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The Morning After: Simon's Big Give

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Dissonant Housewife Hatcher does her Carrie Underwood imitation, backed by James Denton. / Ray Mickshaw / FOX

Idol Gives Back returned for a second year last night. Though a massive national charity show is never exactly going to be a political statement, I continue to be impressed that Idol chooses to focus on poverty issues, abroad and in America, which is more than you can usually say for the rest of primetime TV (news, reality or fiction). Like last year, the show once again got me to apply crowbar to wallet, which in some small way pays down my guilt for making the following smart-ass remarks:

* Musical highlights: Snoop Dogg, Annie Lennox. Lowlights: How much do I have to donate to get Teri Hatcher to stop? Also, thank you, Fergie, for ruining Barracuda for me.

* Billy Crystal now has the same haircut as Christopher Walken.

* You can tell a lot about the future Hollywood crosssover potential of this year’s Idols by how well they pulled off pretending to man that phone bank. Jason, Brooke and Amanda just hold the phones to their ears and stare. Carly, on the other hand, is totally Method—she’s even taking fake notes!

* Kudos to Idol for booking Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman. (With Robin Williams, on the other hand, I had to look away out of respect for his past.) It’s a shame they couldn’t sing, though. Were Ben Affleck and Matt Damon unavailable?

* Interesting, by the way, that Idol bumped Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama for time while making time for two Miley Cyrus performances. Puts that whole Leader of the Free World thing into perspective.

Your thoughts? Was it effective? Were you moved? Changed? Or did you just want Idol to Give Back two and a half hours of your life?