LOS ANGELES This year's "Idol Gives Back" television special raised almost $45 million for children's, hunger and health charities in the United States and Africa, organizers said on Friday.
Sir Elton John, Alicia Keys and Carrie Underwood were among the stars who performed in Wednesday's live special event organized by the producers of top-rated singing contest "American Idol."
Two previous editions of "Idol Gives Back" in 2007 and 2008 raised a total of around $140 million from audience and corporate donations.
Some 18.3 million Americans watched Wednesday's show on Fox television, which was scaled down partly because of the U.S. economic recession, and expectations were lower. The $45 million is expected to rise when proceeds from iTunes sales are added, Fox said.
"Once again, I am over overwhelmed by the generosity of the "American Idol" viewers, our sponsors and our special benefactors. I am so thankful to all of the celebrity guests and performers who appeared Wednesday night to support 'Idol Gives Back'," said "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller.
The money raised will be shared between the Children's Health Fund, Feeding America, Malaria No More, the U.S. Programs of Save the Children and the United Nations Foundation.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also partnered with "Idol Gives Back" on the event.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, Editing by Christine Kearney)