The big question for AI Gives Back is which story moved you the most? Hope you had the Kleenex handy because it was raining and pouring tears! Let's hope they raise bazillions of dollars for all of these amazing and worthy charities.
To kick off the night, a bunch of finalists from So You Think You Can Dance? bust some moves to Paula's new song. Jennifer Connelly did a digital short about dragging a bucket of water up the stairs of her brownstone and served kids really dirty water. The screen said 1.1 billion people don't have access to clean water. Wow.
Randy and Paula visited a school in Goshen, CA, which is only 150 miles from Los Angeles. It's mostly a farming community where the average income is $9K a year. There's also a huge gang problem, and little Christian who is showing Randy and Paula around the neighborhood is adorable and heartbreaking.
Teri Hatcher introduced Carrie Underwood as she performed "Before He Cheats." The band is made up of all actors: James Denton (Desperate Housewives), Greg Grunberg (Heroes), Jesse Spencer (House), Bonnie Somerville (Cashmere Mafia) and (Bachelor) Bob Guinea.
Bono did a small piece about a woman who have dedicated their life in Africa to helping neighbors who have AIDS. It was very moving.
John Legend played the piano for Miss Fergalicious but he didn't get to sing. Fergie looked amazing and sounded awesome!
Peyton and Eli Manning introduced a piece about Katrina and how New Orleans is doing three years later; specifically, how the children are coping. Eli and Peyton played with kids at a local school. All while playing "Fix You" by Coldplay. Choked up moment!
Celine Dion talked about how some of the money from last year was spent in South Africa on orphans in need. The kids around her were so endearing.
Jimmy Kimmel came out on stage to introduce Simon Cowell and ripped on him, which is awesome! There was talk of nipples and everything! It's like a Simon roast, and we're all invited. Paula could barely handle herself, she was laughing so hard. Go Jimmy!
Simon's filmed piece was about doctors in New York who operated mobile clinics to provide health care to poor children and families. The family they visit is in crisis: The mom has lupus, the daughter has rheumatoid arthritis, and the son has four pins in his knee from surgery. Holy moly, its too much. These doctors are amazing!
Reese Witherspoon walked on stage looking fabulous. Must be the Jake factor! She spoke about education and the Children's Defense Fund. She traveled to New Orleans to check out a "Freedom School," which is an after school program to keep kids out of trouble and develop leadership skills.
Miley Cyrus and her dad traveled to Kentucky. They visited severely impoverished families and find a great after-school program that has raised literacy at grade level to 79 percent. The poverty in this area is frightening and palpable.
Comic relief: Robin Williams came out on stage as the winner of "Russian Idol." Awesomely, and ignoring sensors, he says his name is "Ivan Yakinov." Say that slowly and phonetically (I've [been] yah-king off ... he tricked the sensors! By the end of the bit, Robin ends up grabbing Simon's butt:)
Brad came out on stage and the crowd went insane! Even the dudes have a crush on him. His microphone didn't work and the stage manager came out to the rescue. She said perfectly, "I just wanted a reason to touch him." So do we!! Brad Pitt did a film on Katrina victims. He made a point that houses weren't lost in the storm: Homes were lost, including memories and experiences and lifetimes. Brad and Make It Right raised money to build houses to bring New Orleans back to life, and give families a place to call home. Brad introduced Daughtry, who also visited Africa. He sang a song called, "What About Now," and the message is clear.
Mariah Carey sang while Randy played base for her. The choir joined and it sounded wickedly awesome. Then the Idols closed out the show, all in white, singing "Shout to the Lord." They sounded great especially when the choir joins them.
Lastly, Stiller came out onto an empty stage pretending that Ryan told him to go to the wrong theater. The best part was he starts swearing and even though its "bleeped," it's so awesomely clear that he's saying naughty words. Gotta love those loose Fox censors!
All in all.... very inspirational night. Nice work AI. It's good to remember how blessed we are and definitely important to "give back"!!