That was a long two and a half hours. Which isn't to dis Idol Gives Back as a charity or the work that it has done but the minutes didn't exactly fly by tonight when it came to TV entertainment.
The elements of your typical elimination show were in place. There was a group number (top 12, for some reason, instead of the contestants from last night), dressed angelically all in white. Since it was Serious Business there wasn't nearly as much singing and dancing so it wasn't as excruciating as it typically is. I had never heard the song "Keeping the Dream Alive" before: I kept thinking it was "All Through the Night" by Cyndi Lauper. Ryan chitchatted with the contestants, embarrassing Lee by saying that he's near-tears before each performance. We even got a Ford commercial, which involved the contestants all knocking shit over and then a car drove by.
The bottom three were made up of Aaron, Casey and Tim, two-thirds of which I had predicted last night. During the last minute of the show Tim was finally kicked off and kind of shoved out the door as the credits rolled during his farewell package. This leaves Siobhan and maybe Aaron to carry the "Oh good God what was that?" torch.
Idol Gives Back was made up of (mostly) live musical performances mixed with video packages of the judges, former contestants and celebrities visiting parts of the country and world that would benefit from the charity. Most of it was sobering stuff but there were of course some points of extra interest:
—After Queen Latifah introduced the Pasadena show, Ryan immediately started into his black thing. "We hyped up here too, we ready to go too." I wouldn't mess with her: she's a strong lady. She could crush him, especially if they were trapped in close quarters together, like, say a closet.
—Jonah Hill and Russell Brand did a bit where they pretended they had a crew of all-stars working the phone banks which was actually made up of a bunch of nobodies. Except that Slash was there. And haggard-looking Jim Carrey showed up for a second. And there were some actual nobodies there too like the Octo-Mom and a previous Idol from who knows which season [apparently it was crazy old Tatiana del Toro from last season and I didn't recognize her at all]. There were a few amusing jokes ("Here's Justin Bieber's cousin and his friend Eric who he knows from junior high") but I would have liked it more had it only occurred once.
—The Black-Eyed Peas turned in an awful performance of "Rock That Body." It sounded like they couldn't hear each other, or the band, or maybe anything. Will.I.Am sounded completely tone-deaf and that's with the assistance of auto-tuner. Fergie screeched some and mostly stomped around the stage in weird boots.
—Todd Bridges was in the house.
—Something else that had a few cute moments that went on too long was George Lopez's appearance. I liked him asking Ryan, "Do you Tweet? I do!!" but the appearance was overlong and bumpy. He roasted the judges: Randy seemed to enjoy it the most, whereas Ellen seemed tense, even though she got off the lightest and perhaps with the most confusing jokes (what does it mean that she's the Kourtney Kardashian of the judges? That she's the least-famous and has an illegitimate son?)
—Randy did an appearance with Morgan Freeman to help out in Mississippi. Randy has good voiceover skills, and that's saying something if he's walking and talking next to God.
—Carrie Underwood sang a song that sounded like it was written in real time. The lyrics were something like "You're watching the TV/You want to change the channel/But pick up the telephone/And make a donation/To make dreams come truueeee/I'm Carrie Underwood/I am singing this song/Get out your credit card."
—I kind of liked Wanda Sykes' standup: again too long but I liked that she made fun of the fact that the losers have to sing before they leave the show. "Here's a video package of happier times before we crushed all your hopes and dreams. Now sing, and remind America why they didn't vote for you."
—I'm glad David Cook wore a hat when he visited Ethiopia because it would have been too depressing thinking about him maintaining his hairdo while filming his visit there.
—Elton John told everyone watching Idol to get tested for HIV and wear a condom which I think was pretty awesome.
So anyway. I'm glad Idol Gives Back is doing so much good and I'm really glad that it only airs once a year. Next week we return with songs from…what? Shania Twain? What the hell?
—Idol Gives Back's logo bothers me. It looks like Christmas.
—I think Queen Latifah is a beautiful and benevolent queen but I would have rather had Dunkleman in there, honestly. She flubs every time she announces something.
—I did like Russell Brand referring to Suleman's kids as "octos."
—David Arquette looks very skinny.
—I did not forget about "Stairway to Heaven" but I do not have strong emotions about. I'm sure some of you do, however.
—Before you ask, all I had in terms of horizontal Idol pictures from FOX was either this one or one where they're all wearing Dodgers uniforms.