YouTube's Greatest Hits
YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who rarely grant interviews because of their busy schedules, say they were inspired during a dinner party at Steve's San Francisco home. His guests had cell phones and digital cameras that could record video, but they didn't have a good way to share them with one another. "There's lots of services that share pictures, but when it comes to videos, you try to e-mail them back and forth and they were too large to e-mail," Steve says. "It's really complicated to try to share these videos online. So we thought with more people with digital cameras and more people with cell phones, people would start running into these problems."
Chad, too, was one of those people—he had a new baby and wanted to share videos with his parents. "So I had videos and we just had these problems and we thought that we'd simplify the process," Chad says.
Chad and Steve talk to Oprah after the show about what a typical day is like and how they've redefined fame.
Only two years after Chad and Steve founded YouTube, the site is worth $1.6 billion. Still, they say, the money hasn't affected their dream.
"Not much has changed because we still feel there's so much we need to do, so much we need to do to improve the product and kind of define this video market to provide opportunities for people around the world. So we're not done," Chad says.
Esmée Denters was a teenager with a big voice and an even bigger dream. From her bedroom in a small town in the Netherlands, she sang for her sister's webcam and posted it on YouTube. Otis Redding's classic "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" got this unknown 18-year-old noticed by millions—she's already received more than 40 million views on YouTube! "It's been incredible for me. I've been posting videos and videos and strangely enough, people started watching my videos," Esmée says.
Just six months after posting her first video, Esmée's dream started to unfold. Music superstar Justin Timberlake tracked her down. Justin signed Esmée as the first artist on his record label, launching YouTube's most viewed singer out of her bedroom and onto the world stage. "She actually came out and opened up for me a couple of shows on tour," Justin says.
While on tour together, Justin and Esmée thrilled YouTube fans with a backstage surprise—a performance of Justin's song What Goes Around Comes Around. "What more could a girl my age want?" she says. "Every dream I have since now will come true, so I think I'm going to keep on dreaming."
Esmée says she decided to post her first video on YouTube simply because she loved to sing. "I just had this idea because I saw all these other videos and I said, why not? You know, I love to sing. I love to hear what other people think about it. So I just wanted to get an opinion," she says.
Before her big break, Esmée was waitressing in a pancake house. "But I was really terrible. I'm not really good with plates and stuff," she says.
Esmé elaborates on her lack of waitressing talent after the show.
She had also never performed in front of an audience other than her friends or family. Now, she's sung in front of 50,000 people at the Amsterdam Arena opening for Justin Timberlake!
In fact, Justin originally had trouble tracking Esmée down because she had no personal information on the Internet. When he finally found her, she says she was suspicious. "People pretend to be celebrities all the time on the Internet so I wasn't really sure," she says. "And then it happened and I took it seriously after a couple of times when I got so many e-mails."
"You know what I loved hearing you say on that tape? That all of the dreams that you have had so far have come true, including standing here and being here with [Chad and Steve], who made it all possible and that you were going to keep dreaming big," Oprah says. "That's what I want you to do—keep dreaming big. God only knows."
Professional photographer Julia and TV and film director James had seen enough big productions to know they wanted something really dramatic for their wedding day. So after months of preparation and training, the couple kicked off their reception with a showstopping first dance.
Just like Johnny and Baby did in Dirty Dancing, James and Julia gave a performance to remember that night, nailing every memorable move right down to that legendary lift—with the help of two friends. Their guests loved it, and so have the more than 2 million people who have seen it on YouTube!
James and Julia say they are surprised at the amount of attention the video has gotten—they've even been recognized in other countries! "It's crazy," James says. "I kid you not, I am getting hate mail from potential grooms who said, 'You guys have raised the bar, and my wife-to-be is making me do a dance.'"
Still, Julia says James didn't always have the right moves. "I think James sometimes has trouble walking in a straight line, so this was a bit of a challenge for him."
That's why they had two friends help him with the lift. "I couldn't do the lift by myself," James says. "Look at me. Do I look like Patrick Swayze?"
James shares how he really felt about Patrick cutting in after the show.
Twenty years after he first danced those iconic steps, Patrick says he loves that they've lasted this long. "It's a miracle. I think when something touches people's hearts, it sticks with you. Sometimes you do something that just kind of hits a resonant note," Patrick says. "And I've been really fortunate having a lot of movies like that, but Dirty Dancing really holds a special place in my heart."
Patrick and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 32 years. "You guys have a chance of getting there if you started off this way, you know? Because it's really rare when a man is willing to get past what anybody else thinks or what anybody else says," Patrick says. "And be there to serve, you know? Because, really, that's what dancing is all about, is you're not complete until you see yourself or each other's reflection in each other's eyes."
Absolutely, James says. "And you know what? I'm actually going to get Julia to learn to surf for making me do that dance," James says.
Sharing interests is also important to Patrick and his wife. The couple just finished a dance movie called One Last Dance, which is now available on DVD. "We had to turn back into classical ballet dancers one more time," he says. "When you're an old guy, it's not easy, you know?"
Patrick and Lisa also share a passion for flying and have been pilots for 20 years. Lisa has even started flying aerobatic stunts and beat seven pros in her first competition, Patrick says!
From the screen to the stage, Patrick's been busy with a number of projects. In 2007, he spent seven months on stage performing in Guys and Dolls in London and made movies Jump and Christmas in Wonderland. Keep an eye out for Patrick's next project—the film Powder Blue, also starring Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker.
Diddy is no stranger to YouTube and decided to use his page, Diddy TV, to find his new assistant. Applicants were urged to submit video interviews explaining why they were right for the job. "One of the things about YouTube, it's a way to cut out the middle man and go directly to your community," he says. "I know a lot of people out there, they aspire to be young moguls and they may live in Middle America and not have a chance to really meet someone like me or apply personally for a job."
Within 24 hours, Diddy began receiving offbeat videos from around the world and realized he needed to narrow down his qualifications. "What have I started? Things are getting a little crazy. So to keep things a little focused, you have to have some sort of skill set. Know how to read. You've got to know how to write. I hope you know you've got to have a college degree," Diddy says.
Heather: "I think I should have this job because my experience as a lawyer, a return Peace Corps volunteer, and my wide scope of professional experiences, I believe make me uniquely qualified to serve Mr. Combs. I'm very humble and not unwilling to take the role of assisting him because I understand who the star is in this relationship and I'm willing to support him in the way that he needs."
Cedric: "The reason I think I'm the right person for the job is I do have a business background and I know he does need someone when he's not available to possibly speak to someone to close a deal. And I think what's most important is being as famous as he is, he doesn't have time for himself—so I'm looking to give him a part of his life back where he can actually relax and take some time to be with the family."
Nick: "My father was no Hitler, but he was definitely strict. I've been running my household since the age of 17—had to be preemptive, know what he wants before he ask asks for it, know how to make him happy before he asks for it. Not to say I've been training, but I've been preparing for the position all my life."
Hear more from Cedric and Nick after the show
Judson gives the Oprah audience a taste and even throws in a few new moves that will be performed in his second YouTube video. From "The Twist" and "Proud Mary" to "Ice Ice Baby," Judson takes cues from dance moves throughout the decades as he shakes and shimmies his way across the stage.
Judson tells Oprah after the show where he learned those smooth moves
Judson explains that he didn't start the "Evolution of Dance" with the intention of becoming a YouTube star. "I actually work as a professional speaker and so I needed to do something at the end of my shows to really show people that 'life is change,' because that's one of my big themes. And I thought about how dancing has changed, and even though each one of those dances is fantastic, new songs are constantly coming out," Judson says.
Choreographing the dances wasn't difficult for Judson—the hard part was choosing the songs! "The funny thing was, once the music was mixed and in place, the dances kind of fell into place. It started off as 12 songs, two and a half minutes. And every time I would do it, someone would come up afterwards and be like, 'Oh my gosh, you have to add this song.' And people would e-mail with things that I should keep adding. And I kept adding and adding and adding and it got to the point where all that I could do was about six minutes!"
The unlikely contestant gave the performance of a lifetime, bringing tears to the eyes of audience members and rousing a standing ovation. Paul went on to win the competition and was immediately signed to a record deal by Simon Cowell.
Now, Paul performs an operatic song from his first album One Chance for the Oprah audience. "People in our audience are crying and [they] don't even understand Italian," Oprah says. "That's when you know."
Paul credits his wife, Julie, with his success. "I applied for the show basically on a flip of the coin in the end because I couldn't decide whether I had the talent or whether I was too old. And I think that the person that's really given me the most confidence in my life the last four years has been my wife, who has been an incredible support."
Paul and Julie talk about love, challenges and the best advice Simon Cowell gave them after the show.
Although Paul's YouTube clip was viewed 25 million times in a single summer and his first album, One Chance, has sold a million copies, he is still in disbelief. "I've been shown the clip with the YouTube background on quite a few shows, and it's weird watching and hearing yourself and think, 'Is that really me?'"
Visit Tyson backstage after his Oprah Show appearance.
Tyson's owner, Jim, says he didn't have to teach his athletic pup a thing about riding a skateboard. "Tyson is self-taught," Jim says.
Watch what Oprah filmed backstage after the show ended.
Now, you can find Oprah on YouTube—she's getting in on the craze with the launch of her own YouTube page! You can view the Oprah Channel at www.youtube.com/oprah.
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