Thanks to performances by Carrie Underwood, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys and Sir Elton John, Wednesday night's third "Idol Gives Back" charity event raised almost $45 million for a variety of charities, according to figures provided by Fox.
The two-hour-plus show raised funds for U.S. and international charities including the Children's Health Fund, Feeding America, Malaria No More, Save the Children's U.S. Programs and the United Nations Foundation. In addition to powerful taped packages featuring the show's four judges and host Ryan Seacrest visiting charitable organizations, stars such as Jennifer Garner, David Arquette, Morgan Freeman and Annie Lennox appeared in segments spotlighting the work of some of the designated organizations.
The fundraising figure was slightly below the previous totals for the show, which brought in more than $70 million during its inaugural year in 2007, when Underwood, Fergie, Kelly Clarkson and Green Day performed, and $60 million in 2008, which featured Miley Cyrus, Snoop Dogg, Jordin Sparks and Mariah Carey. The event took a year off in 2009 due to the economic recession.
"Once again, I am over overwhelmed by the generosity of the 'American Idol' viewers, our sponsors and our special benefactors. I am so thankful to all of the celebrity guests and performers who appeared Wednesday night to support 'Idol Gives Back,' " said "Idol" creator Simon Fuller in a statement. The $45 million figure is likely to go up when the totals are in from the iTunes store, which will donate net proceeds from the sales of the top seven finalist performances to "Idol Gives Back." A select number of performances from Wednesday night's show will also be featured in the iTunes store.
Also performing on the show were Jeff Beck and Joss Stone, the Black Eyed Peas and Lennox, who unveiled a touching new song about the struggles of underprivileged children entitled "Universal Child." Among the actors, comedians and dignitaries who pitched in were President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Victoria Beckham, Wanda Sykes, George Lopez, David Cook, Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, and Bill and Melinda Gates.
Donations are still being accepted online at AmericanIdol.com and by telephone at (877) IDOL-AID (877-436-5243; toll-free).
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