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London Olympics Closing Ceremony Was A Celebration Of British Music

London put on a music-filled show to close out the 2012 Summer Olympics and NBC streamed it live on their website. The ceremony just began airing on NBC, so if you did not watch it online today, consider yourselves spoiler-warned. This article contains details and photos from the 2012 Closing Ceremony.

The live stream ran for about three hours and covered everything from the start of the ceremony, which included a number of musical numbers, through the arrival of the athletes, to even more musical acts, the handing over of the flag, and shutting down the torch to close out the games. The stage was set up like the British Flag and covered in newspaper, with known British quotes printed on it (Shakespeare's "To Be or not to Be," Lord Byron's "She Walks in Beauty" were among some of the ones that caught my attention.)

The festivities directly related to the Olympics included a crying montage, which featured various athletes getting emotional, and the medal ceremony for the Marathon runners. And the athletes returned to the stadium, parading in from various entrances and filling up the flag on the stage. This took a bit of time, and while it was fun to see the athletes cheerfully reuniting, waving their flags and showing off their medals, this may be a good place for NBC to trim things down for time, at least by a few minutes.

The attention returned to music after that, becoming something of British concert, with musical acts including DJ Fatboy Slim, Annie Lennox, Kaiser Chiefs, Muse, Queen (featuring Jessie J as lead singer) and George Michael. A children's choir performed "Imagine," while Liam Gallagher's band Beady Eye performed "Wonderwall." And then there was the Spice Girls, who reunited to sing "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life." Some of the more random moments included Russell Brand's appearance, and a brief visit from Batman and Robin that didn't really go anywhere. It's possible that was a reference to something I didn't get. I expect the Monty Python fans appreciated Eric Idle's performance of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." And there was a nod to British fashion models, with appearances by Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, among others.

With the exception of the space taken up by the athletes, who were occasionally shown singing along or cheering, the striped portion of the "flag" stage was used as a sort of runway for the artists. Those who weren't tethered to a stage by their instruments were often paraded around on vehicles. Between that and the dancers, the show made good use of the stadium.

The flag was handed over to Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, and before the torch went out, Brazil had the opportunity to put on a brief show. A little sample of what we can look forward to when the Summer Olympics in 2016. The final acts after that included Take That and the Who, and after a closing speech, the torch was put out, officially closing out the games.

As I said, the stream ran for about three hours, and during that time, commercial interruptions were extremely brief. I'm going to assume NBC will do a bit of trimming throughout the event to fit it neatly into their primetime broadcast, and make room for advertising. The whole event came off as a mash-up of a celebration of British music, with some other nods to U.K. pop culture thrown in. I wouldn't have minded a bit more attention focused to the games themselves, but there were some of those worked into the event, and the athletes were there, so it all came together in the end.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.