I'm not sure how to evaluate Idol Gives Back. Technically it involves everything I hate about Idol (the sincerity, or "sincerity") with none of the stuff that I love (the competition and interludes of nastiness). But, obviously, it's not supposed to be that kind of show. But how can you actively enjoy watching mini documentaries of suffering children? How can you want to see Annie Lennox sobbing about some boys who just tested negative for HIV?
Then the friend I was watching IGB with compared the show to Jerry Lewis' annual telethon, and I could put it in some context. It's not likely to be good, but if it's entertaining along the way, then the better for it. So I thought it had its moments, good and bad:
--Kids from So You Think You Can Dance performed alongside Idol singers and guess who was more captivating? Hint: not the ones not dancing.
--Ben Stiller was kind of funny, and I say that as someone who has been tired of him for the last four years or so.
--Teri Hatcher singing Carrie Underwood seemed completely bizarre, but there she was, doing "Before He Cheats," and you know what, she didn't suck. And she looked kind of pretty too. Weird.
--Mary Murphy from SYTYCD now realizes that her screeching is negative reinforcement, not positive.
--For some reason the gimmick of having the Idol contestants answering the phone on-stage would have been 50% less irritating to me had they not all been working behind Macs.
--Bono looks like Robin Williams in Popeye.
--Heart freaking rules, OK? And Ann Wilson did gain some more weight but she can still sing better than most anybody. And you could totally see her thinking "Get the f away from me," when Fergie Ferg in her black pleather pants came slithering up next to her during "Barracuda."
--Eli Manning looks surprisingly cute when he's not wearing a helmet.
--Annie Lennox crying. Watch and learn, Brooke.
--It was weird seeing Simon stand up and address the camera. And sexy.
--For my money, Ellen Degeneres was the funniest person of the night. "Hi, I'm Oprah," and "What, Stedman?" Good old Ellen, making me laugh when I wasn't expecting to.
--And Sarah Silverman was pretty funny too. I guess that issue of Vanity Fair was right: women ARE funny.
--The one time I did say "Oh barf" out loud from the pure saccharine/sincerity of the moment was with the current Idols singing "Seasons of Love" from "Rent."
--Dane Cook looks like Michael Johns.
--Now I know what a Miley Ray Cyrus ticket will get you. And also, Billy Ray must thank God every day for that kid of his.
--Oh, Robin Williams. I'll keep it brief but I don't know which was timelier and funnier, your Brokeback Mountain joke or your Yakov Smirnov routine.
--David Spade introduced Brad Pitt who introduced Daughtry? That was unexpected.
Anyway, those were just the things that stood out to me as I watched it, not with the gimlet eye and ready pen that I usually do, because this was about love, or at least not hate. This is by no means a full blow by blow of the show, so what were your favorite/least favorite moments?
And did you donate? I did not. I only donate at Christmas or when a friend of mine guilts me into it.
-I hate the logo for this show. It looks like a mayonnaise label, or a York peppermint candy, or Christmas.
--My friend who was watching it with me and I wondered, how do people watch this show? Do they sit passively and then think, "Teri Hatcher singing? NOW I'm going to donate!" or "Ooh, Brad Pitt is telling me to do this" and then jump into action?