Pop Culture

‘Idol’ recruits Stefani, Bono for charity special

Gwen Stefani, Pink and Annie Lennox will perform on a star-studded two-night “American Idol” charity special next month.

U2’s Bono also is expected to sing, and Sacha Baron Cohen will appear in character as Borat. Other performers lined up include crooners Josh Groban and Michael Buble, and classical-crossover combo Il Divo.

“Idol Gives Back” is designed to raise awareness and funds for poverty-relief organizations that help children and young people in the U.S. and Africa. Fox has partnered on the project with Charity Projects Entertainment Fund.

During the April 24 episode, airing 8-9 p.m., the top six finalists will sing. For every vote cast via phone or text message, “Idol” sponsors Coca-Cola, AT&T and others will donate money to charity.

The expanded results show, airing 8-10 p.m. April 25, will feature the celebrities taking the stage. During that episode, viewers will be able to make their own donations via toll-free lines and the Internet. The Ford Motor Co. also will contribute to the cause in connection with its weekly music video.

“Idol” creator Simon Fuller said he hoped the event would be a big success, “allowing us to continue to make these important, world-changing shows for many years to come.”

The money raised by the event will equally benefit the U.S. and Africa, aiding such organizations as the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the Global Fund, Save the Children, Nothing but Nets and Malaria No More.

“Idol Gives Back” also is providing a link on its Web site to One: The Campaign to Make Poverty History. Said Bono, co-founder of the One campaign, “I wouldn’t underestimate the reach of (‘Idol’) or the impact its audience can have.”

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