didn't vote for them. Burn! Loved her.
And now for the results you've been waiting for: The contestants were called down to center stage in twos and threes -- and the first relieved was our GURL, Crystal "MamaSox" Bowersox. The bottom three consisted of Casey, Aaron and Tim -- and Tim was FINALLY sent packin'.
SO happy Siobhan was saved! Maybe people are listening to the music after all. Clearly, I need to tweak my algorithms.
What'll happen? Tune in to "American Idol" on FOX next Tuesday, and then stop by here for the recap!