After a two year wait, Idol Gives Back is back! The night kicked off with a special Idol Gives Back message from the President and First Lady. And unless my ears misled me, President Obama called the finalists his dawgs. Awesome!
Ryan is back with another pocket square, which reminds me that I better go grab some tissues of my own before the show moves on. Simon got dressed up for tonight's show, but of course he couldn't find a shirt with buttons. As Ryan hosted from the usual Idol stage, Queen Latifah co-hosted from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
All Top 12 finalists were back and they performed "Keeping The Dream Alive" by Freiheit. Just like in past years, the Idols wore all white. Something tells me Crystal Bowersox doesn't normally wear white gowns when she's hanging out.
We learned about poverty in our own country, as actress Jennifer Garner headed to a town in Appalachian Kentucky and met with a family who lives in extreme poverty. Next, Season 9's Denver and Boston guest judge Victoria Beckham, along with two pre-teens, talked about how Save the Children changed their lives.
Captain Sully Sullenberger knows a thing or two about saving lives, and he encouraged viewers to give back. A duo with interesting hair and facial hair -- Russell Brand and Jonah Hill -- attempted to create a phone bank of celebs to answer the Idol Aid phone calls. They promised that the Toms (Cruise and Hanks) and other A-listers were in the house, but when the camera panned wide, no one was there. C'mon guys, you couldn't get your facial haired friend Seth Rogen to come out?
Queen Latifah introduced the Black Eyed Peas who performed "Rock That Body." Fergie donned a metallic bathing suit with thigh-high shin guards. But heck, if I looked like Fergie I would "rock that body" in that outfit on stage, at work, at the grocery store...
Ryan Seacrest went to Uganda in Africa to learn more about Malaria. A $10 mosquito net could have saved the lives of two people we learned about in the footage. It's unbelievable what a little money could do.
Did you know the Idol Gives Back online auction, which is now closed, had an item to bid on about hosting the results in tonight's show? I didn't, but George Lopez did, and he won. He came up on stage and decided to eliminate one of the judges instead of the contestants. George gave a hilarious stand up routine, and the judges were great sports.
After this week's Ford music video, Ryan hosted the real results. Crystal Bowersox and Casey James were called down to the center of the stage. Crystal is wearing white high heels. My guess was that they're both safe, but what do I know...apparently Casey is in the bottom three and Crystal is safe. Aaron Kelly and Lee DeWyze were called down to the stage next, and seeing them together is like the second coming of Archie and Cook. One of them is in the bottom, and it was Aaron.
Over in Pasadena, Queen Latifah introduced a duet with Jeff Beck on the guitar and Joss Stone singing "I Put A Spell On You" accompanied by the Jubilation choir. I assumed Joss Stone was barefoot under her long sparkly gown, but her feet were covered. Something about her was channeling Kara tonight; maybe it's the sparkles and the hair.
Morgan Freeman and his amazing voice took the stage, but he couldn't share his vocal gifts with us because the audience was cheering too loud. Once they calmed down, Morgan introduced footage of his trip with Randy Jackson to Mount Bayou public school in Mississippi.
This week's mentor, Alicia Keys, took the stage to sing a medley of "Unthinkable" and "Empire State of Mind (Part II)." She was wearing a fancy jumpsuit, and is probably the envy of Paige Miles, who had to wear a white dress.
Russell Brand and Jonah Hill finally gathered some celebs. Although most were fake, we did see Slash, Nadya Suleman, Tatiana Nicole del Toro (she counts, right?), and Jim Carrey.
Common and Queen Latifah introduced American Idol's own Carrie Underwood, who sang "Change." This song was practically written for Idol Gives Back and talks about how the smallest actions can make a difference.
An ascot-wearing Ellen DeGeneres introduced footage of when she and David Arquette met up at the Feeding America food bank in Monrovia, CA. Next, we saw footage of Ryan Seacrest interviewing Bill and Melinda Gates, and Ryan appeared to be auditioning for Barbara Walters' job, since she no longer is doing her specials. Ryan could use a job, so hopefully he'll be considered. Plus, that soap opera lighting would mask any signs of tiredness on his face.
Wanda Sykes took the stage and performed a hilarious stand-up routine as poor Casey James and Aaron Kelly sat on the cold metal stools. She talked about the injustice of making the eliminated Idol sing right after being told they weren't good enough, the reason why Big Mike was saved, and more. I normally shed tears for other reasons while watching IGB, but I shed a few and strengthened my abs during Wanda's appearance.
It was time to find out the last person in the bottom three. Between Siobhan Magnus, Tim Urban, and Michael Lynche, we found out it was Tim who was in the bottom. But don't worry, he's still smiling!
American Idol David Cook took the stage (I love David, but oh that new hair style kills me!) to discuss his trip to an all-girls school in Addis Abba, Ethiopia. He met a little girl name Magnus, no relation to Siobhan, who is a 7 year old orphan, but is completely upbeat and wants to grow up to do big things.
Annie Lennox was stranded in the U.K. because of the active volcano that is impeding air traffic. However, we saw some very touching footage of a seriously ill girl with HIV who was about 7 years old, but the size of a one year old. I thought this footage was going to take a turn for the worse, but on Annie's next visit, the girl was thriving. Next, Ms. Lennox sang a new song, "Universal Child." Annie Lennox's Idol Gives Back performances are so touching and they always make me scramble for my credit card so I can donate.
Season 9's Atlanta guest judge, Mary J. Blige, and an All-Star band featuring Orianthi, Travis Barker, Steve Vai, Ron Fair, and the dawg, Randy Jackson! They performed "Stairway to Heaven," and who knew Mary J. could rock like that?!
Next, we saw that Simon is indeed a human with a heart as he traveled to Arizona with the Children's Health Fund. With money raised by Idol Gives Back in 2007 and 2008, the CHF created a mobile medical unite for Dr. Jon in Arizona. He travels around treating thousands of sick kids. Simon called him a saint, and you could tell that the judge was touched by what he experienced.
This just in -- since the start of the show two hours ago, $15 million have been raised for the Idol Gives Back Foundation. Continue to check AmericanIdol.com to donate more and to see how much was given back by the end of the IGB event.
Sir Elton John was in the house and Queen Latifah went crazy for him as she introduced him. He played his red piano and sang "Your Song" (love!). As an activist for AIDS/HIV prevention and treatment, Elton offered up advice to America.
Would the eliminated Idol have to follow Sir Elton John?! Nope, but we did learn that Tim Urban received the fewest votes and was eliminated in 7th place. That's not too shabby, as the comeback kid climbed from 25th place (he was an alternate!) to 7th (the same place that Jennifer Hudson came in).
Tune in next week as the Idol finalists meet with mentor Shania Twain and sing her music. She was a fabulous guest judge in Chicago, so you can expect a great week ahead!