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President Obama and others join 'American Idol' for 'Idol Gives Back'

"'American Idol' has always been about changing lives, on the stage and around the world." - Barack Obama

I always find it surreal to see politicians making pop culture crossovers. President Obama and the first lady appeared via video to open the "American Idol" special "Idol Gives Back" charity show, encouraging viewers to donate. The first couple even threw out references to Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell.

For me, the most touching moment of the night was the story of an AIDS orphan going from being skeletal to, with the help of AIDS drugs, looking like a healthy little girl.

Captain "Sully" Sullenberger, the famed pilot who successfully landed a plane in the Hudson River, was among those who appeared on Idol Gives Back, along with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Bill Gates. There were also plenty of Hollywood stars, such as Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock, plus musical performances from the Black Eyed Peas, Jeff Beck, Elton John closing the night with "Your Song," and more.

Check out Elton John's performance here:

If you'd like to donate, you can do so at Idol Gives Back.

(And, because we like talking about Conan O'Brien here, it was interesting to read that O'Brien was invited to appear on Idol Gives Back, but didn't appear after NBC barred Conan from appearing unless he gave up his severance with NBC.)