Despite the recession, "American Idol" fans reached deep into their pockets for the show’s fundraiser "Idol Gives Back." The two-hour television program raised $45 million, Fox announced Friday.
Money raised from the event will benefit various U.S. and international charities including the Children’s Health Fund, Feeding America, Malaria No More, Save the Children’s U.S. Programs and the United Nations Foundation.
The program, which aired live on Wednesday night from both the "American Idol" stage and the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, featured performances by Elton John, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Black Eyed Peas, Annie Lennox, Jeff Beck & Joss Stone and Mary J. Blige & the All-Star Band.
There also were special appearances by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Victoria Beckham, Morgan Freeman, Wanda Sykes, George Lopez, David Cook, Russell Brand, Jonah Hill and Bill and Melinda Gates.