It’s not that bashing celebrities who “lend their efforts” towards Haiti earthquake relief is suddenly trendy. It’s that someone has to call out crocodile tears. With all sorts of disasters–natural and man-made–wreaking havoc across the globe, maybe A-listers shouldn’t just piggyback on the latest media-friendly calamity to ravage the world. As we’ve already learned, philanthropy is a ruthless game of one-upmanship. And issuing competing charity singles obscures the plight of those who have lost their homes, family members or gone missing. There’s already one crappy charity single in the works, so why make another one? There’s also the question, why do people have to be duped into buying a piece of substandard pop in order to help the cause?
(‘’)It’s a fact of life that massive star power equals massive mediocrity. Too much celebrity tends to make any charity effort bulky and soggy. Precedents: This milquetoast remake of “Walk This Way” and “We Are the World”.
And from the man who’s mostly to blame for foisting “Bleeding Love” upon the world, there’s no reason to believe that “Everybody Hurts” won’t suck entirely when performed by all of these musicians: Elton John, Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, Susan Boyle, JLS, Miley Cyrus, Rod Stewart, Robbie Williams, Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke, Joe McElderry, Take That, Mika, James Blunt, Cheryl Cole, Westlife, Coldplay, James Morrison, Paolo Nutini, Leona Lewis, Florence and the Machine, Take That, and others. But the most charitable part of this? R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe has confirmed that he’s waiving all royalties of this charity single’s sales. For a man that still cares about his musical integrity, that’s impressive.
But before you think that Cowell’s acting purely out of the goodness of his heart, take note: Lewis, Boyle, Burke, McElderry, and Westlife are all artists signed onto Cowell’s record label. Cole, meanwhile, sits alongside Cowell as a judge on X Factor. No matter their intentions, this is a sweeping gesture of goodwill that will show returns in massive publicity. The bigger question: What is Cowell trying to say with the song choice of “Everybody Hurts”? “Get over it, Haiti. Everybody hurts. Everybody suffers a 7.0 earthquake once in a while. But then you have to move on!”