Episode 6: Operation Big Dreams
Cameron, Brandi, Rachael and Stephen are charged with granting two dramatic dying wishes in only five days. Plus, for the first time, the contestants must work together on the challenge—and while they will be evaluated individually, the judges will be paying close attention to teamwork.
"My mother was the church pianist for over 30 years. She chose the real world over her dreams," Emily's daughter says. "If her dream comes alive, I believe in my heart that when my mother lays down, she’s going to truly rest in peace."
"Carnegie Hall is the world’s most famous stage," Rachael says. "I pray we make this happen."
"When I heard Rachael tell Toni that she could sing a solo during Emily's dream, I was so taken aback and offended," Stephen says. "This woman would actually try to place herself in the middle of someone else’s dream? I thought, 'This can't be true.'"
The mortgage is $208,000, and the team knows it's going to be a huge challenge. "We don't just want to pay off the mortgage," Brandi says. "We want to set up a scholarship fund for Mike's daughters and give the entire family a special day in New York City that they'll always remember."
The big ideas come quickly in Gayle's office. She suggests calling Natalie Cole, daughter of Emily's favorite singer Nat King Cole, to surprise Emily with a song at Carnegie Hall. When she hears that the group wants to give Mike and his family a helicopter ride around Manhattan, Gayle calls Donald Trump directly to see if they can use his. After hearing Mike's story, Donald agrees.
The contestants meet Jada and fill her in on their mission. Immediately, she promises that the Smith Family Foundation will make a generous donation. Then she begins working the phones.
"We got $100,000 in 10 minutes," Cameron says. "Now that's star power."
When Brandi accuses Rachael of not being a team player, the group erupts in an argument. It's three against one, with Rachael standing alone. "I would love to know how you feel I'm not being a team player," Rachael says. "I'm really trying to make sure that I hold up my end of the deal."
"I've never been so embarrassed in my life. This is Rachael's fault, 100 percent," Stephen says. "Once again with Rachael, someone else has to do all the dirty work, and she wants to take all the glory."
Stephen is also concerned that Rachael is trying to steal the show by singing at the performance. But Rachael says it is what the family wants. "I sat at the feet of Emily, her daughter and the rest of the family, and they said to me, 'You are singing.'"
As Rachael sings in the hotel room, Stephen says, "She's singing while I'm cleaning up, and now she wants to sing tomorrow at Carnegie Hall. If that happens, I'm done. I'm out of here."
The day kicks off with a shopping spree at the American Girl Store for Mike's three daughters. Then the family heads to Saks Fifth Avenue. "The girls got to have their fun," Brandi says. "Now it's time for the parents to enjoy themselves." At Saks, Becky and Mike each a have personal shopper and are treated to a makeover.
Finally, the family is taken to a heliport where to Donald Trump's pilot informs them that they are getting a ride around the city in the Donald's helicopter! Mike is amazed. "To share that with my kids, no matter what happens to me, no matter what happens to my wife, no matter what happens period. They'll never forget this day," he says. "They'll be able to look back and say, 'Remember when…'"
As Emily plays, emotion takes over the audience and the piece is received with a standing ovation. When Rachael takes the stage to perform with Emily, Stephen is shocked. "I suddenly realized that Rachael wasn't planning Emily's dream. Rachael was planning Rachael's dream."
"The entire performance was awesome," Rachael says. "A dream came true, and I'm excited about it."
"I guess one of the reasons that everyone is here is because you're so special in their hearts," Natalie says to Emily. "And you truly are unforgettable."
"I believe within my heart, my mother is going to lay and truly rest in peace," Emily's daughter Toni says.
Cameron tells Mike that with the help of Jada Pinkett Smith and her connections, the team raised enough money to pay off his entire mortgage! Plus, they were left with a significant amount of money to contribute toward college funds for his three daughters.
As the group heads to lunch at Tavern on the Green, Mike gets his final surprise from the team—a brand new truck! Mike knows that his life has been forever changed by the contestants. "I can't express how thankful we are and how much we are changed by the goodness in their hearts," Mike says. "Happiness is the best medicine for any disease."
Oprah asks Rachael why she sang at Carnegie Hall with Emily—even though viewers were left wondering how Emily even knew Rachael could sing. Was Rachael just trying to show off her singing skills?
Rachael says that's not how it happened. "[Emily's daughter and I] were there in the house," Rachael says. "I sang the hymn and she said, 'Oh, my God, you sing?' And I said, 'Yes.' And she said, 'Oh, wow, you should sing with my mom.'"
"That wasn't my perception of it," Oprah says. "I know it's not your perception, those of you who watched."
Oprah and Rachael continue their discussion about ego…and what really happened at Carnegie Hall.
Special thanks to all those who helped during this episode of Oprah's Big Give .