Olympics Watch: What Was Your Favorite Moment From the 2012 Closing Ceremony?

Olympics Closing Ceremony 2012Welp, the 30th Olympiad has come to a close. “A Symphony of British Music,” directed by David Arnold and renowned British choreographer Kim Gavin, opened with a booming Big Ben and Emeli Sandé’s beautiful voice. It introduced us to a newspaper-wrapped world of London’s architectural icons, Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill and Prince Harry (umm, hello!) with a smashing Kate Middleton.

The Dream of the 90s was definitely alive…in London. Madness sang “Our House” on the back of a flat-bed truck, the Royal Ceremonial Band played “Park Life” by Blur and The Pet Shop Boys arrived by orange geometric bicycles .

One Direction sang their global smash “What Makes You Beautiful” and showed good hair genes, but Stomp brought down the house with their largest cast since 1991 of bang-on-can rhythms that electrified an entire stadium. There was a definite warm and fuzzy moment when the audience started singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

The Brits looked terrific as the athletes flooded in but could we stop already with the walking-while-recording-the-world-with-our-iPads? I still squealed like a teenage girl at the opening notes of George Michael’s “Freedom ‘90” but groaned when I saw that belt buckle. When did he start singing like Cher?

Thumbs up to the Kaiser Chiefs’ cover of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard.” David’ Bowie’s “Fashion” ushered in British models Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss wearing golden stunners from the UK’s biggest fashion houses. Annie Lennox was the brilliant leader of post-apocalyptic Elizabethans.

The grossest moment of the night goes to Russell Brand and his discordant orgy of awfulness (and to NBC for cutting The Who and Ray Davies) but Fatboy Slim and Monty Python comic genius Eric Idle saved the day. No one, however, could save Liam Gallagher of Beady Eye from his own song.

The Spice Girls reunion was the world’s worst kept secret, especially since it already happened in 2008. Fun fact: Gold medalist Missy Franklin was only 1 when “Wanna Be” topped the charts.

The video sing-a-long with the late Freddie Mercury reminded us that not just anyone can fill his shoes. (I’m talking to you, Jessie J, in your sparkly Flo-Jo suit. Also, who let Brian May wear his Gryffindor track suit in public?)

The Rio presentation included Bootsy Collins samba girls, neon-topped Amazon warriors and a craft closet explosion. Alessandra Ambrosio and Pele were there to distract us all from the mess. I, like McKayla, was not impressed. —Sarah Platanitis 

What was your favorite moment from the London 2012 Closing Ceremonies? Sound off in the comments!

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138 Comments
  1. jen says:

    Eric Idle for the win. Jesse J singing with Queen was repulsive and a crime to all humanity.

    • lana says:

      Agreed, when will Jessie J go away?

    • Polly says:

      This!
      And still no Doctor? What the h, england?

    • Alexis says:

      A+ comment. Jessie J made me change the channel again and again. She is truly the worst and I am completely mystified as to how she got such a prominent role in the Closing.

      • Jenny says:

        Such a classic song and didn’t need her wailing through it. Should have just had Freddy on video (like the dd at the beginning) singing.

    • TMW says:

      I thought the opening ceremony was awful and the closing ceremony was awful. They should stick to weddings.

    • Kevin says:

      My favorite moment was when it was over. That was the best that the Brit’s could do? Can’t tell me they couldn’t get true British talent. Elton, Paul, Adele, the list goes on as to who they should have had. Figure that if Queen Liz would have asked the people I listed, they would have been there.

      • David says:

        Er your 3 choices ……well Elton was ill…Paul was used in the opening gambit and as for Adele….8 months preggers….the baby is more important that any Olympics ever.

      • Amy says:

        So when you say “true British talent” you mean mainstream in America talent?

      • Randi says:

        What about Phil Collins, Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, or Florence & the Machine? I know that the people they chose are part of their musical history but it would have been better and more enjoyable for them to chose artists that are more universally recognized. And just because Paul McCartney performed in the opening doesn’t mean that he can’t perform in the closing. Anyone would have been better than Russell Brand!!!!

        • David says:

          Yeah well you would have had a walk out if Phil Collins played…….He is hugely disliked in the U.K. not knocking his music im just saying how he is as a person.

        • Tess says:

          Phil Collins gave up doing music due to health problems, if I’m not mistaken. Coldplay just wrapped a North American tour so they were probably on a plane back to England when the show was happening. Perhaps Mumford and Florence declined…? And bringing Paul back for the closing would’ve been seen as redundant. Agreed that Russell Brand was an odd choice and certainly NBC could’ve cut that part in favor of any of the other acts they cut.
          I was just glad NBC didn’t cut Take That…most of the US wouldn’t know that Gary Barlow (who sang lead on that song) is still grieving the loss of his stillborn daughter just about a week ago. It makes that song take on a different meaning and makes it all the more poignant. He looked to be choking back some tears in the intro.

      • Katherine says:

        You cannot please everbody. There are lots of singers that i thought should of been invited to perform. But have you not considered the fact that some of these people had been invited but declined for various reasons. The Brits did a fantastic job, not only of the opening and closing ceromony, but of the whole set up!!!!.

    • murley says:

      thank you. it was beyond comprehension that they chose her to sing with queen.

    • O'Brien says:

      I was watching on DVR, and immediately hit the fast forward when JJ sang the first note. I looked at my friend, who I was watching it with, and went, “That was just offensive.” Must we taint Queen?

      Mad props on “Gryffindor Track Suit,” however.

    • Sha says:

      she is awful. How did she get so famous anyway? I’m not a fan of Katy Perry but jessie j seems to be a less-talented, british version of her.

  2. Jennifer says:

    fave moments: eric idle and the bollywood dancing!

  3. mia says:

    The Spice Girls were easily the highlight for me (and I was at one of their 2008 reunion tour).
    .
    I found the ceremonies to be a bit tacky actually. And if they were going to focus on music in the closing ceremonies, was it necessary to include the really boring 30-minute musical montage in the opening ceremonies?
    .

  4. itsme says:

    Christine Sinclair carrying in Canada’s flag!! Easily the best moment of the show. Brought a tear to my eye at how happy and proud she looked.

  5. nanou says:

    You forget TAKE THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing performance & song & respect to Gary Barlow who lost his little girl few days ago

    • Kimberly says:

      YES!!! Take that sudden put myself and my girlfriends back in junior high as we watched it together. I didn’t expect them at all, and I squealed with glee when they were performing.

    • Karen says:

      My exact thought. Take That never disappoints. Wherever Gary Barlow gets the strength from, I don’t know. But he is simply incredible!

    • Emily says:

      I totally agree, Take That were absolutely fantastic and Gary Barlow was so incredbly brave to do that, especially when the Rule The World has so much meaning in it.

    • delushy says:

      Agreed major props to Gary for performing so quickly after such a tragic loss- what a professional

  6. anna says:

    Rio can do better then that and I know it! I’ve got such high expectations for 2016 but that introduction was just meh…

  7. Beat part was Take That and Rule The World, heartfelt and emotional after what happened with Gary Barlow’s baby girl.

    • Christina says:

      Loved Take That. I have a sentimental spot for them as I was a huge fan back in the 90’s. Their performance was so much more knowing what Gary Barlow has been through this week.

  8. Kristin says:

    Even Bob Costa said “join us in an hour for the who” or something like that. I figured their late night hour would be the end of the ceremonies, but they didn’t have a late night hour tonight. Just add another FAIL to the NBC’s list of the Olympics.

  9. Nic says:

    NBC on Directv has been out in Los Angeles for the last 30-mins. This is unbelievable. Is this network physically incapable of NOT f*#^£ing up this year’s Olympics coverage?

  10. Cla says:

    THE SPICE GIRLS! great!

  11. Won'tGetFooledAgain says:

    That NBC finally finished broadcasting it…

    …only after airing Animal Practice and local news.

    They also cut out several musical numbers, not to mention moments like the thanking of all the volunteers etc. All that after having first used The Who to promote the damned show, and airing a prior synopsis program that itself ran well into primetime. Meaning, they could have had the whole thing run before 11pm but were stubbornly set on simultaneously gutting and glutting.

    Talk about Delay.

    I don’t care NBC says the ratings are highest ever. It’s not like many had any other recourse through which to watch them, forever buffering online, BBC, CTV, etc.

    I’m glad they made their money back and then some, turned a profit even. Seriously unimpressed with how they went about it.

    As for ceremony moments. Annie Lennox, Eric Idle, The Who were standouts, and not least had some of the best sound mix.

    Between the opening and closing ceremonies, well, I’d say the director of Trainspotting outdid the director of Incredibly Loud Extremely Close. Just IMO.

  12. Sarah says:

    Super pissed about NBC cutting Muse from its telecast too. I was really looking forward to seeing that. :(

    • Irishgirl says:

      And Kate Bush too! She hasn’t performed in like, what, 20 years…..she did “Running Up That Hill” and they cut the entire piece.

    • Michelle says:

      Cutting Muse was stupid. Their song was the anthem of the entire London games for crying out loud! I was looking forward to seeing them. Fortunately it’s on You Tube.

  13. QB says:

    So awesome seeing the Spice Girls together again. It’s like I was 8 all over again.

  14. Spice Girls Fan says:

    Um it’s “Wannabe” not “Wanna Be”…

  15. Becca says:

    I can’t believe they didn’t show the Muse!!!! >:[

  16. Twisted Sister says:

    Forget about the freaking show. They CUT OUT MUSE. YOU NEVER CUT OUT MUSE.

  17. Kelly says:

    Eric Idle hands down. The rest was just whatever.

  18. Allyson says:

    I enjoyed the closing ceremony better than I did with the opening one. Why Russell Brand? He nearly ruined “Willy Wonka”‘s song for me. I was happy to hear the familiar song, but not sung by him. It was good to see the Spice Girls again! It brought me back to the 90s! I never realized how much of my favorite songs came from the Brits until tonight. Well, I am proud to be an American. USA won 104 medals total!!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I liked the Liam Gallagher performance :/.

    • Laura says:

      Me too.I actually loved all of the ceremony :)

    • Tess says:

      I liked his performance too…but that song takes me back to high school so he could’ve done an interpretive dance to the music instead of singing and I would’ve still probably liked it. I actually thought Liam sounded pretty good live for a change.

  20. Winnie says:

    I base my favorite moment on how much I got into it, so my favorite part was when the Pet Shop Boys came out. Honorable mention goes to my guy for his WTF?! face when I was singing along. Brian May on guitar/Freddie Mercury footage was entertaining as hell, and I was excited to see Annie Lennox, though the sound was unfortunately terrible. Madness was a nice treat, Eric Idle made me smile, and though I also loved the opening notes of Freedom ’90, I didn’t like the accompanying George Michael wardrobe.

    Loved the models during Fashion, didn’t like that (apparently) things were cut out…

  21. Jorge says:

    Dear NBC,

    I’m writing to inform the network of my extreme dissatisfaction with the coverage of the closing ceremony tonight. Not only was the program completely disjointed because of all the added commercials, but viewers were held hostage at the end so that your network could show the asinine program that is supposed to premiere soon. (Side note-no one will watch that show and you’ll be canceling it soon.) On top of that you cut out one of the most popular bands from Britain who performed the official song. Thanks for ruining my night. I’ll be sure to never watch your channel again.

    Sincerely,

    A former viewer.

  22. the thing about the Rio presentation is that everyone thinks that Brazil is all about the Carnival, the samba and the naked women. but our culture is much more! that presentation was so rich, culturally speaking, and it represented our culture way better than Carnival/samba/naked women.

    • being a brazilian, I kinda expected that, but I still hope, or rather, have high hopes that in the opening and closing ceremony in Rio, we are gonna see much more than the “Rio/Carnaval” cultural, because there is so much more than that here in Brazil, we have a very diversified background, raging from Europe to Africa, so culturally speaking, “naked women in Carnaval” is what is usually sold, but there is so, so so so much more in here… Again, I do hope, whomever is in charge of the opening/closing ceremony remembers that… About the cerimonies in London, personally, I liked…

    • andressa says:

      I’m brazilian too and I disagree, that presentation was boring and cliche-filled even though it had no naked women in it! Why would they pick Marisa Monte? Seriously? Were they trying to get people to fall asleep? I am worried about the fact that we’re following London specially from the musical point of view… but we do have a rich culture and if we play our cards right (and stay away from excessive soccer and carnival references) we’ll be able to show the world that. The thing is our government will probably f*ck it up like they do everything else…

      • Pearl says:

        You’re so right!!! But i rather see Marisa Monte than Michel Teló. X_X Much more!!!
        It was just a fiasc, was Rio trying to be London, trying to be the Rio the World thinks it knows and trying to “please” brazilians by put some maracatu, capoeira and iemanjá (WHY THE HELL THE CAPOEIRA MAN WERE USING SUSPENDERS? WHYYYYYYYY)

      • Katherine says:

        As a brit i can sympathise with you. When we showcased ourselves back in 2008, i was filled with dread at how we would screw up the Olympics, but now for once in my life i can say that we did a fantastic job, and i am proud to be a British citizen. There was so much pressure on us following the Beijing Games, that we had no choice but to pull it off. I am sure Brazil will pull it off too.

  23. ben says:

    The Spice Girls reunion was fun, took me back! Really, the show as a whole was a let down because I guess they just couldn’t afford all the musicians who should have been there. But I did like Eric Idle, and also the initial setup of London inside the stadium looked great!

  24. Tim says:

    Not only does that One Direction band suck, but they stole that song from Sheila E.

  25. Ali says:

    This was the worst closing ceremony ever. It was a complete Schlock-fest of mediocre has-beens. I knew from the lineup that it would be bad as there were no: Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Pink Floyd or David Gilmour, or even David Bowie (just his music being covered by a crappy cover band.) No Sex Pistols, no Duran-Duran nada, zip. I didn’t get the luxury of seeing The Who as NBC deemed them not worthy.

    All in all it was a huge disappointment. Most singers were off key and the dancing, floor show seemed rushed/contrived/silly. George Michael looked just like John Travolta (wink, wink.) and I had no idea who Jessie G was or the “rappers.” Fat Boy Slim looked embarrassed to be there and I actually did get a kick out of Russell Brand and thought he did fine. Eric Idle was just weird as well. I laughed when the camera focused on Prince Harry and he looked so bored and was mouthing one of the songs in the most contrived manner. You could see some of the athletes even rolling their eyes through part of it. Not such a good ceremony. One can only hope the next one will be better.

  26. Lana says:

    Every time I see George Michael, he looks more and more like he should be hanging out at the Blue Oyster Bar from Police Academy.
    Annie Lennox was awesome, the John Lennon head made out of boxes was cool, Take That was so good (though I would have been sooooo happy to see Robbie Williams), and surprisingly, I really enjoyed Ray Davies.

  27. Ric Meyers says:

    My fave were the performances of The Who and Muse…oh wait, that’s right, NBC cut those out…as they had censored the Opening Ceremonies too. So now NBC stands for New Bad Censors.

  28. The closing ceremony was bad in every way the opening was good.
    Music tracks on repeat, awful commentary here in the UK (shame on you BBC for not learning from the mistakes two weeks ago) and Jessie J being a prize cow for first killing the Bee Gees, then doing Queen.
    Why not stick with the Freddie video wall? It had the crowd going like crazy, as did the Imagine video.
    Funny that two dead guys got the crowd popping like nobody playing live could.

    Best part? Eric Idle actually doing the “life’s a piece of sh*t” line – I was NOT expecting that.
    Also, did they really need to have Emili Sande on so often? Think that was 4 or 5 times in total for the UK broadcast. Wouldn’t be so bad if her songs weren’t so depressing.
    Does she know any Prodigy?

  29. Katie says:

    Eric Idle. Spice Girls Muse’s piano (seriously, I want that thing!!). I do not and never will get how they could let Jessie J sing a Queen song. I don’t have a problem with that girl, but that’s Freddie Mercury’s legacy we’re talking about here. Surely of all the big big names that performed at this (awesome) shindig, SOMEONE else would gladly have done it?

  30. Alexis says:

    The best was definitely the mass singalong to Oasis (Beady Eye? Pah!) Wonderwall. Everyone really does know that song.
    Also great to see Gary Barlow perform with Take That, especially after his recent family tragedy. Class act!

  31. fan says:

    I loved imagine! :)

  32. Ladedotty says:

    I saw pretty photos of Madness and Ray Davies and Tim Spall and the Who but only on-line on non NBC websites. I DVR’d the closing ceremonies and even added extra time. never saw the Who on the east coast. I fast forwarded thru all the commercials, so suck it NBC advertisers. And NBC execs, I got a voodoo doll with your names on it.

  33. Alex says:

    Spice Girls! And, of course, Boris Johnson dancing along to them. Also enjoyed Take That.

  34. Sandy says:

    Well i must be the only one who actually liked Jessie J, she has such a special voice, I love it !! And she kept me awake when all I wanted to do was sleep because of all the boring songs !!

    • dude says:

      You’re not alone! I love her too. Her voice isn’t for everyone but I thought her performances were the best of all of them. She’s one of the few acts who can actually sing live. That said, I was thrilled to see Tinie Tempah.

  35. k. says:

    I did not like jessie j singing we will rock you, nto at all…it#s such a great song though!

  36. greysfan says:

    I loved the closing ceremony and the London games but i kept asking myself, where was Adele? The highest selling British singer of the past year and she was no where to be seen. IMO Sydney is still the best Olympic Games i have seen with London a close 2nd.

  37. pickles says:

    Best bit was when the camera panned to the crowd during the Spice Girls and you saw Boris Johnson and David Cameron dad dancing…hilarious.

  38. Leila says:

    The Rio/Brazil was the coolest and most creative part. Also liked the John Lennon bit.

  39. Michelle says:

    NBC did air The Who….an hour later, after the stupid monkey show and the news. I DVR’d it because it was too late for me to stay up to watch. Completely ridiculous. If it wasn’t for Grimm I would never watch NBC again!

  40. scorpo says:

    I don’t understand the comment in the article about George Michael singing like Cher.

  41. lipsticksocialism says:

    SPICE UP YOUR LIFE

  42. Leo says:

    Spice Girls: best moment! And London’s mayor dancing also.
    But for real, spice up your life!

  43. Tim says:

    Elbow were great. Shame the BBC commentators talked over so much of them. The Who were the other standout performers. Enjoyed most of the ceremony but would have liked a different vocalist to accompany Queen (with a rendition of We Are The Champions).

    • Tess says:

      NBC didn’t even acknowledge that Elbow was performing when the athletes were entering the stadium…Not even one cutaway from the athletes to even show that there was a band on and not just a track being played over the PA system. Would’ve been nice if they could’ve given some credit to the band there. Then again, at least they were heard…other acts didn’t even get to be background noise.

  44. MLO says:

    The best part? That they’re over. What a colossal waste of money.

  45. The Spice Girls, Muse and Take That were the highlight of the night for me

  46. Patti says:

    Spice Girls were the highlight for me.

  47. jOE sMITH says:

    Did I miss “The Who” or did my station cut it or did they nor appear??Thanks for any inf anyone can provide

  48. Eric says:

    Any time we get to see Take That on US TV is a highlight!

  49. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    I liked John Lennon, Spice Girls, the Oasis song, and even the Pink Floyd song sung by what had to be the red head from Harry Potter lol. What I didn’t like was everything NBC has done over the last two weeks. They ruined last night with all the damn commercials. They could have aired this live and gotten it all in before the news without that stupid retrospective. Holding viewers hostage until after the news for the big name acts is BS. And even the retrospective was bad. A lot of athletes got looked over for others who they feel are more telegenic or whatever.