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Organizers behind Friday's Hope for Haiti Now telethon say it has raised more than $57 million for the victims of the Haiti earthquake, setting a record for disaster relief telethons, according to the BBC.
More than 100 celebrities participated, either by performing or answering telephones to take donation pledges. George Clooney, who led the effort to organize the event, said: "At the core of every religion is the belief that we care for one another, we take care of each other especially in times of need.”
In a night filled with stars, there were many stellar moments. Alicia Keys opened the telethon with a moving rendition of "Prelude to a Kiss." Backed by a gospel choir, Madonna transformed her hit song, "Like Prayer," into an poignant ballad. Jennifer Hudson belted out the Beatles’ "Let It Be." Justin Timberlake crooned a soulful version of Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujiah." And Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock harmonized on an acoustic rendition of the classic "Lean on Me." One of the night's most buzzed-about performances featured Bono, Rihanna, Jay-Z and The Edge lending their talents to "Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)," a song co-written by Bono and producer Swizz Beatz for the occasion.
Other musical performers included Stevie Wonder, Shakira, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay, Christina Aguilera, Taylor Swift, John Legend, Dave Matthews and Neil Young.
The action behind the scenes made history, too, reuniting some famous exes and bringing together as many A-listers as the Vanity Fair Oscars party does. People.com reports that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, who split five years ago, ended up on the same CBS Studios soundstage in L.A.; Pitt presented while Aniston manned the phones, but sources said the two did not meet up.
After singing on the broadcast, Timberlake bumped into his ex, Cameron Diaz, who was answering phones and, according to People sources, the two chatted amicably. "The celebrities were so low-key,” a source said. “Everyone drove themselves, there were no handlers, no entourages. Everyone was in a good mood. Most people showed up early and many celebrities, including Chevy Chase, Olivia Wilde and David Archuleta, stayed after the telethon was over so they could keep answering phone calls."
At one point, Penelope Cruz approached Clooney -- who from all accounts was “very hands on” during the telecast -- about his work pulling the history-making telethon together, telling him, “You’re a genius.”
After the telethon, many stars hit L.A.’s Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel, where Clooney chatted with DiCaprio, Witherspoon, Daniel Craig, Kid Rock, Aniston and Gerard Butler.
An onlooker told People, "They were obviously celebrating the huge amount of money that they raised, and cutting loose at the same time."
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