Who gets when Idol gives back?

by Jon Peter Lewis, posted Apr 25th 2007 12:40PM

Jon Peter LewisDisguise it however you want. Call it "giving back" and dress Simon up in a white shirt -- it's still a telethon. But, there's no shame in telethons.

I lived abroad for a couple of years and had the opportunity to get to know extremely needy people from many different countries. I remember one from Nigeria who was one of two survivors in a party of 20 that hiked across the Sahara desert and crossed the Straight of Gibraltar to live a better life in Spain. That meant picking melons in the field and living on dirt floors in a house with a bunch of other families -- and he was the lucky one.

I think it's cool that Idol is using its power to make life easier for people in need. I wish there were more in the world willing to do the same. Wouldn't that be nice? Equally nice would be suspicion-free charity.

While everyone is busy being high on being nice, Idol will get a lot more than they're giving. And I wonder what kind of tax break $5 million is worth? What sours the whole thing even more is how the contestants are almost completely shoved aside while everyone else on the show is "giving back." What attracted people to Idol in the first place?

I thought the contestants did a good job sharing the stage with the Ryan Struthers, though. I'm still creeped out by Phil, but he's grown a lot since the beginning. He sounded like he could be Michael Bolton's bald cousin. And I'm glad to see he's taken Sanjaya's place of honor on 'Talk Soup.'

I was nervous about Blake singing 'Imagine' -- I was praying he wouldn't start beat boxing, and it was hard for me to hear Lakisha sing 'I Believe.' I heard that song a lot on tour and can't imagine anyone other that Fantasia singing it. I wouldn't be surprised to see her go tomorrow night.

Melinda was the same as ever and Chris was OK, but Jordin was a highlight. I think she's the one to beat.

This whole "giving back" business has left me with a weird jumble of emotions, compassion, suspicion and a little confusion. I voted for the first time this season -- for every contestant. Can I get a picture of the person I'm helping?

Answers to Reader's Questions:

Who picks the songs for the Idols?
The contestants themselves. In the beginning, you submit a list of five songs you want to sing and hope that they clear for television. As time goes on song selection is more collaborative with the producers.

What were you doing backstage last Wednesday night?
I was shooting for 'American Idol Extra.'

[You can watch Jon's performance on 'American Idol Extra,' which airs on Fox Reality Network, on May 3.]

Jon Peter Lewis was a finalist on the third season of "American Idol." His newly released debut album, "Stories From Hollywood," is available everywhere online and can also be downloaded at americanidol.com. Visit Jon's Web site for more.

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kmkodell

Charity is always a good thing. However, being a sucker isn't. As of a few years ago, the staticis showed the usual amount that actually went to where you thought it was going, was only about 10%. In other cases, people grouped together donating time, money, etc only to discover later the organization put a cap on the amount going to the fund you were asked to donate to. The rest went into a general fund that the organization had discretion over.

April 27 2007 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Darlene

I AM FROM THAT SMALL KENTUCKY COUNTY, AND AS USUAL WHEN BIG CITY COMES TO LITTLE COUNTRY THEY LOOK FOR THE WORST. THE VERY WORST. SURE WE HAVE POOR PEOPLE, BUT NO ONE SLEEPS ON THE STREET. GREAT HELP THE ONES WHO NEED HELP, BUT HOW ABOUT SHOWING SOME OF GOOD AREAS TO. EXAMPLE- LETCHER COUNTY HAS A STATE OF THE ART MULTI MILLION DOLLAR NEW SCHOOL, PAID FOR BY THE TAXPAYERS IN LETCHER COUNTY.
ONE CHILD WAS TOLD HE COULD BE ON THE SHOW, BUT WHEN HIS PARENTS PUT A NICE SUIT ON HIM THEY REFUSED TO USE HIM , TALK ABOUT UPSETTING, HE IS STILL CRYING. GOOD THING I AM NOT HIS PARENT OR FOX WOULD BE IN ONE HELL OF A LEGAL BATTLE.
AND PAULA ABDUL NOT COMING BECAUSE THE ACCOMDATIONS AND RESTURANTS WERE NOT UP TO HER STANDARDS. PLEASE, SHE IS A WRINKLED OLD, WASHED UP HAS BEEN.
THE REASON FOR COMING TO THE SCHOOL, WAS BECAUSE THE CHILDREN IN THAT SCHOOL WERE WORKING TO GIVE MONEY TO SAVE THE CHILDREN CHARITY.
HOLLYWOOD STAY OUT OF OUR SMALL TOENS IF YOU SHOW BOTH SIDES OTF THE STREET!

April 27 2007 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Samantha

Jon I thought the blog was good. Sounds like you know whats up.
Was that someone scolding you about your take on Idol gives back. What a joke who do they think you are Mother Teresa............Haha

April 26 2007 at 6:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lance

Call me cynical, but nowadays I'm really hesitant to give money to any cause. I'm old enough to remember many telethons and special events to raise money. Remember the Christmas song that was to benefit Africa some years back? What about "We Are the World?" What about those Katrina fundraisers? Where does all the money go? With millions of dollars there should be construction crews all over New Orleans rebuilding homes and fixing things. There should be no starving Africans by now. I still remember Dionne Warwick's "Friends," and how some of the profits were to benefit AIDS causes. Not much, if any, money was given to anybody, and I can still hear Warwick saying that when she travels, she goes first class, so that uses some of the money. Saw and heard it myself. It seems that the only ones benefiting from all the generosity are African dictators, mayors of New Orleans, and who knows who else. I'd like to see a list of what all this money over the years has done for Africa, AIDS, and whatever else.

April 26 2007 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Samantha

Okay I guess maybe i'm a little dumb but who is Ryan Struthers?
I was under the impression that the idols knew they all were staying. Heck, I knew it, it was on the AI message board. Jordan knew she was safe they just played another little game on us.

April 26 2007 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jo Burrows

I am sorry, but what they did to Jordin was cruel. She will probably be there until the end when it's only she and Melinda but the emotional roller-coaster they put her through was unnecessary and downright cruel. I certainly hope they get that done to them...doubled. Don't worry, Jordin, you are great! Also, JPL, I agree with you about the charities/telethons and I am a bit put off by American Idon doing a telethon. Just how powerful do they think they are? Have they never heard of the statement (I might be paraphrasing here), "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely..." and eventually (I hope) they may be brought down a notch. Just a small notch because I like the show but they think they are invincible and...didn't they lose the colonies? Maybe they are trying to reclaim them.

April 26 2007 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sam

i am all for raising money for the needy, but it is
"american idol" isnt it? and arent there starving and needy in america.

April 26 2007 at 10:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kitty

I think they put Jordin through it so we would know she came in last. While voting, I used the endless votes available and 3 of the 4 hours to try and save someone I really like. My absolube favorite is Jordin, and her song blew me away. I figured everyone would vote for her, so I didn't. I voted for someone that might not get so many votes. I think that is what happened, everyone figured she was safe so they voted for someone else. Normally, there is a limit on the votes, as well as the time, so it doesn't get crazy. But this time, without any limits, it got crazy. I know that I used the redial function on my phone and just kept those votes going, as long as my battery worked.

I did use a few votes on Jordin and Melinda, but only a paltry 5 votes each, before throwing several hours worth of votes to another in need. Part of that charity feel, I guess. I needed the wakeup call; I needed to know that Jordin didn't get the votes this time. I also needed to know she will need a ton of votes to offset not getting them this time. She still might not make it, depending on how much she was trailing. Adding the votes together sounds good, but we don't get unlimited votes for 4 hours this time around. Something to think about.

The cost of putting on the show is high. Before criticizing FOX for not forking over some of that revenue, be sure you subtract from that revenue the cost of doing business. There is still a profit, but not nearly as big as it appears when you don't do that. I would have liked to have seen the judges give something. That would have put their money behind their shocked faces as they learned how rotten things are in the world. I thought for a minute that Simon might have paid for something, his face was so expressive. For all I know, they did and it is just not touted. But, for the phrase "American Idol gives back" to have any meaning, it needed to be a little more obvious there is some giving back by American Idol. I think they should have tied the results to the vote, for instance. That would have been 7 million, instead of 5. It would have truly been tied to the votes, then. I think they should have shown us American Idol judges giving, American Idol sponsors giving (paying for a segment is not giving, it is advertising), and in their own way, even the contestants giving. Then, I might have been inspired to give myself.

Good question someone asked...how much actually goes to the charity?

April 26 2007 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carol

I felt so very sorry for Jordin last night when she was put through such an agonizing experience so unnecessarily. There is no question that she is one of the front runners and will most likely be one of the final two to make it through. When they started talking about a "shocker" at who would be eliminated, she did not come to mind at all. I thought of two other contestants that it might be but it never entered my head she would be one of the two who were left to go through something like that. Surely, it could have been handled differently. You came up with a "shocker" for sure!!

April 26 2007 at 8:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brianna

Ok so i was really mad when nobody got voted off!! what was that?!?! i used to like Lakisha a lot now i dont care for her....i like everyone on the show tho...but i LOVE Blake!! hes so good...so is Chris!!! woot woot!!!

April 26 2007 at 7:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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