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TV Column: Oprah’s Farewell Tour keeps going — and going — through a galaxy of stars

Tuesday — the second day of the farewell broadcast of Oprah Winfrey’s show — continued where the first day left off. Literally. They were both taped at once; otherwise, Oprah would never be caught wearing the same purple gown.

And we were still at the United Center in Chicago.

“One more hour of surprises!” Voiceover Guy said.

“One more hour of legends!” he added.

“Living Legends,” our TV screen said, correcting him.

“One more hour of Television History,” they both agreed.

“We’re still here,” Oprah said to Tom Hanks, who was still wearing the same suit he wore Monday, when he hosted the first part of the second-to-last broadcast of the 25th-season finale of Oprah’s show.

“I want you to have a great show,” said Hanks, pretending this was not the same taping.

“And I know you are in great hands.”

Those great hands belonged to — Will Smith!

Ooh! Oprah shrieked.

And Jada Pinkett Smith!

Sure — why not.

Will was in a three-piece suit. Jada was in a short, white summer dress.

“Tomorrow, Oprah takes the stage for the final bow,” said Will, clearing that up once and for all.

“But first,” said Jada, walking up and getting very close to Oprah’s face.

“I want to thank you for the 25 years that you have given us of You,” said Jada, furrowing her brow earnestly.

“M’kay? We have traveled many roads with you. You have enlightened us,” Jada continued.

“You have empowered us!

“And you have taught us how to Be.”

“And I know you don’t have children of your own,” Jada said, in case anyone hadn’t heard. “But you have mothered millions.”

Will finally got a word in edgewise:

“It’s great to be in the house that Michael Jordan built,” Will said — possibly the lamest segue ever to  . . .

Michael Jordan taking the stage.

“EEEEEKKK!” screamed Oprah, as she and Jada pointed.

The excitement was so electric in the arena, “this feels like I’m playing a game here,” Michael said immodestly, adding: “But I’m very happy.”

“If you ever need me, call me. You need a job? I got one for you,” continued Jordan, who was dressed in a gorgeous khaki suit.

Were there other men in the house who also love Oprah? Will wondered.

“My name is Jamie Foxx and I love ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’ said a guy in the audience, who was dressed in a flashy black suit, and who, in a happy coincidence, was Jamie Foxx. He’d come to tell America that there was so much going on between him and Oprah, he is surprised Stedman Graham — Oprah’s longtime companion — “ain’t whooped my [heinie].”

Foxx — who’s no Madonna when it comes to turning an Oprah tribute into something all about oneself, but who is still no slouch — said the “crazy” part is that it’s not just about the show. It’s also about what she’s done for him.

It’s also about what she’s done for others, he conceded. He erupted into song: Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” At which point, Stevie Wonder himself rose from under the stage, playing the piano.

“Oooohhh!” Oprah shouted “What is this?!”

It’s Stevie Wonder, Oprah.

Next, Will introduced a father of three from Long Island who also had a show of his own, but, unlike Oprah’s show — which is about “everything” — this guy’s show is about “nothing.”

Jerry Seinfeld is in the house!

Seinfeld was wearing a tux. Apparently he did not get the ‘Attire: business wear” e-mail.

According to Seinfeld, being on Oprah’s show is great husband training, “because all husbands are husbands in training because you’re never done with us.”

To be at the United Center and not at a Bulls game proves, Seinfeld said, that he has been trained very well by his wife. It’s a dream, he said, that a disoriented husband would tell to a Freudian shrink:

“I went to see a Bulls game and it was packed with fans. It was the playoffs. Somehow it all changed and I was on the ‘Oprah Show’!”

But he said — jumping from point to point like a chamois in the Alps — the thing Oprah has given to men is to teach them that when they’re in a fight with their spouses, to talk as if they’re being interviewed on “Oprah.”

“Just listen. Nod. And answer the questions.”

“Thank you, Jerry. Love that. That was such a surprise. That was such a lovely surprise,” Oprah said.

Simon Cowell took the stage. He was dressed in a Simon Cowell suit — a little too closely cut, his shirt a little too unbuttoned.

Cowell and Oprah always tell each other the truth, he said, adding patronizingly: “Don’t we?”

“Yes, we do,” Oprah responded obediently.

Cowell’s version of the truth about Oprah is that she’s a great launchpad for musical acts.

And she’s a good kisser.

Then he introduced Rosie O’Donnell, who performed “Fever” — except with the lyrics changed for the occasion:

You’ll never know how much we’ll miss you.

How will we get through the day.

25 years of watching,

And now you’re going to go away.

How could you Oprah?

As Rosie sang, she paused at various points, so an Oprah protege — Dr. Phil, Nate Berkus, Dr. Oz — could make some point, such as :

“I don’t care how fast you make a pancake, it’s got two sides.”


“Your home should tell the story of who you are and who you want to become. It should rise up to greet you each and every day.”

After a break, Oprah’s longtime friends Gayle King and Maria Shriver came onstage. All eyes in our house were on Shriver, as she delivered the line that’s already been dissected since the show was taped last week — shortly after the story of her husband and the housekeeper broke: “You’ve given me love, support, wisdom and, most of all, the truth.”

“Let’s hear it for Truth!” Oprah shouted.

Next was a long segment about all the young people who’ve been able to get educations thanks to Oprah scholarship funds.

Later, Maya Angelou came on stage to read a poem she’d created for the TV show:

“Imagine a little village with an unpronounceable name hidden in [the] poverty-stricken southern state of Mississippi,” Angelou began.

“For 25 years, she listened. She said, ‘Be strong. Be kind. And call me Oprah.

“ ‘Oprah

“ ‘Oprah

“ ‘Oprah

“ ‘Oprah,’ ” Angelou said in closing.

In a rare public appearance, Stedman Graham took the stage.

“What in the name of Jesus?!” Oprah marveled.

Stedman had lovely things to say about Oprah. Then he introduced Aretha Franklin. She sang the slowest version of “Amazing Grace” in recorded history.

“Good Lord!” Oprah said when it was finally over.

We agreed.

One last surprise before they wrapped up the final hour of the second day of the first part of the end run of the 25th season of . . . oh, never mind.

Anyway, it was Usher. Who also did not get the memo and was dressed in weekend casual wear.

He led the group in “Oh Happy Day.”

Ward scores ‘Dancing’ win

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward claimed the hideous Mirror Ball Trophy on Tuesday night as winner of the 12th season on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

Hines may have lost the Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers back in February, but he did defeat actress/professional dieter Kirstie Alley on the penultimate night of the May 2010 TV sweep. Kirstie had gone into Tuesday night’s results show five points behind Hines and Disney princess Chelsea Kane.

Chelsea was third because — yes, although she was the season’s best and most consistent dancer — the other two competitors were Kirstie Alley and Hines Ward. And that’s how it rolls when you let viewers/fans do 50 percent of the deciding.

All three finalists earned perfect scores from the show’s three judges Tuesday when they re-performed their fave dance from the season.

Chelsea and Mark Ballas chose their Wizard Waltz, which had judge Len Goodman’s knickers in such a bunch when they first performed it.

Kirstie chose the cha-cha she did the first week of the show “to show fans [that] the dress is half the size it was in Week 1.” It was her first perfect score.

And Hines re-did the Samba-to-Mama he’d done very early in the 10-week competition.

Like all results nights, the season’s last results show was padded — this time to a whopping two hours — with musical guests.

The Black Eyed Peas sung their hit “Don’t Stop the Party,” which sounded for all the world like Rebecca Black’s YouTube phenom/nightmare “Friday.” Well, who knows where great ideas come from? The Peas do their patented step — the Running in Place Pea — and don’t attempt any lifts.

When ousted supermodel Petra Nemcova returned Tuesday to reprise the waltz she’d done this season to “You Raise Me Up,” suddenly Josh Groban came on stage to sing the tune live — hot off his appearance on the first night of the two-day “Surprise Oprah!”-palooza.

And Kirstie’s dance partner, Max Chmerkovskiy, and the “DWTS” ladies danced while the Go-Go’s sang “We Got the Beat.” Max played a cop and the girls were streetwalkers, who stripped off his shirt and a four-way dance ensued. The Go-Gos have put on a few years and look like high school music teachers, but they’re still rockin.

This 12th edition of “Dancing” will wind up the franchise’s most watched edition ever. Through last week, the dance competition was averaging about 21 million viewers, factoring in both the Monday performance shows and the Tuesday results shows. That’s about a million more people than watched last fall’s much ballyhooed edition, a.k.a. The Bristol Palin Season.



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