Kris Allen's "American Idol" appearance on Thursday (February 25) will not just be a homecoming for the show's reigning champ, but also an opportunity for the 24-year-old to contribute to a worthy cause: the ongoing relief efforts in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
Allen traveled to the embattled island nation last week, and before he takes the "Idol" stage for the first time since his win last May, the singer spoke with MTV News about his experience in Haiti and what he hopes to accomplish during Thursday's appearance.
"It was a weird trip, because you get over there — everyone's seen the pictures and stuff and the videos — it's really bad," he said. "It's a lot of destruction. A lot of people have been affected by it. But there's a lot of stuff going on."
Allen pointed to the relief efforts of organizations like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross, who have been working on the ground ever since a 7.0 quake nearly leveled the capital city of Port-au-Prince in January. During his visit, Allen stopped by an aid camp that opened the night of the earthquake and now is the temporary home for more than 3,300 Haitians, with more arriving every day. All these relief groups, the singer said, "have done so many amazing things for the Haitian people and gave that nation a lot of hope for the future."
The idea for the trip to Haiti came from "Idol" creator Simon Fuller. As soon as Fuller made the suggestion, Allen came onboard. He ended up handing out food, breaking up fallen concrete with a sledgehammer and clearing rubble with his hands, all the while working side by side with the Haitian people. Allen's last stop took him to a tent where mothers come to breastfeed their babies and care for their children.
During Thursday's show, viewers will be asked to make online or text-message donations to the Idol Gives Back Foundation, with funds going to support the United Nations Foundation's ongoing efforts in Haiti. "I wanted to go over there and help," Allen said. "I felt like I did that in a little way. I think that me being on the show is going to be a bigger help than me going there with the little bit of manpower that I have."
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