Idol: Compassion, Hope and Hell on Earth

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‘Last night’s American Idol was the first of a "two night TV extravaganza" known as Idol Gives Back, on which our heroes sang "life anthem songs of compassion and hope." That description may have given you back the meal you just ate, but really, the purpose of the night was to raise money through calls that Ryan Seacrest said will "not only save your favorite contestants—they will also save lives." Jeez, as though it weren’t pressure enough to have to choose between your favorite of the top six, now the voting process is a life or death situation.

Basically, for every call received, the sponsors of the show will donate a certain amount of money to Charity Projects Entertainment Fund, and then money will then be distributed amongst starving children and young people across America and in Africa. Sort of like Christ’s splintered cross, everyone’s gonna get a piece.

Yes, it’s a great thing, what they’re doing, helping the world out and all, via an elaborate karaoke contest, but you couldn’t help but laugh when they showed footage of Ryan and Simon on a trip to an impoverished section of Africa. Simon’s reviews of the village were similar to his reviews of some performances:

"It’s just horrible, huh?"
"Terrible!"
"It’s just wrong."

And one of his remarks about the village sort of mirrored his feelings on having to sit next to Paula two nights a week:
"This is quite literally Hell on Earth."

Last night was the first one sans Sanj, and it actually did feel like something was missing. For a bunch of inspirational songs, the performances were largely uninspiring. Perhaps it was the lack of a celebrity mentor this week. Of course Melinda Doolittle wowed the judges as usual, and Jordin Sparks has been stepping up her game, especially with last night’s show-stopping performance of "You’ll Never Walk Alone," but the other four kids left something to be desired.

Tune in tonight to catch the star-studded second night of Idol Gives Back (featuring Kelly Clarkson, Josh Groban, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Helena Bonham Carter, Forest Whitaker, Annie Lennox, Gwen Stefani, Borat Sagdiyev, and the ambassador of rock, Bono), and to see which contestant’s dreams will be dashed when they get the ax.

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