Two hours? Really?
Because tonight’s annual philanthropic extravaganza adds an extra hour onto the already too long results show (far too much to ask of any live-blogger, in my opinion), I’ll be checking in intermittently throughout the night, which promises to be chock full of heartwarming baby-hugging scenes and cheesy musical interludes. On the roster: Elton John, Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Annie Lennox, and the emcee talents of the black lesbian version of Ryan Seacrest, Queen Latifah.
8:00pm. Well, they certainly kicked things off with a bang: a message from Barack and Michelle. The President quotes Randy Jackson: “You’re all my dawgs.” He never seemed more like someone’s dorky dad.
8:06pm. All the cast-offs, dressed head-to-toe in white, are back for the group sing: “Keeping the Dream Alive.”
8:07pm. Jennifer Garner joins the Idol family by visiting the Appalachians in a film about kids who grow up there in poverty.
8:12pm. My favvvvorite person, Victoria Beckham reads every word on the teleprompter perfectly as she describes her work giving out books to kids in Kentucky.
8:17pm. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, the great pilot, tells us we can be as effectual as he was by calling the Idol hotline.
8:21pm. Black Eyed Peas take the stage in Pasadena to sing a song that is the true definition of “inspirational”: “Rock Your Body.”
8:33pm. Ryan’s job was sold to the highest bidder, which apparently was Mr. Moneybags himself, George Lopez. He invokes disco lights to announce the first round of results, which aren’t any results at all. Instead, he roasts the judges. Funny about Randy and “Karla” but completely misfires with Ellen, stuttering through “the Kourtney Kardashian of the judges.” Lopez declares all four of them “safe.”
8:39pm. Ford music video. One more thing the collapse of the auto industry has left us with is terribly bad production values.
8:41pm. Results for real. Crystal and Casey look like hippie wedding cake toppers standing together in the center of the stage in their dressy whites. Crystal is safe, Casey is Bottom 3. Next up: Aaron and Lee. And they look like gay wedding cake toppers. Lee safe, Aaron Bottom 3.
8:43pm. Back in Pasadena, Latifah announces Jeff Beck and Joss Stone, backed by a choir on “I Put a Spell on You.”
8:53pm. Morgan Freeman gets the loudest cheers of the night as he introduces another touching video, this one starring himself and Randy Jackson dealing with literacy in Mississippi. Then Alicia Keys performs for a good long while.
9:09pm. Jonah Hill and Russel Brand come back for a running joke involving celebrity lookalikes answering the phone bank. Justin Bieber, Slash, and last year’s trainwreck Idol contestant Tatiana Del Toro (!!!) are really there. And now I don’t know if that’s the real Jim Carrey or a fake. And one of these dudes is totally the Man in Black/the Locke Monster! Thanks for fucking with my head, guys.
9:12pm. Carrie Underwood sings “Change,” a song that is actually about TV telethons.
9:29pm. Bill and Melinda Gates just finished a long conversation about something good that they do I think. Then Wanda Sykes comes out. Ok, just to run through this night: Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Wanda Sykes, Ryan Seacrest, Justin Bieber (ok, fine, maybe he doesn’t know yet), Ellen DeGeneres, Annie Lennox, Elton John… “Idol Gives Back” should be called “Idol’s Got Pride.” Anyway, Wanda roasts the contestants this time around. She’s great, but it’s unfortunate how late in the game this comes, because everything just sounds like lots of words. Lots and lots and lots.
9:32pm. More results. Siobhan, Mike, and Tim are what’s left. And Tim Urban completes the Bottom 3. The most sensible Bottom 3 I’ve seen this season.
9:34pm. David Cook pays a visit and shares about his trip to Ethiopia where he learned about girls sold into the sex trade. Oof.
9:44pm. Painfully, excruciatingly sad video with Annie Lennox about a young African girl with AIDS. The girl gets the meds she needs and looks a million times better! Cry cry cry! Annie Lennox, you are amazing. (Annie’s stuck in London because of the volcano, but she’s still singing from there I guess.)
9:56pm. An all-star “Stairway to Heaven.” I didn’t catch all the names, but Mary J. Blige (in Adam Lambert mirrored shoulder pads) kicks it off, with Randy Jackson and Orianthi on guitar. It’s kind of good and all over the place. The choreography really leaves something to be desired, though.
10:01pm. It’s after 10. Why is this still happening?
10:04pm. So far tonight, they’ve taken in $15million.
10:11pm. Elton John tells the audience to wear condoms (and get tested for HIV). He jokes about being a Luddite and no one laughs.
10:21pm. Finally, we get down to business. The first person safe is…ugh…Aaron. And…Casey? Tim Urban is sent home. Wow, oh, wow. Bad move, America. For serious. I will miss his prettiness.