Special Edition: Idol Gives Back

Hey everyone. Here’s a special edition of Idol Reviews… a review on Idol gives back. Fair Warning: The first part of this is fun, but the last part is just truth. You got it Simon style. I didn’t vote on Tuesday or give to “Idol Gives Back”. My guess is you didn’t either. Maybe you will agree with me, at least in part, on why.

First of all, let me say that I wasn’t surprised at all that everyone got to stay another week. What I DON’T agree with though is that the votes from last week will combine with the votes next week and the bottom 2 will leave. First reason, the vote count was artificially inflated due to the “Idol Gives Back” campaign. This will skew the results toward those with the most insane, bored fan base who have nothing better to do but sit at home and sent multiple TXT messages from their Cingular… no…. AT&T wireless. Second reason is that it will totally mess up the gradual realignment of votes that we have every week. After two people leave, there will be a great vote upheaval and who knows where all the other votes will go…

Now, let’s talk about the performances. I liked Kelly Clarkson’s performance, and I’m glad she finally appeared. She owes it all to AI, and she should be proud of that. Her song was boring in and of itself, but I liked her tribal dress and her voice was spot on. She is a true american idol.

Raskal Flats, boring. Annie Lennox, I wish she would have sung an original rather than Bridge Over Troubled Water. The first black guys… what is up with them and their huge noggin’ guitarist who was clearly high on something!? Bono was cool, but I was disappointed that he didn’t actually sing. C’mon. You can’t promo Bono, then just show a clip of him promoting his website. I was very disappointed in the “stars” performances, and in Idol’s coordination. If this were a REAL charity event, they would be able to get some real involvment.

Now to the event itself. And here’s where it gets serious…

The best word to describe the failure of “Idol Gives Back” is focus. This was as apparent in the script, venue choice, and concept itself. Splitting the audience between the idol studio and the Disney hall (just across town) made no sense. For an event like this you want to unite and synergize the audience, not fragment them. Then the frenetic scripting of “back to the contestants… who is going home???… lets look at more of the same Africa video… lets see Ryan stand by the Judges” just made Ryan seacrest look like a spaz.

The video packages themselves were just MORE of the SAME! I resent being manipulated by moving image, and this was clearly the intent. Don’t give me sob stories. Don’t give me alligator tears. Inspire me. Don’t depress me. Make me want to be a part of what you’re doing.

Now, picture this: What if you had 30 million dollars to solve one problem in the world? What problem would you solve? Think about that. 30 million dollars is not very much money, considering our federal budget is almost three trillion dollars. So you can only pick ONE problem. One place to help.

Most of the difficulty of the humanitarian work is lack of focus and specificity on a problem. Therefore, the problem is never solved. We just throw more money at general concepts of “Africa” or “Aids” or “Poverty”, and the problems just perpetuate each other. I am not comfortable giving to a cause that is “Children in Africa and here in America”. What cause is that? Is it healthcare? Education? Even those areas are too broad. Are you going to focus on the African AIDS epidemic? Even that is too broad. What are you doing, how are you going to do it, who will execute it, and how will you see/measure results? These are the questions philanthropic americans want to know.

Bono talks a good game. But being “the generation that ends poverty” is a pipe dream. That would mean a massive redistribution of wealth, talent, human resources, and infrastructure. Is he ready to give away all his assets? No more private planes and $10,000 sunglasses like he was wearing on the program? Will he learn 3 other languages and go teach and educate a new generation of leaders? Will he commit to a life of poverty to serve and lift others?

I’m not saying we should do nothing. One saved or improved life is of infinte worth. I just think that if you’re going to mount a national campaign to raise millions of dollars from individuals, foundations, and corporations; then you’d better have a better plan of what you’re going to do with it.

Idol, this was a great wasted opportunity.

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