April 23rd, 2010
01:37 PM ET

'Idol Gives Back' raises $45 million

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It wasn’t a good night for Tim Urban, who was booted off "American Idol" Wednesday night - but the two-hour event that was “Idol Gives Back” had a very good evening, raising almost $45 million for charity.

This year’s show was broadcast live from the “Idol” stage, where host Ryan Seacrest was the master of ceremonies, and the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, where actress/singer/rapper Queen Latifah served as host.

“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 “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller.

The night included performances by Sir Elton John, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, the Black Eyed Peas, Annie Lennox, Jeff Beck & Joss Stone and Mary J. Blige & the All-Star Band. There were also featured appearances by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Victoria Beckham, Morgan Freeman, Wanda Sykes, George Lopez, David Cook, Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, and Bill and Melinda Gates.

The initial tally does not include money from the iTunes Store, which will donate net proceeds from sales of the Top 7 finalists' performances to “Idol Gives Back.”

The money raised benefits various 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.

soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Gilles from Canada

    Just watch all the coments come in from the destroyers...Anything good hapens your way,someone will denigrate it,and put it down,try to make it look bad.Try to make it look less than it really is.Goes for American Idol,goes for your great and impressive President and first Lady.(sure wish we had someone like them here,we woult take them with open arms ).Can't for the life of me find out why??????It's a great talent show,takes your mind off your own problems,discovers new talents.....Some Americans just can't see a gifted horse.........

    April 26, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Thomas H.

    $45 million dollars in two or three hours - despite all of the pleas for charity after Haiti and in the middle of tax season. Good job, guys! Nicely done.

    April 26, 2010 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Davy

    How much being donated to vaccine research like for HIV? Thanks.

    April 26, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bob

    It was worth $45 million just to see Tim Urban voted off!

    April 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Keli

    Check out my Ellen DeGeneres song!

    April 25, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kylexy

    It seems as if some people can only find the negative in things... That's a pretty sad way to live... if you can call that living at all....

    April 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gene

    And, I don't watch the show, but seeing the headline that the show raised $45M for charity caught my eye, and is very applaudable. More money to help out now than there was before the show.

    April 25, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gene

    Whoops...last line was to read, "Don't even mention people losing their jobs to decisions of greedy businessman."

    April 25, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Gene

    To all the people talking about keeping the money ONLY in this country, MOST of it will go to charities IN THIS COUNTRY. You're complaining about how we need it more? In this country, massive amounts of people are not starving to death and get still get treated for most common illnesses/injuries.

    Here, BILLIONS of dollars are being distributed to people in these times through worker's comp, food stamps, food banks, health clinics, assitance with mortgages, etc. The few millions that will go to the chariities that help some in third world countries get none of that type of support from their goverments...they're just left to rot, so yeah, they could use the assistance. We're a superpower with billions to aid our own fifty states in "states of emergency". For a very long time, we've thrown a bone to other countries in dire need.

    And to those talking about what stars donated (or what they didn't), you don't know what any of them did or did not do, so just keep your false assumptions to yourself. I'm sure there are those that don't do a thing, probably like a lot of people YOU personally know...it's called apathy, and is a trait among the rich AND the not so rich. For the ones that don't give their time and effort or money, there's probably an equal or greater number that do, since they have the dollars to do it more easily than the general populous. Regardless, saying the judges didn't give, YOU DON't KNOW FOR A FACT, so why even post your ignorance?

    Don't even mention people using their times to greedy businessmen. Welcome to the free market economy!

    April 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steve D

    This is a great fundraising event but what is never mentioned is how much Fox contributes, if anything, particularly given they are the recipients of the benefits of a huge TV audience.

    April 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jim McDonald

    I am sitting here, trying to determine the average intellectual level of the people who have sent comments. For the most part, they do not register on the scale. Get the picture ANDY.

    April 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SCRAPsupply

    woooo charity!!!!



    April 25, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Head Diva In Charge

    So glad this very VERY boring show did some good.

    April 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jay

    All the money needs to go to the US. The hell with the others.

    April 25, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. carrie

    For all the haters whining that the money isn't going to the US and there's so many needs in the US, maybe you should either have watched the program or read the article first:

    "The money raised benefits various 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."

    April 25, 2010 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  16. Melody

    it's a shame that people are so cynical. Raising money for those in need, helps, no matter what the administration costs. Someone is going to benefit from the generosity of others. It was a touching show and I don't see any other shows doing the good this show does. Think of the opportunities that have come to the young people who are on this show. Carrie Underwood is one of the most amazing singers of our generation. Annie Lennox and Sir Elton John are to be commended for their humanitarian efforts and their artistry. I did wonder about the over- indulgence of the Black Eyed Peas. I wonder if their time has come to rethink the message they are converying. They have lost sight of the great talent they once had together. American Idol has given us all a wonderful 9 seasons of fun, entertainment, touching stories, rooting for the artists and a chance to understand more about the industry than we otherwise would have. Can't everyone enjoy and applaud it for what it is? It is a vehicle for new talent to imerge and for us be entertained. Ease up folks and think about the good not the bad. I would like to thank the producers, judges, band, contestants and everyone who supports AI. Remember life before it? TV and music needed a boost and now we have something to talk about, whether you like how things go or not. I am grateful to AI for giving me a great show and for daring to reach out and try to help others. Thank you.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Hugh01

    Was it me, or did the Black Eyed Peas stinky-poo? Somebody please confirm.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Jay

    Good that they raised the money...but keep it in the US. We need to take care of this country first, then worry about Africa and other countries.

    It’s a crying shame that our support and money always goes overseas to third world countries when things are bad here in the US and it seems no one wants to remedy our problems.

    45 million would help aid American families who have lost their homes, their jobs, and their pride to the recession.

    Take care of America first, then the rest can follow.

    April 24, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Michael

    If Idol were going to give anything, it would do so through something other than paid-for air time. If anything, the sponsors of Idol gave whatever was "given" by Idol.

    In reality, this was a rather transparent publicity ploy, ultimately only generating revenue for the Idol franchise. When will folks grow up and see through such nonsense?

    April 24, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Andy

    Talent isn't decided by votes.

    American idol sucks !

    April 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Andy

    Mary J. Blige ruined a great song.

    Mary J. Blige sucks !

    April 24, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Andy

    A great show doesn't need an arrogant people to set bad example.

    American idol sucks !
    Simon Cowell sucks !

    April 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Andy

    American idol sucks !
    Simon Cowell sucks !
    Mary J. Blige sucks !

    April 24, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Linda K Senes

    I didn't intend to undermine 45m in my previous post. All I meant was SO MUCH is needed in this country and around the world. If I could afford the air fare I would love to move to Africa or Mexico to help out. IDOL is a great show and has an enormous heart.

    April 24, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  25. mike

    You mean the American people gave back. unless AI is matching it.

    April 24, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  26. andy

    The stupid bit with Russell Brand & the obnoxious Jonah Hill sucked donkey kong. Their should have been another great legend performing like Elton John.

    April 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  27. thisJUSTIN

    "ARE YOU KIDDING" that was a great comment. Even though times are hard, everyone can still give back some how! People who sit behind the computer and complain could be spending their time volunteering somehow!

    April 24, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Esther

    Tina, I totally agree with you. 45 million.... Where are all the actors, sport players and other people that get millions for doing......yes, just work or play sport. If just a few of them would give "only" half a million. You could really do some work. And as you mention some people that watch the show can keep their money and try to survive themselves.
    And by the way. The Native Americans in the reservations should get some mayor attention, too. No food, drinking water, work, no heaters for the really cold winters.

    April 24, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  29. DB

    GREAT COMMENT, "Are You Kidding" ....... AMEN!!!!! Yes, times are tough right now, but being overly critical and negative isnt going to change anything! Get out of the house today and do a nice thing for your family, friends or community! Small acts do make a difference!!!

    April 24, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Are you kidding?

    Are you kidding me? All the complaints on here about 45M being donated? That is a TON of money in terms of donations. And to the comments on the corp sponsors...They paid for the air time, they paid for the venue..and NO it is NOT YOUR MONEY they were spending. Lesson: When you buy something from them....it becomes THEIR money because you received a good or service in return FOR that money. They get to choose what to do with it (ie..pay employees, invest in new projects, or return to shareholders, pay taxes, or yes....DONATE). That's how it works folks.

    Oh and on that note...how do you know that the 'stars' didn't donate? Perhaps 5 or 6M over that 45M was from them...the point is it really isn't your business to know.

    Everyone is becoming so critical of EVERYTHING in this country.
    **Instead of bashing it...how about being happy that despite the horrible economy your fellow citizens (both private and corporately) chose to give $45M. I'd call that a GOOD thing, Oh and while you are feeling GOOD...go look at all of the other ways that people are still giving not only with money but also with their time and skillsets. There is still a lot of good in this country. Get out there and do something positive rather than hide behind your computer and bash.

    April 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Bull

    Idol needs to start charging one dollar per vote cast.Then give 100%
    of whats collected to worthy charity.Here in the US.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  32. Linda K Senes

    45m has a nice sound to it, but it's not even a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. Thanks to all who help. And to those of you out there with the great stick up your asses-what have you done lately.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  33. Sarah

    I am 20-something, mostly broke, but I donated $20. I was mostly inspired by Jennifer Garner's story in Appalachia. Having lived in East TN and having worked with kids and families there who are poor and still do everything they can for their kids, it was great to see that AI is supporting Save the Children so that, perhaps, those parents can help their kids a little more. With all the naysayers out there who are against the current government saying that those living in poverty and, thus, needing government support are bums and drug addicts... this is ridiculous! There are a LOT of people living in poverty because of lost jobs, low wages, and high cost of living.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  34. DARIN


    April 24, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  35. DARIN

    DIANE ..............................................





    April 24, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  36. Thomas

    Why would you leave Steve Vai in the BACK on Stairway to Heaven? Geez he could slay the blonde guitarist and SHE gets the lead?

    April 24, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  37. big buz

    you are all right . the cast of the program i mean the judges should giv some of there mills. i bet they dident give anything. just all the poor people gave.

    April 24, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  38. john

    vito and shel....such haters, money hungry sows...lol...let me guess anyone who makes more money than u is greedy or crooked or hasnt earned it...another guess...u both voted for obama......Any proof to your allegations..of course not...u2 are pathetic..

    April 24, 2010 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  39. Charles

    BRAVO! American idol viewers,production team, judges,contestants and sponsors good work done and i hope this money will be spent wisely on those who really need help or assistance.You people have changed the lifes of many blacks and whites both home and abroad.
    God bless u all and many thanks to each and everyone who made this event possible.

    April 24, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  40. American Idol...

    Why are we raising funds for overseas when we have people in need right here in America!?
    It's American Idol...$45 million here would be better spent.
    Just go to industrial areas that have been abandoned by big companies.
    These people have served them for generations and are now left to wonder if they will have a place to live, food to eat and basic medical care!

    April 24, 2010 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  41. NumberOneAIfan

    You are an idiot and you need to leave. Shut up and turn the channel, cuz it ain't like you gotta watch it, you boob.

    April 24, 2010 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  42. GH

    20 million viewers and $45 million?? OK I sucked at Math but isn't that $2.25 per person? A good return? And those corporate sponsors donated nothing. Those wonderful sponsors "donated" YOUR money... from every purchase YOU made!

    And kitcat, I would be scrambling for my phone w/ a donation if the 4 judges woulda got up on stage and presented ohhh "just" a $1,000,000 check!

    As the old Chinese proverb goes, "Id rather SEE a sermon than hear one anyday."

    April 24, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  43. Moonbeam

    $45 million with 20 million viewing audiences seems like it is statistically a good return.

    Also, I think Ellen has turned out to be surprisingly good this season. She has more insightful comments than I thought she would have, and yet is, as always, very funny. I'm surprised at how many times the other judges completely agree with her observations and her comments, despite not being in the recording industry herself. I hope she stays on for another season. It will make losing Simon more bearable if the other 3 judges stay on and they only hire one to replace Simon.

    April 24, 2010 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  44. iwantmines

    Well, give it back then.

    April 24, 2010 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  45. kitcat

    Hmmmm, I am sure they also give equal amounts in proportion to their incomes if not to this charity then others. How much did YOU contribute to charity in relation to your income? Give back to get back is the best motto.

    April 23rd, 2010 10:56 pm ET

    Let's see.....Simon earned about $80 mil last year, Ellen $35 mil, Ryan $38 mil....and that's just 3 of all the stars on the "Give Back" show. It's a wonderful program for educating us about global poverty, but the donations should come from the stars not those Americans suffering through an economic crisis. I'm a bit over these star-studded fund raising shows.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Tina

    Let's see.....Simon earned about $80 mil last year, Ellen $35 mil, Ryan $38 mil....and that's just 3 of all the stars on the "Give Back" show. It's a wonderful program for educating us about global poverty, but the donations should come from the stars not those Americans suffering through an economic crisis. I'm a bit over these star-studded fund raising shows.

    April 23, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Isay

    @Caroline, I can't agree more with you. Annie's story telling and singing made me in tears. That was the only moment worthy to watch. I agree with most of you, Black eye peas is REALLY BAD... I hated the "jokes' too.

    April 23, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Caroline

    Annie Lennox's performance was the classiest and best of the evening!

    April 23, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Tonya

    Maybe if Idol was having a better season then people would have been prompted to donate more, earlier comments of 20million viewers donating ONLY $45million are true. On the other hand, you have to consider who the audience for Idol is – tweens and the 20'something crowd (two populations that are not too notorious for donations).

    April 23, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |


    April 23, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  51. mrs. tucker max

    black eyed peas is gross – the food and the "musical" group. LEE IS HOT AND I HOPE HE CONTINUES TO WEAR WHITE PANTS 😉 thats how idol gives back to me!!!!!

    April 23, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  52. DJ

    Black Eyed Peas were awful.

    April 23, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Brenda

    It is great. If they quit changing who the judges are they may have a great show again.

    April 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Jen

    A big part of the $45million raised with only 20 million viewers is due to corporate sponsors!! And yes, I agree Sir Elton John was best of night although Carrie Underwood didn't do too shabby herself.

    April 23, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  55. James

    If idol wants to give back....take the show off the air!!!

    April 23, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  56. shel

    I agree...how much of this money actually goes to the people in dire need of it? too much of it lands in the hands of money hungry sows who need to be "paid" for their time for this "fundraiser" and do not have any intentions on giving it to the needy.

    April 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Vito

    The money will Never go to the people. You are stupid if you think it will. This will cover admin cost and other BS. There will be no change there. This was a big publicity stunt for idol since their ratings are down. The show has run it course and needs to go. Once Simon leaves, there is no hope. Go out on top and end it already....

    April 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  58. GH

    $45 million w/ about 20 million viewers that night?

    Hmmm... is it really that impressive?

    April 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  59. RickyLee

    I think everyone came out a winner Wed evening, $45 million dollars. I personally wish Jeff Beck would have did a little more playing, instead of accompanying Joss Stone on "I Put A Spell On You", and Sir Elton John, is he the only person whose voice seems to get better with age? All in all, it was a class act, and the show was produced excellently

    April 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  60. diane

    Black eyed peas & nasty fergie SUCKED!!!!!!!!!! Alecia keyes could use some singing lessons too!

    April 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |

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