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April 8, 2008
Idol Chatter: What's your inspiration?


The Final 8 contestants (pictured) on "American Idol" get to reach down - into their hearts, that is - to find an inspirational song for tonight's show (at 8 p.m. on Channel 40).

A perfect song choice, and you'll win over the judges and the viewers, who might dig even deeper - into their pockets, that is - because this is, after all, "Idol Gives Back" week.


Wednesday night's extravaganza/charity show is two and a half hours. Now, don't get upset, but it was held on Sunday in L.A. so the producers would have a couple days to edit. But trust me, it'll probably be worth it. I saw pics of Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, the Wilson sisters (Ann and Nancy) performing with Fergie (pictured), Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, et al.

And, of course, it's all for a good cause. Last year's inaugural "Idol Gives Back" raised more than $75 million for children living in poverty in the U.S. and battling disease and famine in Africa.

One of the charitable organizations that benefited in 2007 was Save the Children, which received a whopping $14.5 million, which went to its charities both here and in Africa.

I caught up with managing director Mark Shriver just before the show was taped, and he reports - happily - that Save the Children is once again earmarked to receive funds from this season's efforts.

"We stayed in touch with the show's producers and with the foundation that distributed the money," he says. "They were kept abreast with the number of kids we served (more than 24,000), and we were chosen again, which is a great honor."

Shriver adds the money certainly "raised the visibility of povery in this country."

"With this year's allocation, we'll continue to spend money to serve more kids living in poverty in rural America, of which there are about 2.6 million."

A quick "Idol" update: None of the contestants will get the boot on Wednesday night's show but, instead of waiting until next week and eliminating two singers, there will be a live results show on Thursday (at 8 p.m.).

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