The Closing Ceremonies begin at 4 p.m. and will be live-streamed online and broadcast on tape-delay in the evening by NBC.
And Ray Davies’s performance of “Waterloo Sunset” has now officially been bumped so NBC can show an episode of their new show with the monkey.
The Kinks, man. They get no respect at all. Apparently the performance, along with the also-bumped one by The Who, can be seen in the late night broadcast, beginning around midnight ET.
Thanks for joining us in the live blog, which is now going to bed.
As you may have noticed during tonight’s live blog, Robert Samuels (a Millennial) and Jen Chaney (a Generation Xer), have processed the entertainment in very different ways.
Here’s a brief rundown of our two different takes of key moments of the show:
The Spice Girls
The Millennial: OMG, my life just infinitely was made better by the reunion of the true Fab Five. They taught me everything I need to know about love. Their harmonies were a little off, but give ‘em some slack. I would’ve loved to hear a performance of “Say You Will Be There,” because that’s all I wanted Sporty, Scary, Posh, Baby and Ginger to say since these Games were scheduled for London.
The Gen Xer: Would rather hear a subpar performance of “Wonderwall” than watch Posh Spice dance on top of a car. That said, I might have been more excited if they had done “Two Become One.”
The Millennial: Rather would have heard Vocal Adrenaline. But Jessie J wasn’t too terrible, I thought. And I was actually convinced that Freddie Mercury wasn’t dead.
The Gen Xer: The entire closing ceremony should have been performed by Freddie Mercury via videotapes of his past performances.
The Millennial: McKayla is not impressed. He pulled out all the stops and, yet, I couldn’t get my mind off how much more I wanted to see of the Spice Girls.
The Gen Xer: Subversive comedy from a Monty Python alumnus? More, please.
Shouldn’t the transfer of summer Olympic power from the Brits to Brazil have been conducted while Duran Duran (a British band) sang their hit song “Rio”?
A Celebritology reader suggested this two weeks ago and it seemed so obvious. And yet here we are, the torch passed, LeBon-less.
The Brazilian number at the Closing Ceremonies did not feature a Sammy Davis Jr. hologram. It appears, based on some quick investigative research (google), that the performer was Seu Jorge, a popular actor and singer from Rio de Janiero who is known for being a renewer of the pop samba movement.
He’s also been in movies such as “City of God” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.”
Here’s his Web site. You heard none of this information on the tape-delayed broadcast. Thanks for nothing, Seacrest.
It was so touching to see the Brazilian team, which received 15 medals in these Games, tear up as their flag was raised for a prize even bigger: The country will host the 2016 Olympic Games, the first in South America.
It is nice to see the global games truly become more global and I eager await the first time the Games will be played in Africa.
Meanwhile, one thing to look forward to: Rio’s games will probably be broadcasted live! LIVE-BLOGGERS FOR THE WIN!
Ray Davies’s reportedly stirring performance of “Waterloo Sunset,” a key moment in the Olympics closing ceremony, has yet to be shown during the NBC broadcast. With every minute that passes, I fear it has been cut for time. Which is an abomination considering this network spent 90 minutes earlier tonight reminiscing about Olympic moments that just happened a few days ago.
Is it because NBC thinks we Americans don’t know the Kinks? That Davies is too old for the coveted young demographic, which makes no sense since we’re about to see The Who?
Ray Davies was trending on Twitter earlier today, NBC. Trending, I tell you! You have 30 minutes to rectify this situation. Let’s hope we see some Davies before this thing ends.
So that was not a hologram of Freddie Mercury we just saw during the closing ceremony. It was video of an old Wembley Stadium performance shown on a huge telescreen.
But it is still a reminder of what a phenomenal performer he was. Even virtually, more than 20 years after his death, he has vocally crushed every in-person musician that preceded him.
Jessie J., bless her, is now trying to sing “We Will Rock You” in his absence. She is making a valiant effort. But she doesn’t have a prayer of matching Mercury because no. one. can.
Watching Monty Python vet Eric Idle perform “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is easily the highlight of the closing ceremony so far.
I have no idea what the Victoria’s Secret Angels or the roller-blading nuns were doing in this number. But I don’t care.
The stadium audience loved it. Prince Harry was whistling. Idle said a bad word, which was bleeped from the NBC broadcast. It featured Bollywood-style dancing and a human cannonball. It was basically what sheer greatness looks like.
Well, there’s one way it could have been better. If, as in the movie “Life of Brian,” it had been performed by Monty Python members nailed to crosses. Whatever. I’ll settle for Vikings in a kickline.
A timeless Monty Python ditty?! A bhangra number?! Prince Harry whistling?
McKayla is not impressed. She wants more Spice Girls.
Liam Gallagher is performing “Wonderwall” with his band Beady Eye, even though his brother and Liam Gallagher Enemy No. 1, Noel Gallagher, wrote it and originally sang it much better.
It’s a testament to how great this song is that, even via this highly nasal version, it still sounds pretty phenomenal. I also enjoy watching Olympians sing along to this in a heartfelt manner.
And yes, as ’90s flashbacks go, an Oasis homage beats the Spice Girls by seven miles, in my opinion.
It’s very easy to hate on Ryan Seacrest. And I actually don’t want to hate on him. He is often very smooth on the air, especially during his morning radio show, and that’s a lot harder to achieve than it seems. Also, the guy has approximately 87 jobs and therefore probably has not slept since 2007.
But when it comes to tonight’s closing ceremony broadcast, I am not sure he’s been adding much. For example, during the Jessie J., Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz segment, he noted that there is truly “something for everyone” in this closing ceremony. He also informed us that “You Should Be Dancing” is a Bee Gees song. These technically do not qualify as insights.
To his credit, however, he’s kept his mouth shut to a much greater degree than Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira did during the opening ceremony. So maybe we should go easy on him. Maybe?
STOP! RIGHT NOW! Thank you VERY MUCH!
Ryan Seacrest says we’re going to see Baby, Posh, Ginger, Scary and the other one – oh right, Sporty – next! Are you guys jumping up and down like I am? What’s your favorite Spice Girls song?
And how many of you have ended a relationship with your lover because they couldn’t get with your friends? ::Raises hand::
How much to make the world dance?
The Olympics cost nearly $17 billion US in public and private funding, according to the Guardian and my google dollar converter. Uh-oh, that’s a lot of cha-chang-chi-change.
That Beatles mystery has now been solved courtesy of Russell Brand’s closing ceremony cover of “I Am the Egg Man,” which he is remarkably
lip syncing performing without a microphone.
In other news … where is Ray Davies? Has NBC cut his performance from the broadcast, demonstrating yet another reason why watching the live stream is better?
Well IOC, if you planned on drug testing athletes after the Closing Ceremonies, cancel those plans.
Russell Brand is singing “I am the Walrus” and “Pure Imagination” in a skit that makes me feel like I am on drugs. I hope someone is keeping tabs on Michael Phelps right now! Just kidding. Congrats, Michael.
A group of some of the world’s beautiful women have just appeared on my screen! This almost justifies the head-scratch-inducing fashion segment. But unfortunately, they are not the Spice Girls!
But I would rather just see David Bowie sing “Fashion” live.
It seems like just yesterday that the buzz in the American workplace was how to deal with those crazy Millenials and their competitive, privileged demands.
As the crowds of young (and attractive! whew!) athletes continue to crowd the stadium, I wonder if the Millenial mindset has affected the Games at all. Is Michael Phelps a typical overachiever of his age? Did the work hard/play hard mentality yield to the proliferation of the myth that the athletes’ arrival overwhelmed Grindr? If Twitter had existed in the old days, would an athlete of a different generation live tweet (or as we say “tape-delay tweet”) his or her own performance?
Most of all, I wonder how Millenials changed the spirit of competition of the Games. In the District, we’ve learned they would even make karaoke competitive because competition is fun. You think theses athletes are just as, um, intense?
One Direction just cruised through on the back of a mack truck and sang this year’s summer song runner-up, “What Makes Your Beautiful.”
Here is how my family assessed the performance.
My five-year-old son (when he wasn’t singing along): “This makes no sense.”
My husband, upon seeing Zayn Malik: “Is that supposed to be his real hair?”
That about covers it.
OMG! The Pet Shop Boys? Stomp? Those dudes who sing “Our House” with black rims?! Have the Summer Olympics taken their soundtrack from a dive-bar in Wiliamsburg? Or Williamsburg? (Brooklyn or England versions, get it?). Yes, I know One Direction just performed. How ironic.
No wonder Her Majesty didn’t show up. At her age, it probably took too much effort to get into those skinny jeans.
Madness just performed “Our House” while the saxophonist, clad in a Union Jack kilt, was lifted skyward. I cannot verify what was under his kilt but I believe he was more appropriately attired under there than, say, Groundskeeper Willie.
Then Blur was briefly butchered, which segues directly into the Pet Shop Boys covering “West End Girls” while wearing cones on their heads and riding bicycles driven by guys wearing paper airplanes over their heads. How can they see? Are the Pet Shop Boys going to crash?
If they’ve got the brains, then … seriously who’s got the brains?
Everything and everyone on stage during the closing ceremony broadcast right now — with the exception of Timothy Spall — is decked out in newspapers.
That’s right: newspapers still matter. Because you can make costumes out of them.
That is now the new Washington Post slogan: If you don’t get it, you have nothing to wear.
I can’t believe the Olympics is already over. It seems like just yesterday that the games were only beginning, and that we were all blissfully unaware of how unimpressed McKayla Maroney could be.
What will you miss most about the London games?
For me, it won’t be the sound of Bob Costas’s voice, or the tension of watching women’s gymnastics when a protest is filed, or even the sight of Ryan Lochte’s grill.
No, what I’ll miss most is the knowledge that there was always something on TV. Like, always. Even if I didn’t tune into rhythmic gymnastics or table tennis because I had other things going on, it was comforting to know that they were there. Now what am I supposed to watch at 2 in the morning? Whatever movie is being shown on Starz? I mean, come on.
As we continue to wait for something interesting to happen on television, let’s have a discussion. Which U.S. women’s gymnastics team was better: 1996′s Magnificent Seven or 2012′s Fabulous Five? Consider:
1. Both teams won Olympic gold medals.
2. Gabby Douglas, team 2012, dominated the all-around and Aly Raisman almost medaled, whereas the American trifecta of Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes and Dominique Moceanu all had epic fails in that year’s all-around competition.
3. Only two individuals (Douglas, Raisman) won their own medals after the team competition in 2012. 1996′s team had THREE individual medallists (Amy Chow in uneven bars, Dawes in floor exercise and Miller on balance beam).
My vote is still with the 1996 team. They seemed more elegant and artistic than the coverage team. And lest we not forget, Keri Strug landed a vault on ONE FOOT.
What do you think?
Hi, Jen Chaney, here. I’ll be weighing in (along with Robert) on the broadcast of the closing ceremonies, which apparently will be a truncated version of the real thing given all the montages NBC is showing.
All I know is this: if the Monty Python portion of the closer gets cut out of the primetime broadcast, I am going to be angry.
So far we’ve seen pieces praising the number of on women at the Olympics (ironic, given that three commentators for NBC at the stadium are men) and the rise in competitive British athletes (ironic, because we got to see so few of them with the Amero-cenric coverage) and now pieces on the inspiring U.S. women’s track and swim teams.
But where are the Spice Girls? My heart can’t take it.
Anyway, now that swimming is mentioned, here’s another gratuitous post of a viral video.
Watching the Misty May-Traenor and Kerri Walsh Jennings montage, I can’t help but think to myself how much I will miss them as a pair.
Am I the only one who believes their partnership shouldn’t end here, in London? When are they going to get their own sitcom? It could be like a sandy, snarky version of the Odd Couple… with bikinis!
All right, fan fiction writers: If May-Traenor and Walsh Jennings had a TV show, send us a suggestion for a storyline.
Greetings, friends who hate live-streaming and those like me who don’t own cable!
Welcome to the tape-delayed chat for the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics. And what an Olympics they were. They brought us high dives, internet memes and dancing horses. Michael Phelps won his gajillionth gold medal. It was made apparent that Queen Elizabeth II and Bjork use the same fashion desginer.
So let’s celebrate this great 17-day diversion tonight! And if you didn’t get excited over the Olympics, are you at least excited about the reunion of the Spice Girls?!
As Take That performs, the torch slowly splits apart. It looked something like a cluster of candles on a birthday cake from far away, though the hosts keep calling the different flames “petals.” Each country will receive a petal after the Games are over.
Darcey Bussel, a prima ballerina, is lowered onto the stage attached to an enflamed phoenix. There’s she’s joined by a cast of ballet dancers, all clad in black-and-orange costumes.
It’s dramatic and fiery and as the dance ends, just like that, the torch is extinguished. “It has burned so brightly here, and now, it’s gone,” the BBC host says. The Who takes the stage to close out the show.
With that, I’m passing the live-blog baton off to Robert Samuels and Jen Chaney. They’ll be watching the tape-delayed NBC broadcast. Enjoy the show (a second time around)!
The London 2012 chair Sebastian Coe gives a closing speech thanking the volunteers, the athletes and the city for welcoming the Games. “We lit the flame and we lit up the world,” he says.
IOC President Jacques Rogge takes the stage next and begins giving his thanks, telling the athletes that they participated in the Games that has a tradition stretching back 3,000 years to Ancient Greece.
As they praise the Games (and they were a mighty good Games), here’s a look back on the best moments:
We’re getting a peek into what the Brazil Games may look like. Renato Sorriso, a famous street dancer in Brazil, begins the show alone on stage, but is quickly joined first by a security officer and then a crowd of futuristic Samba drummers. Marisa Monte, a Brazillian singer, glides by supported in a skirt of dozens of moving umbrellas. Dancers with glowing pinwheels at their backs sway along the stage. Green fluorescent-clad men in loin clothes crowd the stage.
We’ve now entered into the official hand-off portion of the evening. Greece’s National anthem is played, then comes the Olympics anthem. Finally, it’s time for London Mayor Boris Johnson to pass the flag to Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil will host the next Summer Games in 2016. Paes takes the flag and gleefully cheers as the Brazilian athletes erupt.
Freddie Mercury makes his appearance at the show in a beautiful call-and-response video with the audience. Again, as with Lennon, it’s only a video of the beloved singer, but technology has rendered him alive for a few moments in the stadium.
His bandmate, Brian May, then takes the stage for an amazing guitar solo… until he’s joined on stage by Jessie J. The pairing does not seem to shine.
Jessie J doing air guitar in front of Brian May playing the guitar as he does… That was a truly embarrassing moment!
— Kirstie Lundgaard (@MissLundgaard) August 12, 2012
London’s Mayor Boris Johnson has relished his role in the Olympics. Here he is relishing the show at the Closing Ceremonies.
We’re back in a great portion of the show thanks to Eric Idle “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.”
Suffice it to say, there’s more than I can type out. But it includes a failed attempt to be shot out of a cannon, rolling skating nuns who flash Union Jack underwear, gladiators and singing vikings, and a delightful attempt by Idle to dance with a Bhangra troop.
The show was building to a high peak, with wild dancing, dramatic staging and the Spice Girls.
So, obviously, they cut to “Wonder Wall,” an utterly dreary love song performed by Liam Gallagher. It’s cuts like this — from high energy, highly produced shows to boring concert performances — that have made this ceremony never manage to take off as the Opening Ceremony did.
It’s the most touted reunion of the show: the manufactured pop band that took Britain by storm in 1994 is back together again. This time, the Spice Girls are accompanied by bedazzled black London cabs.
They set off on top of the roofs of the cars singing their hits. The cars speed around the track and it does not look like the easiest of stages to perform on — especially with their signature huge heels. Sporty Spice, Ginger Spice and Posh Spice all seem to stumble on the rooftops. But they sound just as bubble-gum-fun as they did ten years ago.
Keeping in that same vein of new sings old, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz all head to a center stage and join in on “You Should Be Dancing.” The three musicians, all from a variety of genres, gel over the disco tune. It’s got the whole crowd dancing — including the wonderfully whimsical dressed volunteers who are donned in blue suits with light bulbs on their hats.
Russell Brand, as a modern day Willy Wonka, has entered the show riding high on a Magic School Bus. He performs a song from the iconic children’s movie and then breaks into the Beatles’ “I am the Egg Man.”
When he reaches the center stage, he introduces Fat Boy Slim. Fat Boy Slim starts spinning a medley of his hits, as a giant inflatable octopus grows behind the famous DJ.
Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz all enter in convertibles and sing clips from their songs.
None of it makes any sense. Which means it’s fantastic. Here’s the bizarre British joy we saw at the Opening Ceremonies.
Here’s where we’re getting the young talent of Britain on display. We’re seeing a series of young musicians performing classic songs. Previously, the Kaiser Chiefs took on “Pinball Wizard.” Now, we have Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” sung by Ed Sheeran. It’s one way to introduce older audiences to younger musicians. It’s also one way to annoy the fans of all the groups.
Oh, thank goodness, just when I began to worry that the producers had forgetten Britain had female singers too, a fantastical ship starts up the aisle-way. The ship is surrounded by men and women that look as if they stepped out of a nightmarish Versailles movie.
Annie Lennox knows how to arrive in style.
For the next act, buses are pulled around the track field with giant images of famous models from Britain. As they circle the track, the photographs are pulled down to reveal: the real-life models, who pose and then catwalk down the aisles.
Does it seem a bit uneven to have three acts of male singers and then this runway show with eight women and one man?
Beginning with Queen’s song, the stands of the stadium have become a major focal point of the show. The hosts report there are 70,000 pixels under the stadium seats, creating the digital light show. It looks a little like a high-quality computer screen saver, but it does make an impressive use of the arena.
Queen’s “Bohemian Rapshody” starts what will be a montage of great musical moments. Next up is John Lennon’s “Imagine.” His young face appears over the stadium on large screens. I’m glad they went with vintage footage — and not a hologram. The hosts note that the song was digitally remastered by Yoko Ono especially for the Olympics and the footage of Lennon is being aired for the first time in public ever. It had previously been a private part of the family’s archives.
There’s a child’s choir accompanying Lennon and dancers are putting together large white puzzle pieces that appear at first to be a strange glacier. When the camera pulls back it’s John Lennon’s face. Which makes a lot more sense than a glacier.
Next up: George Michael and “Freedom.”
Some question the musical choices, though:
Sorry to be pedantic, but doesn’t Lennon say “imagine there’s no countries”?Where would that leave Olympics?
— Robert Peston (@Peston) August 12, 2012
The medals for the marathon are handed out, a tradition at the Games. Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda takes the gold medal.
Watching the face of the athlete is better than any performance. He goes from singing along to his national anthem, to near tears, to quiet repose with eyes closed.
Here he is earlier today running to the finish line:
Our hosts begin discussing the habit of biting the gold medals. It reportedly started in 1988. If the medal was pure gold, you’d be able to bite into it. According to NPR, there is 400 grams of gold in the Olympic medals, the heaviest medals ever produced for the games
I was wrong. This is taking a long time. The hosts keep expressing how surprised they are to see so many athletes pouring out on the field. It seems the show’s producers didn’t expect it to take so long either. They’ve started replaying the songs we’ve already heard. Here’s “Our House,” now we’re on to “West End Girls” again.
It’s taking so long, the Irish athletes have laid down on the field.
As the song ends, the flags enter the stadium each carried by one of the country’s athletes. Then the rest of the troops enter in a stream. As compared to the slow march of the countries in the Opening Ceremony, this entry is delightfully quick and chaotic. The athletes are all mixed up together, which is the point of this affair after all.
Everyone looks pleased as they wander around the track that doubles as a giant British field. The Ethiopian team*, though, takes the cake. They’ve broken into a Conga line. How do you get on that team? Let’s hope it spreads to the entire march.
*I misidentified the team as hailing from Jamaica. The yellow jackets and green hoods tricked me.
The show seems to finally remember why we’re here: the Games.
Over Emile Sande’s “Read All About It,” the show super-imposed images of crying athletes receiving their medals. It’s meant to pull on your heart strings and it succeeds.
Kim Gavin is directing the show tonight. Compared to director Danny Boyle, who gave us helicopter-leaping Queens, and Shire-building dancers, Davies background is firmly in dance and music. And so far the show is a mixture of just that. We’ve got performances by the drumming group “Stomp,” choirs, dancing gymnasts and solitary singers performing their best tunes.
According to the BBC:
Gavin has described it as the “after-show party” to the main sporting competition. He said earlier this year: “Music has been Britain’s strongest cultural export of the last 50 years and we intend to produce an Olympic closing ceremony that will be a unique promotion of great British popular music.
Which I suppose means I better prepare myself for more One Direction music.
Madness’ “Our House” kicks off the first big dance medley of the show. It’s a great choice: proudly declaring the British-ness of the Games. Also, everyone needs a flying sax player.
It’s also the first taste of the delicious stroll down British musical history to come. Here’s the 1982 hit:
Next we get a the Pet Shop Boys wrapped in pleather and offering up a dystopic tune:
As for the next act, One Direction, I have only this to say: Reuters reported in July that researchers in Spain confirmed all pop music these days sounds the same, with a far more limited variety of sounds. So, sorry tosseled teens of One Direction. Go listen to Pet Shop Boys again.
The show stops for the younger prince’s entrance. He looks slightly nervous. The camera only barely catches sight of his seatmate, Duchess Catherine. Where’s James Bond and a helicopter when you need him?
Our British hosts inform us the first act will depict a day in the city. It’s beautiful singing, though it sure is a slow start. Someone get these folks a cup of
Winston Churchill quotes from “The Tempest” once more. (Opening Ceremony viewers should recall the Shakespeare play made an appearance at that show as well.
And then the filed erupts into a chaos of newspaper-clad commuters and cars. [Insert joke of hope for old media yet].
It’s a go! NBC has kindly agreed to livestream the closing ceremonies. After a visually striking montage of numbers (including 10 Downing Street), Big Ben is striking the hour. The ceremony is promising to highlight the best of British culture once more. The crowd counts along. I have to admit: I’m excited.
You can watch the stream here.