Oprah’s two Sydney shows recorded yesterday were a mix of worship, celebrity, aspiration and a moment of drama.
The stars rolled up for the interviews, fans screamed their praise and Winfrey’s trademark exuberance was overflowing with praise for Australia.
Winfrey arrived to the strains of Men at Work’s “Down Under” as 6000 fans screamed their enthusiasm, and launched into “Aussie Aussie, Aussie.”
If that wasn’t enough she hollered to the audience, “ILOVEAUSTRALIAILOVEAUSTRALIAILOVEAUSTRALIAAAAAA!” before beckoning the rest of the world to come on down.
A longer clip of the show’s opening is here.
The first show featured Russell Crowe, Bindi, Robert and Terri Irwin, Canterbury Boys School, cancer sufferer Kristian Anderson and his wife, and Bon Jovi.
The second featured Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Olivia Newton-John, Bono and Hugh Jackman.
Jackman’s ambitious arrival via a flying fox became a moment of drama when it ended in a jolt and damage to his eye. Filming of the show was halted while he was attended to backstage, before he returned onstage.
350,000 fans had applied for tickets online. 95% went to Aussies, who joined the 302 international visitors.
Audience members at the first show all walked away with a pearl necklace. At the second show the gift was a diamond necklace.
Like a not-so-secret billionaire, Winfrey also kept other surprises for other Aussies.
Student and teachers at Canterbury Boys School were told they would each receive a laptop, totalling $1 million worth of goods. Cancer sufferer Kristian Anderson and his wife were given a $250,000 cheque to enable them to give up work.
Media have been falling over themselves to cover the event. Daily newspapers have been covering Winfrey’s every move, and speculated moves, with gusto.
Seven has been over the moon about the fact that Winfrey said she had watched Sunrise. Gayle King spoke to a tickled-pink Grant Denyer yesterday on the Opera House forecourt before Today‘s Richard Wilkins tried to get a word in.
The tourism generated from the show will undoubtedly ricochet for years. Here is a list of where the Oprah audience travelled.
Audience members were treated to a helicopter ride over the Twelve Apostles, a hot air balloon ride, a Yarra River bike ride and a trip to see the Phillip Island penguin parade. They also visited the laneways of Melbourne and attended an event in Federation Square with Oprah, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.
Audience members enjoyed the sunset over Uluru, and an Imma dance performed by the Traditional Owners of Uluru. They also visited the Gabarnmung caves with Margaret Katherine, elder and traditional owner and visited indigenous art galleries in Alice Springs.
Six best friends of more than 25 years stayed at a beautiful Australian resort, went on a boat ride to see wild dolphins, seals and a humpback whale as well as the highest cliffs in the southern hemisphere. They headed to a luxury coastal sanctuary that overlooked the wide expanses of Great Oyster Bay, where local farms produce fresh, succulent oysters in some of the world‟s cleanest waters. They also received a surprise visit from Gayle King at a local winery.
Oprah and the ultimate viewers were treated to an exclusive beach barbecue with world famous Australian chef, Curtis Stone, on Whitehaven Beach. They also had a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, a jetski tour, a bush walk, and a sail around the Whitsunday Islands.
Six guests took an exclusive trip to the Daintree, where the rainforest meets the reef. They took an Aboriginal walk to a waterfall, learned about Aboriginal culture, enjoyed a river cruise and helicoptered over The Great Barrier Reef.
The ultimate viewers took in a Margaret River tour, a scenic chopper flight, Kings Park Indigenous Heritage tour, a bike ride, the Ngilgi Cave tour and a didgeridoo dance performance. They also snorkelled, took in Indjidup Beach and had a surf lesson.
Australia Capital Territory
Audience members visited the Australian War Memorial, including a tour of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, aircraft hall including U.S. exhibits, and Afghanistan Roll of Honour. They also paid a visit to the National Gallery of Australia, the Embassy of the United States and Parliament House.
The audience interacted with untamed native wildlife on Kangaroo Island, „Australia‟s Galapagos‟, indulged in fine food and wine from the Barossa, met outback characters and marvelled at the incredible landscapes of the Flinders Ranges and Coober Pedy.
Ultimate viewers went on eco-tours to explore the forests, valleys and cliff tops, see kangaroos in the wild and enjoy easy bushwalks in the crisp mountain air. They also enjoyed a nocturnal wildlife spotlighting and stargazing tour and colonial heritage tour.
The ultimate audience had a surprise visit from Australian actress Olivia Newton-John. They had a sing-a-long with her and a serenade by Ms Newton-John, and enjoyed dancing with drummers and a hilltop Aboriginal ceremonial meditation. They did some surfing, kayaking, snorkelling and also yoga on the beach at sunrise.
The Hunter Valley
The audience had a private seaplane ride along the coast, a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the vineyards and an exciting impromptu vow renewal in a chapel performed by another member of the “Ultimate Audience” who is a minister.
The viewers started their Australian adventure with bike and walking tours around the city, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House, and a visit to Taronga Zoo. They also enjoyed a party designed by leading Australian food editor and best-selling cookbook author, Donna Hay at The Royal Botanic Gardens and a regatta around Sydney Harbour. Oprah climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge with Gayle King and 249 audience members. They ended their Ultimate Australian Adventure with the two show tapings at the Sydney Opera House.
Source: Daily Telegraph,