American Idol: David Cook was ‘shocked by Ethiopia in a positive way’

Former American Idol winner David Cook has been talking about his recent trip to Ethiopia, for this weeks American Idol charity based show ‘Idol Gives Back.’ While in Ethiopia, Cook visited the United Nations’ Biruh Tesfa (Bright Future) Project to see firsthand how the UN Foundation is supporting the work of the UN to educate and empower girls.

In an interview with Digital Spy, the “Come Back to Me” singer revealed that he was shocked by what he saw in the African country, but not in the way he expected to be. He said:

“I have to say I was completely shocked by this country in an extremely positive way. When you hear Africa, I immediately think impoverished and everything that goes with that. But I came here, and the people here are so amazingly sweet. They are such nice people, very accommodating and get that we are out here trying to help. The city itself, Addis Ababa, is beautiful – really lush, very green. It definitely has an infrastructure in place. I think it’s just a matter that they just need that kind of boost in the right direction.”

On why he decided to go to Ethiopia David added:

“I think, specifically, to come out here and work with the Biruh Tesfa School and the initiative set up by the UN and the UN Foundation. I wanted to be involved with this program specifically because women are the backbone of society, in my opinion. Every family has a matriarch, and they are the glue that holds that family together. You have to give these girls a basis, you have to give them a platform with which to start from. I don’t think anybody can deny that education plays such an important role just across the board, and the fact that that’s not a right for these girls, but in a lot of cases it’s a privilege, that’s pretty abhorrent. So that was a major mitigating factor for me. That’s why I wanted to get involved.”

Teen sensation Justin Bieber, former winner Carrie Underwood, as well as Alicia Keys, the Black Eyed Peas, Annie Lennox and Jeff Beck will also appear on Idol Gives Back this Wednesday in order to raise money for the following charities: Children’s Health Fund, Feeding America, Malaria No More, Save the Children and the United Nations Foundation.

On his memories of the Idol Gives Back show that aired during his year on the show Cook added:

“I actually remember specifically, on my season when we did Idol Gives Back, that we all snuck up to the balcony and got a chance to watch, from the front of the house, Annie Lennox’s performance. It was just her on the piano, and in the background, they were showing images of children, and it just tore me apart. I think to have that kind of visual moment when everything kind of clicks and you realize that my reality is not their reality, it really puts you in a position where you want to help, and so from that point on I was just kind of chomping at the bit to get involved with Idol Gives Back. This couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Lisa McGarry

Lisa has been watching reality TV for too long now. She won't do any housework unless 'Big Brother' announces it over the tannoy and everything she does has to be put to a public vote!