Wednesday, April 9, 2008

American Idol Gives Back: Annie Lennox

David and Victoria Beckham back from break, very earnest-looking as well as they urge us to donate.

Ryan's randomly talking to people as they call in to donate, he does this bit where he's running from contestant to contestant, grabbing their phone. Up to nearly $18 million, swelled by some previous corporate donors.

Bono in Africa again, talking to more kids. They share 'memory boxes' from the parents they've lost to HIV/AIDs, keepsakes.

Annie Lennox, in a overly-produced segment where she asks a family of kids who have lost most of their relatives to AIDs over and over again do you have a father, do you have a mother, do you have an uncle, etc. They keep saying no.

There's all sorts of dramatic music and effects and camerawork and lighting; I think it's a bit too much, their stories are so stark and emotional I don't think it needs to be 'sold'.

Lennox is sobbing at the end of the piece, the issue obviously means a lot to her. We're back in the U.S., at the taped segments at Kodak, Lennox singing Many Rivers to Cross. It's stark and the most powerful performance of the night so far.

As I mentioned while blogging this same show last year, it bothers me when Idol brings its slick production values to the topic of poverty. It detracts from the seriousness of the issue; makes it fit all too neatly into the Idol world of soft lighting, quick cuts and blockbuster ratings.

I'm glad the issue is getting all this attention; I just wish the Idol producers would for just one night turn the images over to real documentary filmmakers, like the Maysles, Errol Morris, or even Ken Burns, who won't always go for the gaudy visual when telling their stories.

Kiefer Sutherland sends us to commercial in a brief 'please donate' clip.

You can donate at 1-877-436-5243 or

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How much did u give, big mouth? It's a good thing God listens to u, He's surely the only one. I wonder if you've ever heard from were too busy blabbing on and on and on and on.