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Published on May 21st, 2011 | by thevyne


Spoiler Alert: Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular Shows

By Kailei Richardson

This past Tuesday night my mother and I got a chance to be a part of television history while we attended a taping for two of Oprah’s final shows. In a crowd of 13,000 people at the United Center in Chicago, we experienced Oprah experiencing a “last hurrah” of sorts, called “Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular.” The episodes will air this coming Monday and Tuesday and will indeed be her third to last and second to last shows right before her final episode on May 25th. Spoiler Alert!: If you want to be surprised and watch it without knowing what happened and who was there, stop now! For all of you still reading, here’s a countdown of my nine favorite moments in the show, including some ways those surprises could have been even more spectacular, at least in my opinion:

9) Madonna: Madonna showed up to talk about some of the women around the world whose lives have been changed by Oprah. Since Madonna is also starting a school in Africa, it was nice to see that connection. It was also nice to see Madonna not speaking with an English accent. What could have made it even more spectacular:  If instead, Madonna and Lady Gaga had performed a medley of “Express Yourself” and “Born This Way” together.

8) Beyonce performing “Who Runs the World [Girls]”: Beyonce performed her latest “why-can’t-I-get-this-song-out-of-my-head?” hit: “Who Runs the World [Girls]” to the woman who essentially has run the world for the past 25 years. All of us had tiny LCD lights that wrapped around our fingers which created a really cool effect around the stadium. What could have made it even more spectacular: If Beyonce performed the song once, not twice, because she didn’t like her first performance.

7) Maya Angelou’s Poem to Oprah: Maya Angelou wrote an amazing poem. I almost hesitate calling it a “poem” because the word “poem” does not quite capture the essence of this literary art piece. She recited this to Oprah as Alicia Keys gently played the song “Superwoman” on piano (which, of course, reminded me of the video we created a while back) . What could have made it even more spectacular:  Since the words of “Superwoman” are so powerful, it would have been nice to hear Alicia sing more than one stanza of the song.

6) Stedman’s Sweet Words: We don’t see Oprah’s other half in the public spotlight too often, so it was nice to see “Mr. Winfrey” himself step on stage in homage to his love. He spoke with pride, tenderness and kindness about Oprah which was so sweet and something that we don’t get to see. What could have made it even more spectacular: Oprah was sitting in the crowd when he was on stage, so it would have been nice to see a hug, kiss or some PDA from the couple.

5) Jamie Foxx and Stevie Wonder performance: The second show that was taped that night started off with Jamie Foxx singing “Isn’t She Lovely” to Oprah. Jamie’s smooth voice was amazing and the crowd loved it, but it was Stevie Wonder rising from the stage playing the harmonica to finish the song off that really got the crowd on their feet. What was even more special was a song that Stevie performed next that he had originally written for his mother. Since his mother was not alive to hear the song completed, he decided to update the song a few days before the performance and dedicate it Oprah. What could have made it even more spectacular: Not a thing.

4) Patti LaBelle and Josh Groban: One of the first performances of the night came after a reference to Oprah’s favorite quote from The Wizard of Oz (when Glenda the Good Witch says to Dorothy,  “you’ve always had the power”), which led to Josh Groban singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Gotta love Josh. But as he was singing I leaned over to my mom and said “what would be really good is if Patti LaBelle came in with her rendition.” Not as soon as I said that did Patti LaBelle come on stage belting, “…where troubles melt like lemon drops…” Of course she killed it, and you know her Louboutins were kicked off by the end of the song! What could have made it even more spectacular: I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

3) Aretha Franklin: After Stedman was on stage describing Oprah’s qualities, including her “amazing grace,” he introduced Aretha Franklin who sang “Amazing Grace.” Now THAT was a big surprise. We hadn’t seen Aretha perform in such a public setting since before there were rumors of her having cancer and being on her death bed. Let me tell you Aretha looked thinner than ever and younger than ever. Before long all 13,000 of us were having church up in the United Center! She even got Oprah on stage doing the holy ghost scoot! What could have made it even more spectacular: If Aretha’s song merged into Tina Turner coming on stage getting the crowd on their feet, that would have been awesome. I must say I was surprised Tina wasn’t there, especially considering Oprah’s former obsession with her hair back in the day.

2) Maria Shriver: Let me remind you that Tuesday was only a day after the reports came out about Arnold Schwarzenegger having a child out of wedlock with one of he and Maria’s house staff members. To our surprise, Oprah’s “besties” were introduced and Gayle King and Maria Schriver walked out on stage to greet Oprah. Let’s be real, Maria hasn’t necessarily been known for her stunningly beautiful features. But let me tell you, Maria looked better than ever on Tuesday night. Her hair was fabulous, she had on a form-fitting backless sequins dress, and she looked absolutely amazing. When she was talking about the things she loved about and learned from Oprah and mentioned the word “truth,” Oprah repeated “truth” and raised Maria’s hand. The crowd went wild. What would have made it even more spectacular: Seeing Arnold’s face watching her walk on stage looking beautiful with her head held high.

1) Morehouse College Scholarship Recipients: For more than a decade Oprah has given several million dollars worth of scholarship money to the historically black and all male Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. During the show a video was shown of some of the 400+ recipients talking about what the scholarship meant to them and how it impacted their lives. Then, Kristin Chenoweth came out singing a beautiful song and, with the lights dim in the stadium, hundreds of the scholarship recipients – black men in black suits holding candles – surrounded Oprah on stage and on the floor around the stage. Given the staggering statistics of black male college attendance rates, seeing all of those educated men was such an overwhelming and powerful illustration of the legacy she is leaving on this earth.  What would have made it even more spectacular: If the entire United Center started chanting “THE ‘HOUSE!” or if the news of her lasting legacy on these 400+ black men would be a top story coming out of the show.

There you have it — my favorite moments of the night. Make sure you come back here after watching the shows and tell us your favorite moments!

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3 Responses to Spoiler Alert: Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular Shows

  1. Dennis says:

    first, i admit i am neither black nor a woman, although close: i am white and gay. i happened on your site while looking for information on the last Oprah shows. when i saw the title of your article, ‘Spoiler Alert: Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular Shows’, i thought you may have had an inside source with a list of stars appearing before either show was taped.
    i never anticipated the vile, fetid, abhorrent vomit you spewed forth! i feel sorry for you and your readers if that feculence [aka sh_t] is a standard feature of this column. what i will say is: 1] you definitely need help and i am not talking about putting on those pumps 2] ‘what would have made this blog even more spectacular is if your computer had burst into flames before you had a chance to finish the piece and do you know what? i wouldn’t change a thing!’

  2. La Verne says:

    My son is among those Morehouse College Scholarship Recipients in part2 of the Oprah Surprise Spectacular.

    There were many special moments for me, naturally my most special moment was my son there and and being called when other people saw him visible on camera.

    My second special moment was the Stevie Wonder entrance.

  3. thevyne says:

    Dennis – We’re sorry you had such a negative reaction to our article. It certainly was written in a spirit of fun and positivity.

    La Verne – That is awesome. What a wonderful legacy Oprah is leaving. I am sure it was a fantastic experience for your son to have been a part of it.

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