Wednesday, April 9, 2008

American Idol Gives Back: Celine Dion, Jimmy Kimmel, Carrie Underwood

Celine Dion, in a clip from South Africa... it's hard for me to see her without thinking about the Saturday Night live skits.

Jimmy Kimmel, who claims he's been asked to introduce Simon Cowell. He gets off a good joke, about how he's undone all the good feelings we've had for the British. Well, him and those redcoats.

Per usual, Kimmel makes me laugh, but it also feels like he's cheapening the whole thing with his crude jokes. At least they're all directed at Simon. Yeah, from Bono with HIV/AIDs orphans to Kimmel and his jokes about Simon's nipples... that's American pop culture in a nutshell for you. Cowell's laughing though, turning red.

Cowell came to New York for his video segment, talks to the people who run the blue Mobile Medical vans in the city that Idol's donations are helping support. I'm a Simon fan, because I think he's usually kind to nice people and caustic with jerks. He sits with a family that's dependant on the clinic for their care, it's a wonderful segment--we get a really good sense for how the donation is making a difference, and it's not overproduced.

Then Simon live, says the New York charity simply saves lives, and thanks everyone for donating. I hope Ryan doesn't ruin this... Simon does get in a jab at Kimmel, says he loves Jay Leno.

Then he transitions to Carrie Underwood, performing at the Kodak. It's pretty amazing how much Underwood has grown since she was on Idol, when really, she could very easily have been cut early in the final round.

She's in a shimmery yellowish pinkish gown, singing Praying for Time. She's never been my thing, sings it well enough but it doesn't hold my attention.

Whoopi Goldberg takes us to break, energetically encouraging us to give.

By the way, Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, who I blogged a lot about last year and is the pre-eminent American authority on fighting poverty in Africa (in addition to being Bono's good friend), just released a new book last month.

It's called Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet. You can check it out at Amazon; here's the Publisher's Weekly blurb:

In this sobering but optimistic manifesto, development economist Sachs (The End of Poverty) argues that the crises facing humanity are daunting—but solutions to them are readily at hand. Sachs focuses on four challenges for the coming decades: heading off global warming and environmental destruction; stabilizing the world's population; ending extreme poverty; and breaking the political logjams that hinder global cooperation on these issues. The author analyses economic data, demographic trends and climate science to create a lucid, accessible and suitably grim exposition of looming problems, but his forte is elaborating concrete, pragmatic, low-cost remedies complete with benchmarks and budgets. Sachs's entire agenda would cost less than 3% of the world's annual income, and he notes that a mere two days' worth of Pentagon spending would fund a comprehensive antimalaria program for Africa, saving countless lives.

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can't be married, Shamid, you never shut you have any friends or have you chased them all away with your dripping faucet of a mouth?