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Tuesday night's Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief telethon brought together stars from around the world in a bid to raise millions of dollars for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The hour-long special included performances and messages from A-list celebrities including: Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, George Clooney, Cher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx, all asking viewers to donate to help with relief from the disastrous storms that hit the southern US.
Although the telethon was first announced amid the devastation from Harvey, it was expanded to raise money for victims of Irma, which struck parts of Florida. Estimates from various groups have said that both hurricanes caused between $150 billion and $290 billion in damage to Texas and Florida.
More than 60 people died during Harvey and 12 deaths have been reported in the US from Irma.
In the first hour of the special, generous viewers opened their wallets and raised more than $14million for victims of the storms, according to Billy Crystal.
Heavy hitters: Cher and George Clooney were among the many stars who took part in the Hand In Hand hurricane relief telethon Tuesday night to help the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
TV benefit: Stevie Wonder kicked off the one-hour special that aired on all major networks, as well as on cable and online, with a rendition of Lean On Me with a gospel choir
Had a message: He offered up a prayer for unity and asked that those who deny climate change would 'open their eyes'
Star studded: 'Tonight we want to help,' said Leonardo DiCaprio while Jamie Foxx added: 'We're here to raise money and lift some spirits'
Stevie Wonder opened the special, which was broadcast on all major networks, by offering a prayer. In it, Wonder stated that love conquers division and asked that those who deny global warming wake up and open their eyes.
He then launched into the song Lean On Me with a gospel choir adding back-up vocals.
From there, other stars offered their own messages of hope and pleas of help to those watching.
Beyoncé, in a recorded message, stated that racial divisions, skin color and gender differences all disappear as people come together to help one another.
She also warned that climate change and its impacts on the world are real.
'Natural disasters don’t discriminate. They don’t see if you're an immigrant, black or white, Jewish or Muslim, rich or poor…We're all in this together,' Beyoncé said.
'Tonight we come together in a collective effort to raise our voices, heal our communities, lift out spirits and heal,' the Houston native added.
Harvey, which came ashore on August 25 as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, has displaced more than one million people and damaged some 200,000 homes in a path of destruction stretching for more than 300 miles.
Hopeful: Beyoncé, in a recorded message, stated that racial divisions, skin color and gender differences all disappear as people come together to help one another
Celebrity volunteers: Behind the scene, stars such as (from left to right) Elizabeth Banks Eric McCormack, Tom Hanks, Justin Bieber, Sofia Vergara who were ready to answer phones and take calls
The phone bank was staffed by A-listers including (from left to right) Cher, Billy Crystal, Barbra Streisand, Stephen Colbert and Tyler Perry
Meanwhile in Florida, power outages affected almost five million homes, organizations and businesses, among them gas stations, which need the electricity to keep pumps working. It marks the largest power outage in Florida history.
In the Florida Keys, 25 percent of homes were completely destroyed and Jacksonville saw historic flooding with surge flooding hitting a record 5.57 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
In the city of Naples, where the airport recorded a 142mph gust – the highest recorded in Florida – city officials estimate the storm left behind approximately $100million in damage.
As music played, the camera panned to stars, including Oprah, Kate Hudson and DJ Kahled, waiting to take phone calls from people wanting to donate to the charities handpicked to benefit from the night's efforts.
Best friends Julia Roberts and George Clooney sat next to each to other. Meanwhile late night host Stephen Colbert rubbed shoulders with Barbra Streisand.
Helping out: Oprah Winfrey was enthusiastic about taking calls and donations
Kate Hudson kept busy taking calls in Los Angeles for the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
DJ Khaled brought along his young son to help out for the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Stars such as (from left to right) Josh Groban, Marcia Gay Harden and Jeremy Renner all helped out holding signs that read 'Call Me' or 'Donate Now'
Travis Scott sat next to Seinfeld's Jason Alexander at the Hand in Hand telethon
Following the cavalcade of celebrities, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx then explained what the evening was about.
'Tonight we want to help,' said DiCaprio, whose foundation donated $1million to the United Way Harvey Recovery Fund.
'We're here to raise money and lift some spirits,' said Foxx. 'When tough times hit this is who we are .... when we join together hand in hand.'
'Let's help lift victims out of the darkness,' DiCaprio urged.
Cher and Oprah Winfrey shared a story of heartbreak from Hurricane Harvey in Texas
Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman appeared from Nashville and shared another story of tragedy from the hurricane in Texas
The Pretty Little Liars co-stars took a photo with Luke Brian which Witherspoon posted to Instagram
Blake Shelton and Usher sang a duet of Stand By Me for the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Tori Kelly and Despacito's Luis Fonsi sang a bilingual version of Hallelujah for the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Justin Timberlake narrated stories from the floods for the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Oprah Winfrey and Cher, followed by Reese Witherspoon with Nicole Kidman, recounted horrific and tragic tales from the hurricane in Texas.
Usher and Blake Shelton then performed the hit Stand By Me together.
The special continued with a mix of live musical performances and tales of heartbreak from the communities most deeply affected by the hurricanes.
Justin Bieber came on stage to lead everyone in prayer.
'Donate, whatever you can, it doesn’t have to be much — just whatever you can possibly give,' he told folks watching at home.
Justin Bieber appeared on stage to offer a prayer for those in need at the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Bieber then joined Gwen Stefani and Sofia Vergara on phone answering duties at the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Tom Hanks was joined by wife Rita Wilson to encourage donations at the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Diddy and Kerry Washington joined in the appeal for money at the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Hilary Duff and Kelly Rowland got to chat as they prepared to answer calls at the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Sam Smith beamed as he chatted to a potential donar on Tuesday evening
James Bond star Daniel Craig made his presence felt at the event on Tuesday
The Rock spoke about how his family had survived Hurricane Andrew that hit Florida in 1992, and said any donation, no matter how small, would make a difference.
'There are no strangers in the aftermath of a hurricane,' he said. 'No political parties, no agendas…It’s all about survival and coming together as one because that’s all that matters.'
Will Smith spoke of the heroism of those who went to the aid of others when the hurricanes hit.
'In recent days, we've witnessed all kinds of American champions across our nation standing together hand in hand and facing down real danger,' Smith said.
'These American heroes have saved lives and restored faith in so many ways.'
Will Smith spoke of the heroism of those who went to the aid of others when the hurricanes hit
Selena Gomez also shared a recorded message at the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Clooney reunited with his Ocean's Eleven co-star to urge folks watching Tuesday night's Hand In Hand telethon to dig deep into their pockets
Gwen Stefani and Dennis Quaid delivered a heartfelt message at the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Jared Leto sported a Lone Star state T-shirt as he showed up to volunteer at the Hand in Hand hurricane relief telethon
Robert De Niro joined Jon Stewart to remind viewers of the best of America.
'There are those who say we are a nation divided,' De Niro said.
But, Stewart added: 'We're sure of who we are and what matters - to help those in need and who we've never met.'
Harking back to the 16th anniversary of 9/11 on Monday, DeNiro recalled: 'We showed the world the enduring values that define us as a people.'
Robert De Niro joined Jon Stewart to remind viewers of the best of America and harking back to 9/11 said: 'We showed the world the enduring values that define us as a people'
The Rock spoke about how his family had survived Hurricane Andrew that hit Florida in 1992, and said any donation, no matter how small, would make a difference
The telethon aired live on the East Coast from 8 to 9 p.m. on all the main networks plus some cable channels, Twitter, YouTube and social media networks. During that time, more than $14 million was raised for hurricane relief.
The telethon will be repeated on the West Coast and the donation hotline will stay open through the night.
During the telecast, it was announced that Michael Dell of Dell Technologies and Verizon are covering the production costs.
Texan Matthew McConaughey helped close out the telethon from the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas
There followed a performance by George Strait with Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett
Celebrities joined in and performed live from New York Los Angeles and Nashville with a special finale from Texas.
Matthew McConaughey joined the telethon live from the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas.
He introduced a special performance by country legend George Strait who was joined on stage by Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett.
Demi Lovato, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and CeCe Winans ended the special with a rousing rendition of The Beatles' With a Little Help from My Friends
The final song was introduced by Tim McGraw and Faith HIll from the Grand Ole Opry
Lovato and Paisley shared a laugh on stage in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry
Luke Bryan and McGraw had time to catch up with each other at the Grand Ole Opry House during the telecast
Reese Witherspoon caught up with Randy Travis at the Grand Ole Opry
The one-hour show ended with The Beatles classic With A Little Help From My Friends delivered in rousing fashion on stage in Nashville by Demi Lovato, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and CeCe Winans.
To raise even more awareness, the stars took to social media to share snaps with each other to their fans who may have not been watching TV.
Sofia Vergara shared a photo where she basked in Oprah's glory, writing: 'I'm stalking @oprah while waiting to answer your call!!'
Basking in Oprah's glory: Sofia Vergara shared this photo to Instagram, writing: 'I'm stalking @oprah while waiting to answer your call!!'
Thankful: Lupita Nyong'o celebrated the early figure of $14 million raised, writing: 'Bruce Willis and I say thank you!'
Winning pair: Kerry Washington urged her 4.1 million followers to give a call as she sat with Jared Leo at the telethon
L-O-Leto: Jared shared a sillier snap with the Scandal star to Snapchat as he gave fans a glimpse behind the scenes
Up close and personal: Jared seemed starstruck by the Pretty Woman Julia Roberts herself, writing 'The one and only'
The (little) man of the hour: The Oscar winner had to get a snap with DJ Khaled and his adorable son Asahd
Squad: Lily Aldridge gave her 5.1 million Instagram followers a glimpse of her fellow Victoria's Secret model friend Karlie Kloss
Money moves: Nicki Minaj scanned the room as the celebrity pledges took phone calls from those donating via telephone