Simon Cowell Reflects On ‘Idol Gives Back’

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (April 30, 2007) -- Access caught up with Simon Cowell this weekend fresh off the star-studded “Idol Gives Back” special, and he opened up his sensitive side for once.

The normally acerbic Cowell became introspective when asked about the charity benefit, which he says was a life-changing experience.

“It changed everyone who was involved with the show you know,” said Cowell, who traveled to Africa with Ryan Seacrest to experience firsthand what they were raising money for. “You can’t see what we saw [in Africa] and not be changed by that. But we were very very careful on the show that we weren’t going to preach to people or get political, because that was never our intention.”

He stressed the importance of “American Idol” viewers making up their own minds when it came to contributing to relief efforts for African and American children in need.

“Our intention was, make people aware and then they make their own decisions,” he stated. “And obviously, to make a bigger show than we would have at that particular time — which is what we did.”

And the show was certainly big. Cowell and the other “Idol” regulars were joined by superstars including Bono, Madonna, Julia Roberts, Celine Dion, and dozens of others to promote the relief cause.

“Idol Gives Back” co-host Ellen DeGeneres pledged $100,000 on the event’s live telecast, and Simon told Access that he made a sizeable donation himself.

“I did make a very significant, very significant six-figure sum,” he said. “But I didn’t feel comfortable saying that on the show.”

With “Idol Gives Back” raising over $60 million dollars, it seems only natural that something like this will be done again in the future.

“When we’re given an opportunity, I think once a season we would try our best to do something like that, yes,” said Cowell, adding, “Providing that what’s our viewers and audience want though. I mean that really is our consideration.”

Funds raised by the “Idol Gives Back” event will go to the newly formed Charity Projects Entertainment Fund for distribution to groups including America’s Second Harvest: The Nation’s Food Bank Network, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

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