After months of planning to pull off the most spectacular fan surprise in television history, Oprah aired the first of her two shows broadcast from the steps of the scenic Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Oprah arrived in a stunning red dress to the screams, chants, and ecstatic cries of several thousand of loyal “Oprah Show” viewers. Greeting the electrified crowd with the traditional cheer of Australian sporting games, “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!,” Oprah took the stage. “I love Australia!” The media superstar cried and the roar of the crowd affirmed that Australia loves Oprah too.
During the trip, Oprah’s viewers participated in a number of excursions that took them all over the continent. From wineries and wild life preserves to snorkeling around the Great Barrier Reef, Oprah’s travel guest got to sample nearly everything Australia has to offer, including its star-studded citizens. Oprah kicked off the first show with a tribute to the late Steve Irwin, the renowned Crocodile Hunter. Irwin’s legacy along with his love for the wild (and its lively wild-life), lives on in the stunning Australia Zoo. His wife, Terri, son, and young daughter all live and work inside the zoo, bringing Irwin’s message of wild-life education to millions. Oprah invited the entire family to talk about their work and life what it is like to dwell among creatures of all shapes, sizes, and types. Each child appeared carrying a snake, proudly telling Oprah about what it means to them to carry on their father’s work.
The next superstar to grace Oprah’s opera house stage was the rap and hip-hop mogul, Jay-Z. He and Oprah chatted about the release of his book, “Decoded,” which she declared one of her most favorite things. Everyone in the lucky audience received a copy. However, Jay-Z was there to do more than schmooze with the queen of talk. During his visit to Australia (timed with the dates of several of his concerts), Jay-Z visited the Canterbury Boys’ School, a private school for young boys dealing with challenging circumstances. One of their teachers had written Jay-Z a letter about how much her students admired his music and accomplishments and how much it would mean for them to earn a visit from the hip-hop icon. Jay-Z not only made good on this invite, but he, along with Oprah and the team at Microsoft, Australia, were able to provide each student and teacher with their own HP laptops. In addition, the people at Microsoft also contributed to helping remodel the school’s music room and library. The entire school was treated to a front row seat for their surprise, watching Oprah make the announcement from inside the Sydney Opera House.
More viewer surprises and tributes unfolded. Oprah featured the heart-wrenching story of Kristian and Rachel Anderson, a young couple with two children whose lives were rocked by Kristian’s diagnosis of liver and bowel cancer. As a tribute to Rachel for standing by her husband and going beyond the distance to support her family in every way, Kristian filmed a moving tribute to his wife and posted it on YouTube. The video went viral instantly. Kristian and Rachel appeared alongside Oprah, happy to announce the positive progress of Kristian’s treatment. In recognition for their strength and struggle, Oprah told the couple to “take some time off,” presenting the couple with a check for $250,000 dollars so they would not have to worry about their bills.
A rousing concert by Bon Jovi rounded out the first of her two-part show extravaganza. The iconic rockers performed two of their hugest hits, including the inspirational, “It’s My Life,” an apt song for a woman who proves what it means to live life to the fullest.
Coming Up: Part 4: Oprah parties with Bono, Hugh Jackman, and the rock-musical legend, Olivia-Newton John!