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American Idol Daily: Let the giving back begin

November 12, 2008 |  8:44 am

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With all "American Idol" has given us as a nation, America should feel guilty about taking anything more.  But take we must, because "Idol" is giving back once again.

Today, Idol Gives Back, the charitable arm of the "American Idol" complex, announced the disbursements of funds raised in its 2008 telethon.  The show, which aired in April featuring guest appearances by a multitude of stars such as  Bono and  Ben Stiller, raised $64 million to benefit children-centric charities in the U.S. and Africa.  In a press release to be issued  today, IGB announced it  had selected the following groups as this year's beneficiaries of the telethon: Children’s Defense Fund; Children’s Health Fund; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Make It Right; Malaria No More; and the U.S. Programs of Save the Children.

“The fact that 'American Idol' has the ability to inspire millions, create hope and change lives is simply remarkable,” said "Idol" creator, executive producer and IGB mastermind Simon Fuller in the press statement. “We are extremely thankful to our viewers, sponsors and outstanding talent who continue to motivate each and every one of us to contribute to those who need it the most.”

IGB continues to accept donations at americanidol.com.

The rest of the day in "American Idol" after the jump.

After one of the longest gestation periods in "Idol" history, one of the show's most tragically ousted -- the beloved Season Six runner-up Melinda Doolittle -- is at last surfacing with an album almost two years after she entered the "Idol" bubble.  The website TV Grapevine  has posted a classic R&B-sounding track  entitled "Coming Back to You" from the album "It's Your Love" -- due out next February -- as well as an interview with the elusive Mindy Doo.  In the piece, she says little about where she's been or what took her so long to put this album out, but she does admit that like so many "Idol" greats before her, she went to her audition without any thought at all of actually joining the revolution:

"I went with 3 other friends. I didn’t even want to go,” she says. “16,000 people showed up. I thought it was hopeless. We got there at 4:45 in the morning and didn’t audition until 12 hours later.” She and her 3 friends sang together. Only she was chosen. “I still to this day have no idea how that happened. I’m just very grateful."

Across the seas, a massive homecoming is set for Season Seven's spritely star Ramiele Malubay when she returns to her native Philippines for a concert tour next month.   A gigantic star in her native land, where "American Idol" airs alongside "Pinoy Idol," Ramiele will be joined on stage by perhaps the biggest singing sensation in the Philippines, Ogie Alcasid, for a special concert: "Ogie Sings with the Idols."   Author of five gold  and six platinum records, Alcasid also has starred in over 30 films, owns a chain of hot dog stands ("Ogie Doggie") and hosts the Philippines version of "Family Feud."    According to his website, "Ogie Alcasid is a better man because of his music. His music is better because he is a better man."

Ramiele, an impish singer who was always a delightful presence on Season Seven, will tour her homeland in the company of her Idol BFF Danny Noreiga.  Although she left the Philippines as a child, she  speaks fluent Tagalog.  And while taking "Idol" fame abroad so quickly might appear to be walking away from her glory at home, Ramiele follows in the footsteps of Season Three contestant Jasmine Trias, who parlayed her "Idol" run into an ongoing successful career in the Philippines.

And on the other side of the globe, we have another report from the Season Seven alumni.  Just a few short weeks ago, they were riding their steel horses across America arm-in-arm; now, their days under the Idol tent at last at an end, they have each gone their own lonely way trying to carve out a future in a remorseless ACD-driven business.

Tonight's dispatch comes from the great Brooke White, the sweetest-natured of all the Idols, who reports on her myspace blog that she has been holed up in Nashville writing songs for her to-be-announced next album.  No details yet about that project, but Miss Brooke, whose set on the tour included songs by Coldplay, Feist and The Beatles, calms concerns her location might raise among her alterna-fan base:

... I am sure you are thinking, wait a second, is Brooke going country? And the answer is, nope. As I said, Nashville is "music city" and yes, there is a whole lotta country going on in this town, there is just an over-all abundance of music makers hanging around! And there is nothing wrong with country music, I love it, it's just not my focus at the moment. So I thought, why not go somewhere new and check it out. Well I checked it out, and I had an absolutely lovely time and came back with almost five songs written. I had the opportunity to do some co-writing, and I wasn't sure what to expect in this writers town, cause usually my approach is to sit down at the piano or guitar and try to start and finish something. Of course I was a little nervous, or anxious, which there was no need, because everyone I wrote with was fantastic and enthusiastic, and we were able to craft some beautiful little tunes (that I wish I could share with you, but you will have to wait and just listen to "Let it be" a few more thousand times:). So while I spent the majority of the time hanging out on "music row" (literally rows of adorable little houses where music is made ... studios, offices etc.) writing from sun up to sun down I tried to squeeze in a little bit of exploring, just to get a feel of the place, and eat some dang good food.

Miss Brooke also tells poignantly of a brief visit with her Idol BFF Kristy Lee Cook, who  passed through Nashville to sing at the Grand Ol' Opry in support of her album.

As of this writing, just before midnight 10/11/08, the David Archuleta album in its first day of sales sits at No. 2  on the iTunes top albums chart, just behind Taylor Swift.

Sixty-two days  until Season Eight!  Our thoughts and our prayers go out tonight to all the young people  out there at Hollywood Week.

-- Richard Rushfield

Photo credit:  Idol Gives Back


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