US President George W Bush and his wife LAURA have applauded viewers of American Idol after they helped raise a staggering $70 million (GBP35 million) during a special charity edition of the TV talent show. The Idol Gives Back special last week (23Apr07) featured a star-studded line-up including Madonna, Bono, Sacha Baron Cohen, Keira Knightley and Hugh Grant and performances from Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Gwen Stefani, Annie Lennox and past Idol winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Childrens charities in the US and Africa will benefit from the money raised. In a taped message President Bush said, "We thank 'American Idol' viewers who have shown the good heart of America. We thank all the celebrities who participated, including Bono, and all the contestants who sang their hearts out for these children." The President and First Lady then joked about his African dancing performance at a Malaria Awareness Day event last week (ends29Apr07). Bush turned to his wife and said, "Say Laura, you think I ought to sing something?" She replied, "I don't know darling, they've already seen you dance."