Project ‘Idol:’ Idol Gives Back, Part 2

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imageWednesday’s two-hour “American Idol” opened with President Obama and the First Lady urging everyone to donate during “Idol Gives Back.” Barack called everyone his dawgs, and Michelle urged Simon to be nice.

Queen Latifah was hosting from the Pasadena Civic Center, while Miss Seacrest was at the “Idol” studios. Two queens on one show and Latifah playing all femme to promote her movie “Just Wright” was just about more than I can handle.

The Top 12 lip-synched the saccharine “Keeping the Dream Alive” all dressed in various shades of rumpled white. Some people should never wear white (I’m looking at you, Big Mike).

Jennifer Garner and Posh “Praying Mantis” Beckham traveled to impoverished Kentucky to visit starving children, although the kids had more meat on their bones than the former Spice Girl. Just sayin…

imageRussell Brand and Jonah Hill were desperately unfunny in a skit about running a phone bank staffed by Slash, OctoMom with some of her child army and “Idol” Season 8 harpy, Tatiana Del Toro. If that doesn’t make you want to pick up the phone and donate money, then you’re un-American.

Black Eyed Peas sang “Rock That Body” live and sounded terrible – flat and singing over each other. Seemed like there were some sound issues, too, but Fergie didn’t pee on herself, so I guess it was a success.

George Lopez critiqued the judges in a desperately unfunny bit, although calling out “Karla DiGuido” for macking on Casey was funny.

Jeff Beck and Joss Stone performed “I Put A Spell On You,” and Mr. Beck was looking positively pe-pawish with what appeared to be a piece of duct tape wrapped around his arm. Fashion statement or holding his bones together? You decide.

Justin Bieber appeared for two seconds, and Twitter exploded in a tween frenzy with girls screaming about how cute he is and how they are going to marry him. OMG!

imageAlicia Keys sang “Unthinkable” and “Empire State of Mind II” wearing a jumpsuit she must have bought at a Studio 54 auction.

Wanda Sykes got the biggest laugh of the night when she said you can tell when Simon is bored because he plays with his nipples. So true.

The beautiful Annie Lennox actually made me verklempt with her video about visiting a child dying of HIV/AIDS in Africa and then singing “Universal Child” while boldly wearing a t-shirt with “HIV Positive” printed across her chest. As in year’s past, Annie is always the one who brings the class and emotion to the overwrought “Gives Back” night.

Mary J. Blige and Her All-Star Band – Randy Jackson (he used to be in Journey, you know), Steve Vai, Travis Barker and Oralrinse – or whatever that guitar playing girl’s name is – weakly jammed on “Stairway to Heaven.”

Part-time Atlantan Sir Elton John showed up to sing “Your Song” and encouraged everyone to get an HIV test. He sounded rough on the song, but exuded enough elder-statesman cool that it didn’t even matter.

Casey James, Aaron Kelly and Tim “Teeth & Pecs” Urban were in the bottom three, and Tim was finally eliminated. Since the show was running half an hour late, he didn’t even get a chance to sing or take off his shirt. Sigh. See you at a mall fashion show real soon, T’Urban.

Next week, Shania Twain mentors, and the Final 6 are forced to sing her songs. That don’t impress me much.


imageCollin Kelley is a poet, Atlanta-based journalist and author of the recently released novel, “Conquering Venus.” Follow him on the Modern Confessional blog at


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