"American Prayer" - American Idol Final Six

Digital Single

Track Listing:

Background Information

American Idol is an American television show, where contestants compete each week in a singing competition. The show’s sixth season, in 2007, introduced a show called “Idol Gives Back” where funds were raised for relief programs for children and young people in extreme poverty. The show was hosted by Ellen Degeneres and featured a number of celebrities appearing on the show.

Bono met with the final six contestants in the competition and discussed his work giving back with the contestants. He also spoke about his campaign work with ONE (The campaign to Make Poverty History). He was also present as the contestants sang and recorded a song he had written with David A. Stewart and Pharrell Williams, “American Prayer.” During this recording session Bono worked as an executive producer on the track providing suggestions for how the song should be arranged and sang. Bono commented “I wouldn’t underestimate the reach of (‘Idol’) or the impact its audience can have.”

The song was aired as a live performance on April 25, 2007 on the “Idol Gives Back” special, the second of two nights dedicated to the special. The contestants were down to six remaining performers and all six sang on the track. The performers are Chris Richardson, Melinda Doolittle, Blake Lewis, Lakisha Jones, Phil Stacey, and Jordin Sparks. The performance closed the show. It was reported that more than $60 million dollars for charity were raised during the show.

A studio version of the song was released on iTunes in the USA on April 27, 2007. The press release from (RED) listed the following:

Bono’s (RED) song from Idol Gives Back available on iTunes now: Get on iTunes now to buy your own copy of the (RED) song “American Prayer” on iTunes, written by Bono, Dave Stewart and Pharrell, and performed by American Idol finalists, on this week’s star-studded Idol Gives Back special. All proceeds from the sale of the song will be sent to the Global Fund, to fight AIDS in Africa.

The digital single was released with a unique image with the American Idol Idol Gives Back logo, and the product (RED) logo. The track was released in 128kbps quality.

The song had previously been sung by Beyoncé with Bono, The Edge and Stewart at the 2003 concert in Cape Town for Nelson Mandela called 46664, and that live version had been released. David A. Stewart would later record a studio version with a number of artists in 2008. Stewart describes the song in the liner notes with his version: “It’s impossible to explain the writing of American Prayer with Bono in a short paragraph, so to give you a hint: we wrote it in Dublin, Los Angeles, Miami, London, New York and Cape Town. During the process we had many versions and worked with Timbaland, Dr. Dre, The Neptunes; with Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Luther Vandross, Youssou N’Dour, Aaron Lewis, and we even filmed Oprah Winfrey singing it! This is not an easy story to tell in a few words.”

Also released on the same day in the iTunes store was a video version of “American Prayer” performed by the final six contestants, complete with crowd noise, and clapping throughout as it was aired on the show. Bono can be seen briefly at the start of the clip, but he is not heard on the track. The six finalists perform the song in front of the television audience, all dressed in white. The video was 640×480, and was available to purchase on the iTunes platform. The video is 03:14 in length.

The American Idol contestants version is at this time, no longer available on iTunes.

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