Fans Await Final 'Oprah' Taping

While the second-to-last "Oprah Show" aired, fans lined up Tuesday for the final taping.

By Britni Day and Lauren Jiggetts
|  Tuesday, May 24, 2011  |  Updated 3:10 PM CDT
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Stars Crowd Oprah's Stage For Final Show

AP

Aretha Franklin and Oprah Winfrey acknowledge fans during a star-studded double-taping of "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," Tuesday, May 17, 2011.

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About 75 excited fans stood in line Tuesday morning for the top-secret  final "Oprah Show" taping.

Some fans found out Friday and Saturday they scored tickets to the last show, airing Wednesday, and they flew in from all over to attend the 1 p.m. taping.

They were asked to wear bright colors and "bring excitement." Some wrote essays about being ultimate viewers and about Winfrey's inspiration and impact on their lives.

Earlier Tuesday, the second-to-last Oprah show aired, featuring celebrities that came out in full force last week at the United Center for the farewell spectacular.

Fans packed into the Chicago arena for laughter and tears from celebrities, singers and inspirational guests. For those who missed the blowout, here's a peek at Tuesday's episode.

Emcee Tom Hanks handed over the show to Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Fans stopped cheering for only a minute as Jada looked Oprah in the eye and said, "Thank you for the 25 years that you have given of you. And I know you don't have children of your own, but you have mothered millions."

Oprah blinked back tears as Will Smith introduced Michael Jordan, who thanked Oprah for inspiring him as a person. Before he left, he joked with Oprah, "Call me if you need me. And if you need a job, I've got one for you." 

The myriad of singers for Oprah began with Jamie Foxx starting "Isn't She Lovely" and Stevie Wonder rising from the stage on a grand piano to join the duet.

Jerry Seinfeld kept the smiles coming with a short comedy act. "I've been fortunate to be on the Oprah show and it's the greatest gift that a husband-in-training could receive. And to be here tonight at the United Canter and to not be at a Bulls game proves that I have been trained very well," Seinfeld said.

Gayle King, Maria Shriver and Queen Latifah all made appearances to thank Oprah and talk about how she inspired them. 

In his own grumpy way, Simon Cowell made an unexpected heart-felt confession to Oprah, "Your talent is bringing out the best in people, even me. I can also say first hand that you are a very good kisser."

Right after, the jazz hands flew as coat-tail clad dancers backed up Rosie O'Donnell while she did her own version of a Broadway number. O'Donnell sang, "25 years of watching and now you're going to go away? How could you Oprah?" Dr. Phil, Nate Burkus and Dr. Oz joined O'Donnell during the number for some high kicks and singing.

The celebration took a more insightful tone as Oprah watched a montage of the 64,688 people she inspired to get an education thank her by saying, "Oprah, because of you, I went to school." The men from Morehouse in Atlanta came to thank Oprah for their scholarships with a candlelight vigil.  For the first time during the show Oprah couldn't hold back her tears any longer.

Hallie Berry made the introduction for Dr. Maya Angelou, who read a poem about Oprah's life as Alicia Keys played piano. Photographs from Oprah's childhood flashed up on the screen as Angelou said, "I am Oprah, Oprah."

Even Stedman Graham got up on stage to thank Oprah. "It really does amaze me that I get to be around a woman who changes people's lives everyday and also takes her own lunch to work. I love you for making a difference in my life," Stedman said.

Aretha Franklin helped the show go out with a bang as the Queen of Soul sang "Amazing Grace" to the Queen of Talk in true gospel form.

Oprah's final surprise ending the second-to-last show was Usher singing "Oh Happy Day." Celebrities from the past two shows joined Oprah on stage to dance to the lively duet between Aretha and Usher.

Wednesday will be the final Oprah Winfrey show after 25 years. Although it's still shrouded in mystery, the show is expected to be one to remember.   

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