The April 9th telecast of Fox’s "American Idol" had something for everyone – musicians, movie stars, and politicians in the same show – as part of its second annual "Idol Gives Back" charity fundraiser to benefit needy children. That variety was reflected in media coverage as well.
The New York Times noted that Miley Cyrus got not one but two segments on the show, but taped messages from presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain were bumped because the show ran long. The messages were expected to run the next night.
"‘Idol Gives Back’ would have given the politicians an opportunity to link themselves to the stronger allure of celebrities and their high-wattage charitable causes. But ‘American Idol’ producers evidently felt that the candidates didn’t have the same cachet," the New York paper said.
On the other hand, the Los Angeles Times praised the locally broadcast show for its incongruous blend of guests.
"Like the paradigm-shifting talent show that created this charitable opportunity, Fox’s ‘Idol Gives Back’ deftly balanced these contrasts between goofiness and glitz," the paper said. "It shouldn’t have worked – Jimmy Kimmel shouldn’t have been able to make jokes about Simon Cowell’s man-breast moments after the sublime Annie Lennox nearly broke into tears while singing the reggae hymn ‘Many Rivers To Cross.’"
Ryan Seacrest hosted the event held at Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre, which included performances by Lennox, Heart, John Legend, Mariah Carey, Carrie Underwood, Snoop Dogg and Fergie to name a few.
Sobering documentary segments featured Bono, Daughtry, Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus, and Cowell himself chastising the nation for the health crisis in the U.S. So where were the actual "American Idol" contestants when all this was going on? Performing with contestants of another Fox creation, "So You Think You Can Dance?," manning the phone bank and closing the show by singing worship song, "Shout To The Lord."