'Idol Gives Back' Returns Next Year

They didn't have it last year, thinking it'd be odd to ask people for donations in the middle of bad economic times. This year, Idol Gives Back returns, and it probably means the economy's working fine now, right?

Well, that, and American Idol producers announcing last year that the charity effort--where former and current contestants join a star-studded cast in raising awareness and funds for various charities--will be held every two years. There was one back in the seventh season; it was skipped in the eighth; and there will be another one of the upcoming ninth. To be exact, it'll be on April 21, 2010, on a two-hour special from 8pm.

"This is our opportunity to reach out and support the people of America and around the world who need our compassion and generosity to improve or even save their lives," Idol creator Simon Fuller said in a statement. "America will undoubtedly prove once again what a remarkable and generous nation it is. For American Idol to be able to facilitate this kind of initiative makes me very proud."

"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 executive Mike Darnell said. "[This year] we're focused on raising awareness about the challenges that so many children and families currently face and demonstration how even small donations can make a difference and help save lives. Every little bit counts."

So far, Idol Gives Back has raised over $140 million in funds for charities. This year's supported groups include the Children's Health Fund, Feeding America, Malaria No More, Save the Children, and the United Nations Foundation.

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