Last night,

American Idol

pulled a sleight of hand, sending home none of the six remaining contestants.

After letting Chris Richardson and Jordin Sparks believe that one of them was about to go, Ryan Seacrest said: "How could we let anybody go on a charity night?"

But this was merely a stay of execution. Next week, the two lowest vote-getters will be out.

Any decision would have been overshadowed by last night's starry fund-raiser hosted by Ellen DeGeneres from across town. It was an impressive group: Kevin Bacon, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Helen Mirren, Madonna and others (many in taped appearances) for Idol's designated causes.