'Idol' Gives Back, Takes Nothing Away From The Finalists

Ellen shows off her gorgeous smile Ellen shows off her gorgeous smile

Charity was the “American Idol” theme Wednesday night, and the generosity flowed to the contestants, too — no one was voted off the show.

After a parade of pop stars, including Kelly Clarkson and Celine Dion, Ryan Seacrest announced the non-result: “All your favorites are still in the competition. How could we let anyone go on a charity night?”

Seacrest said the more than 70 million calls and text messages counted this week will be added to next week’s tallies. That means two contestants will be shown the door next Wednesday.

And the six finalists are (still) Melinda Doolittle, Blake Lewis, Phil Stacey, LaKisha Jones, Chris Richardson and Jordin Sparks. The winner will be chosen in May.

The hit Fox show departed from its usual format this week with “Idol Gives Back,” a star-filled fundraising effort. The goal was to raise awareness and money for the newly formed Charity Projects Entertainment Fund and other organizations that fund relief programs for children and young people in extreme poverty in America and Africa.

Wednesday’s two-hour show — broadcast from the “American Idol” stage and Walt Disney Concert Hall, where Ellen DeGeneres was host — featured performances by Clarkson, Dion, Earth, Wind & Fire, Il Divo, Josh Groban with the African Children’s Choir and Annie Lennox.

Jack Black took the stage to croon some verses from Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose.” That performance was panned by Paula Abdul, who said “the School of Rock called, they want their diploma back.”

Stars including Ben Stiller and Madonna appeared in taped segments asking viewers for donations, which could be made by telephone via toll-free pledge lines or on the Internet. On Tuesday’s program, viewers voted as usual for the contestants, with donations coming in from corporations.

“If every person who ever voted for Sanjaya could give just one dollar, we could do some good,” said actor Eric McCormack.

DeGeneres announced she was donating $100,000.

In its sixth season, “American Idol” continues to rule the ratings. It has attracted 26 million to 37 million viewers per telecast this season.

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