Idol raises $60+ million; sponsors quiet about donations; celebs backed out, were cut

After last night’s Idol Gives Back finale/telethon, there were two lingering questions: How much money, exactly, did the show raise from viewers and its sponsors, and where were the celebrities who were supposed to show up but were absent?

While Ryan Seacrest said during the broadcast (on both coasts) that the show raised “almost $30 million,” FOX said today that the show’s efforts “raised over $60 million (and counting) for Charity Projects Entertainment Fund (CPEF) and its charity beneficiaries. An updated total will come Tuesday, but “[d]onations will continue to be accepted through Thursday, May 31.”

As to the donations from various corporations and sponsors, Reuters asked and none would give details. “Sponsors Coca-Cola and Ford declined on Thursday to say how much they had donated, citing business confidentiality. Ford said its contribution was tied to Internet downloads of its ‘Idol’ music videos. AT&T could not be reached for comment,” Reuters reports.

One of those corporate sponsors, Allstate, was tied to Randy’s visit to Katrina-affected areas, and that left some people wondering about that pairing. The Philadelphia Daily News’ Ellen Gray notes that it was weird “in light of the Katrina-related lawsuits the company’s still fighting in that region or the $2.8 million judgment the company lost earlier this month, which included a $1.5 million penalty for failing to pay one homeowner there promptly.”

As to the missing celebrities, some cancelled and others were cut. When Ryan Seacrest announced the event earlier this season, he promised appearances by Borat, Gwen Stefani, Pink, and others who didn’t show. Gwen Stefani and Pink’s appearances “were ‘cut for time,’ and their segments should air on upcoming episodes,” TMZ reported.

Reuters confirmed that, and reported that “Fox said on Thursday some of the talent had to pull out and prerecorded pieces by others had been cut for reasons of time and would be shown later in the season.”

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