LONDON – This Sunday, the curtain comes down on the Summer Games in London, and the Olympic torch begins its journey from the British capital to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the host city for the 2016 Olympics.The three-hour closing ceremony is expected to be watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Here are five things to know about the spectacle that is due to hit TV screens starting at 9pm London, 1pm Los Angeles time.
1. A Film Score Star Producer and Many Performers Will Make it All Happen:
Movie and TV score composer David Arnold (Independence Day, Zoolander, five James Bond films, The Chronicles of Narnia, Hot Fuzz, TV series Little Britain and Sherlock) took a call more than three years to see if he would get involved with the playlist for the Olympics 2012 closing night and accepted the role of musical director.
He has a good deal of awards pedigree, including a Grammy for his work on Independence Day, but has never worked on a single project that has taken quite as much time before. He has been compiling the playlist for the show and writing the original score linking the whole spectacle together for more than two years.
Arnold has experienced collaborators in Kim Gavin, a theatrical and ballet choreographer who oversaw Take That’s 2011 stadium tour, and designer Es Devlin, whose sets for Lady Gaga and Rihanna have previously raised eyebrows.
The show is billed as a giant concert-meets-stage show that will feature more than 4,100 performers, including 3,500 volunteers.
Who will star among the 600 professionals taking to specially constructed sets around the Olympic Stadium has been kept a secret.
2. Expect “A Symphony of British Music” with many British stars:
The ceremony is called “A Symphony of British Music,” a reference to the celebration of British pop music over the last 50 plus years.
Arnold has composed original music to link the ceremony’s segments together and all tracks have been pre-recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, with only vocals performed live.
Overall, the closing ceremony will resemble a giant jukebox of British hits with performers set to include the Spice Girls, Pet Shop Boys, George Michael and singer and reality TV show judge Jessie J and many others (link to our story earlier this week). But not all the talent maybe singing their own songs amid reports that some will be tuning up others’ hits.
The Spice Girls, back together to perform for the first time since their 2008 reunion tour, are rumored to arrive atop personalized London taxi cabs before singing one of their hits ahead of more than 20 pop and rock legends lined up to perform about 30 British tunes.
One of the biggest topics of debate in the U.K. has been whether The Rolling Stones will be part of the show.
3. Expect at Least One Celebrity From Outside the Music World:
Beyond musical stars, there is likely to be at least one representative from another part of the entertainment world who will show up during the closing ceremony.
Rumor is that actor and comedian Russell Brand, recently divorced from Katy Perry, will make an appearance. He is expected to sing “We are The Champions” with Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor.
4. There Will Be Official Olympics Business to Conduct:
The closing ceremony will also incorporate the march of more than 10,000 athletes and flagbearers, as well as the medal ceremony for the men’s marathon. There is also expected to be a video package of some of the highlights from the two weeks of Olympics action.
Queen Elizabeth II, mayor of London Boris Johnson and International Olympics Committee president Jacques Rogge are on the list of people who will make brief speeches, with Johnson handing over the Olympic flag to Rio mayor Eduardo Paes.
At the end, Rogge will declare the Games closed, and the Olympic Flame will be extinguished.
5. There Is More Medal Action to Come for London:
Sunday’s closing ceremony may be the end of the Summer Olympics, but it’s not the end of sports action and medal competition for the British capital.
The Paralympics opening ceremony will take place on Aug. 29. Ticket sales for the Paralympics, which run through Sept. 9, have been brisk, and some predict they may even sell out for the first in the event’s history.