"Idol" charity show hopes to top $100 million

Mon Apr 7, 2008 4:58pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "American Idol" hosts a star-studded fund-raising special this week aimed at raising more than $100 million for children's charities in the United States and Africa.

"Idol Gives Back," which last year raised $76 million in the first mass fund-raising venture by a U.S reality TV show, airs a 2 1/2-hour special on Wednesday featuring performances and personal appeals from more than 50 of the biggest names in music, sports, television and politics.

"We're going to make over $100 million this year. I can feel it," "American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told the audience at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, where the special was taped on Sunday.

Disney teen sensation Miley Cyrus, rap star Snoop Dogg, singer Mariah Carey and past "Idol" winner Carrie Underwood headlined a list of celebrities who performed on the show.

Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown appealed by video to viewers to donate via telephone or the Internet.

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is expected to send in a videotape for Wednesday's broadcast, organizers said. His first submission did not meet technical standards.

English soccer star David Beckham, who now plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer team, and Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant were among athletes involved with the campaign.

Irish rock star Bono and singers Alicia Keys and Annie Lennox were among those who traveled to Africa and impoverished areas of the United States to record moving stories of children afflicted by AIDS, malaria and hunger.   Continued...

<p>American Idol contestants (from L-R) Brooke White, David Archuleta, Kristy Lee Cook, David Cook, Carly Smithson, Jason Castro, Syesha Mercado and Michael Johns sing at the "Idol Gives Back" show at the Kodak theatre in Hollywood, California April 6, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>