Editor’s Note: Our intrepid correspondent was able to get the scoop on The Ellen Show’s dramatic appearance at the University of Illinois on Monday. Her birds-eye dispatch from the Quad. Oh, and tune in Wednesday, Feb. 26 to The Ellen Show on WCIA Channel 3 — 3 p.m. — to see how the show went down!
URBANA — An estimated 4,000 people showed up to watch roving reporter and University of Illinois alumna Jeannie Klisiewicz’s 6,022 episode of The Ellen Show on Monday afternoon, with the crowd gathering after buzz generated by several tweets (see earlier story).
The mystery of why Ellen was on campus quickly unraveled. The affable talk show host, who will also be hosting the Oscars on Sunday, instructed students to come to the Quad dressed as a favorite movie character.
The Quad was thumping with energy as The Ellen Show cameras panned the crowds. Roars could be heard from across the street and Batman’s, Dory’s and Buddy the Elf with cardboard signs climbed on each other’s shoulders to catch a glimpse of the tiny screen that showcased The Ellen Show. The dance competition began and soon we were listening to Ellen’s opening monologue. The crowd grew silent waiting for hints as to what awaited the Urbana campus. The energy was contagious as people drew closer to see. Strangers were whispering to one another.
One onlooker commented, “It’s so cool to be watching Ellen as a community.”
The best costumed, handpicked by Ellen Show staffers, waited by the small screen to learn their fate. Waiting, waiting, waiting… finally it was announced the costumed finalists had to recite the most famous line from the movie of their character, during an interview by Ellen DeGeneres herself — live via satellite. The winner, it was said, would receive two tickets to next Monday’s taping of Ellen. In all, eight contestants won $500 American Express gift cards.
A student dressed as the Joker won the big gift, a trip for two to Los Angeles to attend Ellen’s post-Oscar show. (According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the winner was “Tad from Greenville, Ill.”).
But many in the longstanding crowd left richer, too. After the taping, more prizes were given away. A laptop, playstation, Xbox and tablet were among the prizes awarded to the crowd. Though the temperatures did little to warm the bodies on the Quad, once again, Ellen warmed hearts, at least around 4,000 participants on the Urbana campus, and made a cold day just a little bit brighter!
Were you on the Quad on Monday? Tell us about your experience!