Memorable Viewer Surprises
In May 2009, Oprah's team orchestrated a memorable surprise during Oprah's Search for the World's Most Talented Kids finale. Jordan, Oprah's 10-year-old co-host for the day, handled her duties like a seasoned pro...until Oprah brought her favorite country star on stage!
Watch Jordan's reaction!
When Grammy-nominated artist Taylor Swift walked out holding a gift for Jordan—an acoustic guitar—Jordan was beyond shocked. "Oh my God," she said. "Thank you!"
The surprises didn't stop there. "Jordan, we're going to give you an assignment to go interview Taylor while she's on tour," Oprah said. "Then, this fall, we're going to play that interview, and she's going to come on, and she's going to perform on The Oprah Show."
To make one workday a day to remember, Oprah dispatched Gayle's favorite singer, Josh Groban, to her office for a special serenade. Minutes before Josh was set to arrive, Gayle called Oprah to talk about—who else—Josh Groban! "His voice does something to me," she said. "I just feel him!"
While Gayle sang some of her favorite lyrics into the phone, Josh walked into her office holding a bouquet of yellow roses. "Oh my goodness!" she screamed. "Josh is here!"
Gayle followed Josh into a conference room, which had been transformed into a romantic concert hall. As magazine staffers gathered around, Josh got down on one knee and serenaded Gayle with the song she'd just been singing on the phone, "When You Say You Love Me" from his CD Closer.
"I'm a huge Groban-ite, which is what they call themselves, all the Josh Groban fans," she says. "When I watch it, I just picture myself as Gayle, and I just start crying." If she were in Gayle's shoes, she says she would react the same way...or would she?
As Savanna stands facing Oprah, Josh walks out and surprises her! Tears run down her cheeks as she follows Josh on stage for a serenade of her own.
Watch Josh's special performance of "Awake."
"I'd like to sing a song for you," Josh says to Savanna. "It's a song that means a lot to me, and today, it's for you."
"For all of you who love his music, [Josh] is as good, as kind, as gracious, as humble and as grand as his music," Oprah says.
In September 2005, cameras followed Jon Bon Jovi to the home of Beth Mills, a 38-year-old wife and mother of two. For almost 20 years, Beth's family said Jon had been the "other man" in her life.
Growing up, Beth's bedroom walls and ceiling were covered with his posters. Decades later, her cubicle at work was a shrine to the Jersey rocker. After receiving more than 100 e-mails from Beth's friends and family about her Jon Bon Jovi devotion, Oprah dispatched Jon to Beth's home.
On her family's pizza night, Jon rang Beth's doorbell with dinner in hand. "No way," she said when she answered the door. "Can I get a really big hug?"
This is one delivery Beth never forgot. Since then, she says she's been to more than 15 Bon Jovi concerts.
As Jake began to perform, the curtains parted to reveal Stevie, leaving Jake shocked and speechless—but not breathless. Sharing the spotlight, the two sang "Isn't She Lovely" together.
Jake, who's working on his second album, says that was the most amazing day of his life.
Without missing a beat, Barry sneaked in behind Rosie and began playing his hit on the restaurant's piano. "Oh my God," Rosie said. "This is so him!"
After that show, Rosie attended her first Barry Manilow concert in Las Vegas. Now, she says her favorite song is "Weekend in New England."
Oprah said Paolo e-mailed her many times to express his desire to leave the grocery business behind and do what he'd dreamed about since he was a child—act.
Well, his efforts paid off. Oprah came to his store to share good news. "You're going to NBC studios in Burbank," she said. "I have gotten you a walk-on, speaking role in Will & Grace!"
Five years later, Paolo is still living in Los Angeles, pursuing his dream. He says he thinks about Oprah's surprise every day and feels grateful.
They teamed up after hearing John Tartaglio's story. At 17, this athletic high school student contracted a rare muscle-eating bacteria. Doctors were forced to amputate his legs and part of his arm.
John's family and friends wrote in about his courage and his biggest passion—the New York Yankees. Derek helped make John's major league dream come true by surprising him at a high school pep rally and whisking him away in Donald's helicopter. They spent the day at Yankee Stadium, practicing with the entire team.
Four years later, John is preparing to graduate from college and begin medical school applications. He says he's now able to walk with prosthetic legs, and soon, he'll start training for his first marathon.
The sisters continued to search for their loved ones, contacting the Red Cross, UNICEF and other organizations for assistance. Then, one day, an acquaintance told Clemantine and Claire the news they hoped to hear—their mother and father were alive.
The family reconnected over the phone, but Clemantine and Claire hadn't seen them in person since the genocide began 12 years earlier. As the girls stood onstage, Oprah announced that she'd flown their parents to Chicago for a surprise reunion. Tears streamed down the girls' cheeks as they embraced the family they thought they lost.
Watch the family's emotional reunion.
Clemantine continues to thrive. She says she's doing a post-graduate year at a Connecticut boarding school before heading to Yale University. Her family is also doing well. "I have good news," she says. "The whole family—my dad, my mom, my sisters, all my siblings—are in the United States now, right in Chicago."
According to friends and family, Fannie's generosity was legendary. After the death of her younger sister, Fannie took in her nephew and two nieces and raised them alongside her children. To support her family, she worked as a housekeeper and nanny.
To give her the royal break she deserved, Oprah treated Fannie to maid service for a year, an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City and a new set of wheels.
Then, in 2005, Fannie and her family lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. Her new van helped them safely escape the storm, but two years after the storm blew through, Oprah found out that Fannie's family was still living in a FEMA trailer. "So we pulled out the throne, invited Princess Fannie back and hooked her up," Oprah said.
Nate Berkus jumped in to help finish Fannie's home and decorate each room personally. Fannie says she loves her home so much, she held her niece's wedding there in the summer of 2008.
Watch her unforgettable reaction.
Then, seven years after that initial surprise, Oprah Show producers surprised Nancy at her office. "Please do not tell me that Oprah Winfrey is inside that camera again!" she said. "Is Tom Cruise here somewhere?"
As Nancy tried to get ahold of herself, Oprah revealed her second big surprise. "Tom is coming back right here to this very studio, and he asked that I ask you to come back," Oprah said.
To this day, Nancy says she gets recognized everywhere she goes, and she'll always be Tom's number one fan.