President Bush thanked "American Idol" viewers for helping raise $70 million since last week's "Idol Gives Back" charity special.
Using its popularity, the hit T.V. show drew together corporate sponsors and viewers for a two-night donation drive special Apr. 24-25, featuring charities working to help poor children in the United States and Africa. This season’s program, which still remains the number one show on television, brings in 26 to 37 million viewers per telecast.
"We thank 'American Idol' viewers who have shown the good heart of America," said the president in a taped appearance, according to the Associated Press. "We thank all the celebrities who participated, including Bono, and all the contestants who sang their hearts out for these children."
As part of last week’s two-night charity drive, each casted viewer vote, whether it be by phone or text message, had a sponsored donation to Charity Projects Entertainment Fund to aid youth that are in need. Several pop stars and actors made appearances and performances on the show to support the cause, including Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Ben Stiller, and Madonna.
One of the showcased charities, Nothing But Nets, reported last week that the donation amount garnered by the single event had set a record – surpassing the $5.5 million the campaign has raised since its launch less than a year ago.
Other charities to benefit from "Idol Gives Back" include Save the Children, The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNICEF, and Malaria No More.