FILE PHOTO: Elton John attends the 28th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party, holding the Oscar for Best Original Song for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman”, which he won with Bernie Taupin at the 92nd Academy Awards, in West Hollywood, California, U.S. February 9, 2020. REUTERS/David McNew/File Photo
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A weekend benefit broadcast featuring recording stars performing live music online from home raised nearly $8 million for two charities serving first responders and Americans facing economic hardship amid the coronavirus crisis, sponsors said on Monday.
The Sunday night show, hosted by Elton John from his kitchen, featured Billie Eilish, the Backstreet Boys, Lizzo, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga and Tim McGraw – all appearing by way of smartphones, home cameras or online platforms.
The Fox broadcast network carried the hour-long show, dubbed the “iHeart Living Room Concert for America,” live without commercial interruption, drawing 8.7 million television viewers, Fox said.
The songs were interspersed with short personal stories from nurses, doctors, truckers, grocery staff, and other essential workers as millions of Americans entered a second full week subjected to stay-at-home orders designed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The concert, also broadcast on iHeart radio stations nationwide, urged listeners to donate to two charities, Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.
As of Monday evening, the benefit special had raised nearly $8 million for the two organizations, including $500,000 donated by household products giant Procter & Gamble and a matching sum from Fox.
YouTube, which also made a donation in support of the cause, will continue streaming the benefit show through Wednesday on iHeart Radio’s YouTube channel.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell