Spice Girls tipped for closing ceremony
LONDON, England (AFP) — The Spice Girls are expected to be among the diverse array of stars performing in Sunday's Olympic Games closing ceremony, entitled "A Symphony of British Music".
George Michael, Muse and Ed Sheeran have broken the ring of silence surrounding the event and confirmed they are among the acts taking part in the spectacle that brings the curtain down on the London 2012 Games.
Spice Girls singer Victoria Beckham last week tweeted a picture of a microphone, saying "Look what I found!", while pictures of the 1990s girl group rehearsing on top of five London taxis have appeared in the British press.
The show at the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium will feature more than 4,000 performers, including 380 schoolchildren.
"We want it to be the best after-show party there has ever been," its artistic director Kim Gavin said on Saturday. "Any more than that and we would spoil the surprise," Gavin told a press conference.
The ceremony will see London hand over to the Rio 2016 Games, and the Olympic flame — which has been alight at the east London stadium for two weeks — will be extinguished.
The ceremony's pre-show entertainment begins at 1900 GMT, with the main ceremony, from 2000 GMT, scheduled to last up to three hours.
Gavin, a choreographer who has produced some of Britain's biggest events in recent years including a concert for the late Princess Diana in 2007 and Take That tours, said the show would be a "mashed-up symphony" of British music.
The ceremony will start with a 20-minute "day in the life of London", the former ballet dancer revealed, with the soundtrack ranging from classical English composer Edward Elgar to "Waterloo Sunset" by 1960s rockers The Kinks.
Kinks frontman Ray Davies has been tipped to perform the song in person.
"It is an extraordinary show. I think it is everything we wanted," said Stephen Daldry, the ceremony's creative director and executive producer.
"The brief was to celebrate the athletes, to celebrate the volunteers, to celebrate London, the country and... the rest of the world that has come together for this extraordinary Games."
Daldry, a film director and producer best known for "Billy Elliot", also praised the show's designer Es Devlin, who has created sets for Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Take That.
The show's musical director is David Arnold, who has written pieces for James Bond films.
Despite her surprise cameo appearance in the opening ceremony when she acted alongside James Bond star Daniel Craig, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will not be attending, and neither will her husband Prince Philip.
They are at the monarch's private summer residence in Scotland.
"The Queen and Prince Philip are definitely staying at Balmoral," a spokesman at Buckingham Palace told AFP.