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An awards show unlike any other

By Kyle Almond, CNN
December 12, 2011 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
The top ten CNN Heroes gather for photos on the red carpet at The Shrine Auditorium for 2011 CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute on Sunday, December 11. The top ten CNN Heroes gather for photos on the red carpet at The Shrine Auditorium for 2011 CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute on Sunday, December 11.
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2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
2011 CNN Heroes: Red carpet
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" will air Sunday at 8 p.m. ET
  • The live, global telecast will be at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles
  • The annual show honors the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2011; one will be named Hero of the Year
  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews the Heroes and celebrities exclusively for CNN.com

(CNN) -- Televised award shows normally celebrate athletes and entertainers for their latest career accomplishments.

But on Sunday night, the roles will be reversed.

For the fifth straight year, celebrities will join CNN in honoring 10 everyday people who are working to make the world a better place. "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" airs live at 8 p.m. ET from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

"It's incredible to see the amount of hard work and humility that these people have, uplifting the people around them," said actor Rainn Wilson, who has attended the show in previous years. "Their stories are always the same: They're a normal person, they're doing a normal job ... and they see a need."

Celebrities participating in this year's show include comedians Jerry Seinfeld and George Lopez; actors J.R. Martinez and Chris Colfer; musical artists Ice Cube and will.i.am; model Christy Turlington Burns; former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner; and actresses Laura Dern, Mary-Louise Parker and Sofia Vergara.

Kid Rock will be performing the song "Care" from his platinum-selling album "Born Free," while Miley Cyrus will be performing her triple-platinum hit "The Climb."

Martinez, an Iraq war veteran who recently won the latest "Dancing With the Stars," will co-host the red-carpet show with A.J. Hammer of HLN's "Showbiz Tonight." Actress Holly Robinson Peete will be hosting a social media suite on the red carpet.

During the show, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be conducting exclusive backstage interviews that can only be seen on CNN.com or your mobile device. Join the conversation

Who are this year's Heroes?

War widows, "motel kids" and the working poor are among the many people who have been helped by this year's Top 10 CNN Heroes.

CNN Heroes: The top 10 revealed
Anderson Cooper prepares for CNN Heroes
CNN Heroes: Backstage pass
CNN Heroes: Time-lapse

All of the Heroes were nominated by CNN viewers for their hard work and commitment.

Each person in the Top 10 receives a $50,000 grant. At the end of the tribute show, hosted by Anderson Cooper, one of the Top 10 will be announced as the CNN Hero of the Year and receive an additional $250,000.

The Hero of the Year was chosen by the public in an online vote that ended Thursday. Fans can still make a direct donation to their favorite Hero by using Google Wallet. Google is waiving all transaction fees to make sure 100% of the donations go directly to the Heroes' nonprofit organizations.

This is the fifth year CNN has conducted its annual search for CNN Heroes. In those five years, the campaign has profiled more than 160 people on CNN and CNN.com. And there have been roughly 40,000 nominations received from more than 100 countries.

"We hope to empower these selfless individuals to persevere in their humanitarian efforts to create progress," said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide.

Here are the Top 10 Heroes of 2011, in alphabetical order:

Eddie Canales
Eddie Canales' son was paralyzed during a high school football game in 2001. Today, Canales' nonprofit, Gridiron Heroes, provides emotional and financial support to high school football players who've sustained life-changing spinal cord injuries.

Taryn Davis
Taryn Davis was just 21 when her husband, an Army corporal, was killed in Iraq. In 2007, she created the American Widow Project. To date, her nonprofit has provided a community of support to more than 900 young military widows.

Replay times
Miss the show? Don't worry, you can catch it later this month.

CNN
Dec. 17, 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET
Dec. 24, 7 p.m. ET
Dec. 25, 6 p.m. ET

CNN INT'L
Dec. 12, Noon and 8 p.m. GMT/London

Sal Dimiceli
Sal Dimiceli has spent decades helping people get back on their feet. Through a local newspaper column and his nonprofit, The Time Is Now To Help, Dimiceli assists about 500 people a year with food, rent, utilities and other necessities.

Derreck Kayongo
Derreck Kayongo's Global Soap Project collects partially used hotel soap and reprocesses it to save lives. Since 2009, the Atlanta-based nonprofit has provided about 150,000 bars of soap for communities in 10 countries.

Diane Latiker
Surrounded by gang violence in her Chicago neighborhood, Diane Latiker opened her home to area youth and started a community program called Kids Off the Block. Since 2003, her program has helped more than 1,500 young people.

Robin Lim
Robin Lim became a midwife after her sister died from complications during pregnancy. Since 2003, she and her team in Indonesia have helped thousands of low-income women have a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Patrice Millet
After being stricken with cancer, Patrice Millet dedicated his life to helping children in his native Haiti. His nonprofit youth soccer program provides free equipment, coaching and food to hundreds of participants from the slums and teaches them to become responsible citizens.

Bruno Serato
Since 2005, chef Bruno Serato has been serving free pasta dinners to children, many of whom are poor and live in motels with their families. Today, Serato provides dinner seven days a week to more than 300 children at the Boys & Girls Club in Anaheim, California.

Richard St. Denis
Since 2008, Richard St. Denis and his organization, World Access Project, have provided hundreds of wheelchairs and mobility aids to people living with disabilities in rural Mexico.

Amy Stokes
Amy Stokes is redefining "family" for South African children affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty. Her organization, Infinite Family, has connected almost 500 teenage "Net Buddies" with nearly 300 volunteer mentors from all over the world via the Internet.

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Part of complete coverage on
Robin Lim, who has helped thousands of poor Indonesians have healthy pregnancies and births, was named the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year.
Tears, inspiration, songs and laughter -- all in a night's work for Sunday's "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute."
See the remarkable everyday people who were honored this year at "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute."
Who did you vote for CNN Hero of the Year? How do you define a hero? See what everyone had to say and share your thoughts.
Donate to one or more of this year's top 10 CNN Heroes, and they'll receive 100% of the funds. Thanks to Google, all transaction fees will be waived with your donation.
The Top 10 CNN Heroes and celebrities turn out on the red carpet ahead of the big awards show.
This year's Heroes passionately describe their cause and why it is so important to them.
Celebrities are giving back, too, and singing the praises of CNN Heroes.
Everyday people changing the world: Bios, issues in the world -- and how you can nominate someone for 2012!
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