Spice Girls, One Direction Bring Olympics to a Dazzling End
They did rock you! With supermodels! London sends athletes home with a U.K. musical extravaganza
The London Olympics came to a close Sunday with a star-studded ceremony full of music, dance and fashion – and a dash of Spice.
After 16 days of awe-inspiring athletics, the Closing Ceremony seemed more like a music festival than a farewell.
The three-time Olympic host city celebrated the closing of the Games with previously unreleased footage of John Lennon singing “Imagine,” performances from Madness, the Pet Shop Boys, One Direction, George Michael, The Kaiser Chiefs, Annie Lennox, Ed Sheeran, Russell Brand, Fatboy Slim, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah, Taio Cruz, Liam Gallagher and Beady Eye, Muse, Bryan May and more.
The reunited Spice Girls performed two of their biggest hits, “Wannabe” and “Spice Up Your Life,” with the same energy – and wardrobe – the five-some had during the 90s.
“Baby” Bunton wore bubblegum pink, “Posh” Beckham, a short black dress with a flowing train, “Ginger” Halliwell a red dress with a Union Jack detail, “Scary” Brown a sparkling body suit and “Sporty” Chisholm, a white pantsuit.
The spectacular show was created by Kim Gavin, a former ballet dancer and one of the UK’s leading creative directors and choreographers, who directed the Closing Ceremony.
Titled “A Symphony of British Music,” the dazzling production included over 4,000 – many of who were volunteers, says BBC.
The showcase paid tribute to British artists of yesterday, today and tomorrow, televising performances from British musicians of the past – including the Beatles and Freddie Mercury of Queen – and those of the future – like One Direction and Jessie J.
Wearing a flesh colored, one-shouldered sparkling body suit, Jessie J joined Bryan May and Roger Taylor to perform a rendition of the classic, “We Will Rock You,” fusing Britain’s musical past and present.
The closing ceremony marked George Michael’s first public performance since he survived a serious case of pneumonia late last year. The singer performed “Freedom” for the 80,000 spectators.
Much like Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony, actors also found their way to the closing ceremony stage.
Russell Brand entered the ceremony atop a bus as he sang “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory which soon became the Beatles hit “I am the Walrus.”
Monty Python‘s Eric Idle also had a hilarious segment where he performed “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
British supermodels were also included. While David Bowie’s “Fashion” played, runaways emerged, giving way to some of the world’s biggest names in fashion.
Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Georgia Jagger, Karen Elson, Lily Donaldson and several others strutted their stuff as the crowd erupted in cheers. Moss and Campbell both wore gold gowns designed by the late British designer Alexander McQueen, while Elson wore Burbery and Donaldson was in Vivienne Westwood.
As the ceremony came to a close, the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, passed the Olympic Flag to Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janero, where the Summer Games will be held in 2016.
The ceremony then became a showcase of Brazilian talent including actor-singer Seu Jorge, supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio and soccer player, Pelé.
Just before the torch was extinguished, Lord Seb Coe, Olympian and Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, simplified the feeling of the Games in just a few words: “When our time came – Britain, we did it right. Thank you!”
During the speeches, the volunteers got the biggest applause when praised by Coe.
His sentiments were echoed by Prince Harry, who praised the athletes for showing “there are few boundaries to human endeavor.”