"A Very Special American Idol" charity benefit returns
It's a no-brainer really. Last year's American Idol charity-special, "Idol Gives Back," racked up killer ratings for FOX and raised $75 million for charities in the U.S. and Africa. And more importantly it brought in killer ratings for FOX (did I say that already)! Of course they're going to do it again this year, and now according to Variety, they've set the date for "Idol Gives Back 2008." April 9, 8/7c the two-hour star-studded extravaganza will once again bombard our retinas.
Say what you want about Idol, but a top-rated show using its clout to help the needy both domestically and abroad is a good thing. They should probably do more special events like this, and maybe during their "off-season." Have a "Fall Special" where they feature past Idol contestants (many would be more than willing to do it as they're own careers aren't going anywhere), who can hype their new album drops since they tend to drop before the Holidays. It'd be big ratings for FOX, a fall presence for the show and more money for charity.
Plus, if more Idol alumni could get some modicum of success that means more credibility for the show. After all, the last two winner/runner-up combos (Sparks/Lewis, Hicks/McPhee) aren't exactly setting the sales charts on fire (that'd be Daughtry). It's early to say still for Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis, last season's winner and runner-up, but with the cool reception of the season in general and the anemic sales they've seen thus far I'm not optimistic.
Hopefully, the promised emphasis on the contestants this year instead of the guest mentors (Gee, ya think!) will help this new batch. The judges are certainly on the hype machine saying this will be the best top twelve we've ever seen! If something doesn't turn around, the show could quickly lose its relevance, its ratings, and its ability to have an effective charity special. Then who suffers? The children. It's always the children who suffer when Idol's ratings drop.