It truly is Oprah’s world. We all just happen to live in it.
The talk-show queen charmed an entire nation Tuesday as she recorded the first of her shows at the renamed Sydney Oprah House as part of the country’s tourist push to bring Australia to the attention of the world. And there couldn’t really be a better spokesperson — Oprah proceeded to pull out all the stops.
Thousands of locals witnessed Winfrey start her show with the traditional sports war cry of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi!” And then the love came gushing out. “After being here for a week this is what I know for sure: I love Australia,” she said on stage, before continuing, in case there was any doubt, “To the rest of the world watching, you’ve got to come to Australia.”
It’s remarks such as these which have justified Tourism Australia taking a punt on splashing millions of dollars to bring Oprah (and her entire production) over. “Before the shows have even hit the air, we’ve seen the equivalent of more than 65 million dollars worth of free advertising,” Andrew McEvoy, Managing Director, told CNN.
As for the shows, fans were treated to, essentially, any celebrity with a connection to that neck of the woods (and some who either love Australia or — ahem — want to promote stuff). Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman (who arrived on a gravity-line rope drop from the Opera House roof, injuring himself in the process), Nicole Kidman and her husband, singer Keith Urban, rocked up as did Bindi Irwin — the daughter of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin. Non-Aussies Bon Jovi and Jay-Z also made appearances.
To say that the three-week Ultimate Australian Adventure has captured the imagination of the nation (and the wider world, to a considerable extent) is an understatement. It hasn’t just dominated water-cooler chats at work but newspaper front pages, magazine covers, radio and television shows.
And why not: Oprah has already hung out with koalas, hit the beach, taken in Ayers Rock, toured Melbourne with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, yachted with Russell Crowe and reached the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. “I made a decision before I landed to not be tired,” she said. As the Aussies might say, no worries on that front.