American Idol, Give Back Our Two Hours

There were two good reasons to tune in to last night’s very special American Idol Gives Back telethon: (1) to secure the relevant telephone number and make a donation; and (2) to witness the debacle that would be Celine Dion’s virtual duet with Elvis Presley. And yet the charity drive special had an irresistible pull on our Coachella-distracted minds. Was it watching Gwyneth Paltrow dancing with Helen Mirren to “Staying Alive”? Or maybe Jack Black’s satirical singing (a first, for sure) of Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose”? (Worth it for Kyle Gass’s reaction shots.) Sounds like fun, right? It wasn’t.


Fuller and Cowell did well to keep the celebrity quotient high, even when their appearances were fleeting (Tom Cruise on screen for a nanosecond to answer the number of funerals he has attended was a bizarre touch). The combination of glitz, celeb performance, and heart-tugging footage of impoverished villages in Africa and destitute victims of Katrina was enough to collect an estimated $30M in donations by show’s end (grand total TK). Not all performances were as awkward as the Elvis-Dion debacle. Kelly Clarkson and Jeff Beck turned in a soulful, stirring rendition of Patty Griffin’s “Up To The Mountain (MLK Song)” which was worth a watch. Below we’ve included YouTube of their performance, along with whatever else we could find (including Josh Groban, just in case we have some tone deaf folks out there). Have at it.

“Kiss From A Rose” (Jack Black)

“Up To The Mountain (MLK Song)” (Kelly Clarkson & Jeff Beck)

“Staying Alive” (Gwyneth Paltrow, Rob Lowe, Kiera Knightly, Helen Mirren, Hugh Laurie, Hugh Grant, Helena Bonham Carter, and like a hundred other famous people)

“If I Can Dream” (Celine Dion and Virtual Elvis Presley)

The Simpsons Judge Simon Cowell

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Annie Lennox)

“I’ll Stand By You” (Carrie Underwood)

“You Raise Me Up” (Josh Groban)

There, we just saved you two hours. Donate some money, then go see a movie.