Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Disappointed in Oprah

I have been an Oprah Winfrey fan since her early days with Kennedy and Company. I have cried with her, laughed with her, and enjoyed her rise to popularity.

There is no way to take away what Oprah has given to us through her caring and sharing. She has taken her audience to places never gone before. Oprah gave us new memories, new ideas, and helped bridge the gap to understanding of so many issues. She helped heal so many and shared stories that have made us all better people.

But since Oprah made the announcement that she will call it quits after 25 years in our living room, I have to say it is with sadness that I say I will miss her.

But, I think this is probably a good decision; it is one I respect her all the more for making.

That said, I admit I was disappointed yesterday after watching Oprah's Holiday 2009 show that showcased some unlikely pairings in Holiday musical duets.

It wasn't the music that disappointed me. It was Oprah's behavior.

Oprah is obviously very comfortable these days; perhaps too much so. She used to behave as a journalist in the way she interviewed, probed, and interacted with her guests. I had great respect for her ability to deal with even issues very personal to her with an edge of integrity, decorum, and respect.

The edge gave way yesterday. What I saw was a woman who behaved as a screaming fan of her BFFs, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, and Jennifer Hudson. She engaged her girlfriends at the expense of those with whom they shared the stage.

Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland had just shared a song with Hudson, yet Oprah gushed over Hudson, her newborn son, and seemingly ignored her other guests.

The camera time on Tim McGraw and Alicia Keys was clearly in Keys' favor.

But worse yet was Oprah's behavior at the conclusion of her self-proclaimed favorite song, Andrea Bocelli and Mary J. Blige's rendition of What Child Is This.

I don't know whether Oprah does this often, but it made it to the camera yesterday. As her eyes filled with tears, she screamed like a 60's Beatles fan, proclaiming this was now her favorite song, even before the song was over. Her voice was heard over that of the performers. She was clearly moved, and that's OK, but would the up-and-coming Oprah ever have made such a faux-pas? I doubt it.

Then at the end of the number, Oprah ran across the stage, right in front of Bocelli to grab a hug from her girlfriend. Bocelli may be blind, but he was obviously aware that Oprah walked, and for a time, stood in front of him, fawning over Blige. Right before a commercial break, he could be seen shyly moseying out from behind her, making his way next to her. At that point, she put her arms around both.