American Idol will air its charitable Idol Gives Back TV special when the series returns for season nine, FOX confirmed Tuesday.
Billed as a "television event and musical celebration," the broadcast — to air April 21 during season nine's top 7 results show — will raise awareness and funds to benefit U.S. and international charities.
This year, confirmed beneficiaries include Children's Health Fund, Feeding America, Malaria No More, Save the Children's U.S. Programs and the United Nations Foundation.
Idol Gives Back aired in 2007 and 2008, but did not take place last season due to the economic climate. Now, the show hopes fans — who have helped raise more than $140 million for charity to date — can afford to give again.
"In today’s tough economic times, it’s more important than ever – but more difficult than ever – to raise money to help those in need," Fox's President of Alternative Entertainment, Mike Darnell, said in a statement Tuesday. "With this year's Idol Gives Back, we’re focused on raising awareness about the challenges that so many children and families currently face and demonstrating how even small donations can make a difference and help save lives. Every little bit counts."
The IGB broadcast will be Idol's first without veteran judge Paula Abdul, who walked away from the series in September after a stalled contract dispute, and was replaced by Ellen DeGeneres.
"I think Ellen will b a gr8 judge on Idol," Abdul Twittered as of her replacement news broke. "She is wildly funny, talented and I wish her the best of luck!"
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