Thursday, April 26, 2007

Idol Gives Back

Wednesday night was the two-hour "Idol Gives Back" extravaganza that we've all been waiting for. Yeah, we all waited for that. We all like to build ourselves up for big let-downs, don't we? I opted to have a life last night, so I taped the show while I went out on the town. Smart move on my part. Thank God for the fast forward button.

As with most telethons and charity programs, it was a rather disjointed evening filled with sap and melodrama. Don't get me wrong - I think it's great that AI is using its power for good. Still, I can't help but smirk watching Randy Jackson walking around a devastated New Orleans neighborhood, blinding poor kids with his blingtastic crucifix necklace.

Since the show was all over the place and chock-full of Sanjaya jokes, I'm not going to recap the events in order, lest this post read like a 12 year-old with ADD wrote it. Instead, I'll put everything in neat little categories, so it reads more like a 34 year-old with OCD wrote it. You down with OCD? Yeah, you know me!

The Hosts/Judges
A clean-shaven Ryan Seacrest flubbed the very first line of the show, setting the tone for what was to come. Actually, it wasn't that bad. Seacrest is a pretty capable host. Of course, his repeated boasting that the night's voting results were the "most SHOCKING" in the show's history put him on my long list of people who need to be smacked. After the third time he said it, I pretty much figured out what was going on.

Ellen DeGeneres hosted the concert portion of the show from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. She made a few semi-funny jokes in between sincere pleas for donations. Typical Ellen stuff. Did anyone else notice that, as the show went on, Ryan and Ellen started to look more and more alike? Maybe it was just me.

The judges all got dolled up for the occasion. Randy was wearing a pretty fly suit and Simon looked rather saucy with his chest hairs making yet another appearance. Apparently, Paula came straight from her Pussycat Doll audition. I bet they could've raised a lot more money if she made Simon pay $5 for each time he gawked at her prominently displayed boobage.

The Causes
Many videos were shown throughout the evening of impoverished communities and villages in both the United States and Africa. There were also films chronicling Simon and Ryan's trip to Africa, Paula's visit to the Boys & Girls Club and Randy's time in New Orleans.

Carrie Underwood appeared in a taped segment from Africa, singing The Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You." I think all those kids really wanted were sandwiches and medicine, but hey, a song will do. Can you imagine how pissed off Gina Glocksen is right now that AI is releasing Carrie's version as an exclusive iTunes single?

Madonna was in Malawi, adopting kids or asking for money. I don't really know. I fast forwarded through her.

I kept wondering while watching all of this sad footage - what has all the money already been raised by various charities done? Everyone keeps talking about how little money it takes to save lives, yet this problem isn't going away no matter how many fundraisers we seem to have. Then I wondered if any money went towards Planned Parenthood programs, sex education and birth control awareness. Honestly, I think that should be a primary focus. Do people in third world countries even grasp that concept? Is it against their core beliefs? I have no idea. But until the population is under control in these areas, we're just going to continue to raise money to put band-aids on their problems. There shouldn't be so many children forced to endure such deplorable conditions. Since I'm not running for office, I'm going to end this tangent right now!

The Celebrities
Gwyneth Paltrow, Helen Mirren, Eric McCormack, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Forest Whitaker, Helena Bonham Carter, Hugh Laurie, Teri Hatcher and Rob Schneider were just a few of the stars who made cameos. They, along with the Final 6, appeared in one of the cheesiest videos I've ever seen on this show or any other. It started as yet another horrible Ford commercial in which the finalists sang "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (badly, I might add) and then drove their Mustangs to a drive-in, where they watched a film of the celebritards lip-synching to "Staying Alive." The segment was lame, but not nightmare-inducing. At least until I saw Teri Hatcher's face. Good Lord, when did she turn into Cruella DeVille? Overall a piece of garbage, but two positives did come out of that video:
* I was reminded that Mickey Dolenz is still alive
* Kevin Bacon's appearance just made the Six Degrees game that much easier

A very gray Ben Stiller showed up to do a typically Stiller bit - promising to sing "Reminiscing" by Little River Band until $200 billion was raised. As if viewers of this show could be swayed by a little bad singing. It was good for one or two laughs, but easily wore thin. I will give Ben props though for mentioning both Little River Band and Pure Prairie League.

Jack Black jumped on stage and kissed Seacrest, which methinks Ryan enjoyed quite a bit. He then serenaded the audience with Seal's "Kiss From a Rose" while Kyle Gass cheered him on. As I was watching, I thought, "He's better than Sanjaya." Then about ten seconds later, Simon took the words right out of my mouth. Must've been while he was kissing me. Then Jack threatened to sing "The Greatest Love of All!" Funny. Still, it would've been much funnier coming from Will Ferrell.

King of all Dorks, MySpace Tom, was in the audience. Did you all notice that when he turned in his chair, he was basically in the same pose as his MySpace picture, but just facing the opposite side? I guess he found a pose and is sticking with it. He must have learned that from Mariah Carey.

Bono finally showed up at the end of the show to talk to the finalists about He looked good. Sometimes I think he's slightly mad, but I still dig him.

The Performances
These are the artists who performed on Ellen's turf, in order:

Earth, Wind & Fire - Oh no. I could feel a medley coming on before any notes were played. I have a serious aversion to medleys. I had to fast forward through most of this. I knew things were bad when I found myself wishing that Phil Collins would show up and bust out "Easy Lover" with Philip Bailey.

Il Divo - Yeah! Whip it! Oh...wrong band. I can't believe that Simon is responsible for these guys. Does he actually like this crap? Well, at least they didn't do a medley. They sang Babs' "Somewhere." Someday, somewhere, we'll find a way to dislodge these globs of peanut butter from our throats..." One can only hope.

Rascal Fatts - No, I didn't forget the "L." I actually envied those poor people in Africa for one split second, because they never have to be subjected to this band.

Josh Groban - Again with the Opera-lite. Is Opera cool all of a sudden? I haven't heard any of the hipsters in Williamsburg belting out arias under the bridge, so it must not be hip. Josh was singing - what else - "You Raise Me Up" with the African Children's Choir. I just kept wishing he would shut up and let the kids sing.

Kelly Clarkson - Alrighty! Now we're cooking. I've made no secret of my adoration of Kelly. She sang Patty Griffin's lovely ballad, "Up to the Mountain," accompanied by legendary axe-man, Jeff Beck. Jeff looked kind of like Ron Wood on a bad day, but Kelly looked great with her new, very Zeta-Jonesy hairstyle.

Celine Dion and Elvis - This was the one celeb performance on the main Idol stage, and the big, "amazing duet" that Ryan kept blathering on about for the past few weeks. Sure, technology is cool but this was just weird. Not necessarily creepy...just bizarre. Maybe even pointless. And really, it only further encourages those wackos who still think Elvis is alive.

Annie Lennox - Her version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was awesome. Annie never disappoints. She is a true pro.

The Top 6
The finalists all came out like little angels dressed in white to sing the new Quincy Jones song, "Time to Care." It was kind of like The Osmonds doing a song from The Lion King, but it was enjoyable enough. Certainly better than what I had feared most - a group sing of "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke."

The most shocking results in history were eventually revealed! Everyone was safe! As I said before, I figured that out early on, as most people probably did. I think even most of the contestants knew what was going on, even if Jordin did try to look all teary-eyed after she spent a hot minute with Ryan's clown hook around her neck. No one should get too comfortable though, because this week's votes will be combined with next week's, and then two contestants will be voted off. So, it wasn't so much "charity" as it was a stay of execution.

The evening closed with a song specially written for the Idols by Bono and Dave Stewart, "American Prayer." It was a good song (as I would expect from those two) and everyone really stepped it up for the performance. I was quite impressed with their harmony, as well as their individual parts. For the first time I was not bored by Phil! He really shone on both of the group songs. Why can't he bring that vibe every week in his solo performances?

Best Moment
The one truly funny and wholly entertaining bit came via The Simpsons. The short featured an animated Simon auditioning for Idol judges, Marge (Randy), Lisa (Paula) and Homer (Simon). Homer and Marge dissed his lame performance of "Dont'cha," and dropped him through the trap door to the lions below, prompting Bart's great line, "The lions haven't eaten this well since Dunkleman." For those of you who didn't watch Season 1 of AI, Brian Dunkleman was the Andrew Ridgeley to Ryan Seacrest's George Michael.

The biggest belly laugh of the night belonged to little Lisa Simpson. After Marge called Simon "dawg," Lisa perfectly channeled Paula by excitedly throwing her arms up and yelling, "Where's the dog? I like dogs! Woooooo!" Classic.

While I'm sure everyone involved with "Idol Gives Back" is happy that millions of dollars were raised for worthy causes, all those celebs have to be a little miffed that they were upstaged by a bunch of jaundiced cartoon characters.


cube said...

Lol! Once again, another on spot review :-)

I'm glad you had some fun last night because, with very few exceptions (Annie Lennox being one), we were disappointed with the show at our house.

Oy, where do I start after your astute observations?

Mayhaps I won't even start ;-)

Good job.

cube said...

Oh, one small observation, why didn't Annie do one of her songs instead of a cover?


Writeprocrastinator said...

"Yeah! Whip it! Oh...wrong band"


Dale said...

I am officially in love with you for every line of this post Beckeye. What kind of a ring do you want?

Tanya Espanya said...

We also watched both episodes last night, heavy on the fast forward button.

What traumatized me the most was the weirdo dude from Earth Wind and Fire that kept prancing about, with his giant klingon head...his hairline started at the back of his neck, and he had sparkly eyes and a crazy man's grin...Or was it just me?

Excellent post, thank you!

Happy Villain said...

I don't know whether to watch my first episode of AI after reading all your posts, or to be grateful that I've never seen a one.

Regardless, I found this recently and thought of you:

Sometimes a post isn't necessary to poke fun at the freaks...they do just fine on their own.

deadspot said...

We should chip in and buy Jeff Beck a Flowbee so he can stop going to Supercuts.

Les Becker said...

The poverty will never go away. "Charity" is big business. Sad, but true.

BeckEye said...

Cube - Yes, I agree that "Why" would've been an apt choice. I was actually kind of hoping that there would be a Eurythmics reunion, since Dave Stewart co-wrote that song with Bono.

WP - Those guys should think about wearing flower pots on their heads or something. SO dull.

Dale - Well, gawrsh. Any ring will do. I'll wear your ring around my tell the world I'm yours by heck...let them know you love me so...and let them know by the ring around my neck. See, I should've gotten to do the duet with reanimated Elvis.

Tanya - Yeah, the Klingon guy from EW&F has been on AI before, when they used to have guest judges sit in. He's freakish.

Happy Villain - Good site! Bill Cosby should host a show called "Celebs Say the Darndest Things."

Deadspot - Or, since Sanjaya has free time now, he can become a hairstylist to the stars. Jeff can be his first client.

Les - Thanks, Debbie Downer. Mwah mwaaaah. :)

BeckEye said...

Cube - by "that" song, I mean the final song of the night, not "Why." You probably figured that out, but that line still looks ambiguous the way it's written.

Les Becker said...

I would prefer "Debbie Does Dallas" - more fun... Oh, wait! Never mind! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Perfect! I couldn't stand the Carrie Underwood video thing.

And I'm dying laughing about Tanya's "klingon head" remark...

Travis said...

Great review - just the right dosage of snarkiness.

I applaud the charitable work, but I was annoyed and irritated by the entire show.

Oh - Annie Lennox rocks.


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