The Olympic Games might be re-named the “Guessing Games” as Sunday’s closing ceremony looms into view after the artistic director said to expect everything from British composer Edward Elgar to global chart queen Adele.
The final act of London 2012, at the 80,000-capacity main stadium built in a once run-down area of the city, may not be as spectacular as the July 27 opening ceremony, an exuberant, eccentric celebration of British history and culture.
But it will feature some of the biggest names in British music and is likely to draw a global audience running in the hundreds of millions after the opening showpiece attracted an estimated 900 million television viewers.
Preferring to build up the excitement and anticipation, much like the opening ceremony, organisers were silent on Wednesday about who would perform and what the ceremony would entail, although, once again, there has been no shortage of leaks, hints and speculation.
What is known is that the close will be called “A Symphony of British Music” and that artistic director Kim Gavin said months ago the program would span music from “Elgar to Adele”.
Whether Londoner Adele, Britain’s most successful musical export of the last two years, will take part is not known.
A spokesman for the “Rolling in the Deep” singer, who is expecting her first child, was not available for comment on Wednesday.
Confirmed to appear is George Michael, who spilled the beans via Twitter.
“Hey everyone, how are you. Spending most of the next week rehearsing like crazy for the Olympic closing ceremony.....” he wrote on Tuesday.
When a follower pointed out that his participation was supposed to be a secret, he wrote back in turn: “Oh, and, secret? It’s been all over the press for weeks, and I think you alll (sic) needed to be put out of your misery!”
British singer Ed Sheeran told Australian radio recently that he was down to sing with Pink Floyd, the music press reported, prompting a swift denial from the band.
According to NME music magazine, Muse, who composed and performed the official song for the Games “Survival”, will perform the track at the ceremony, while The Who, Madness, Take That and the Spice Girls are all rumoured to be taking part.
LONDON EYE, TOWER BRIDGE
As to how the ceremony will look, Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper published photographs of what it said were the sets for the closing ceremony.
They included reduced-scale reconstructions of some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the London Eye, Clock Tower at Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge.
Also pictured was the traditional black London taxi and a yellow, three-wheeled Robin Reliant car made famous in the popular British comedy TV series “Only Fools and Horses”.
As with the opening ceremony, directed by Danny Boyle, the closing cast will be mainly made up of more than 4,000 local volunteers including around 400 children.
Starting at 2000 GMT on Sunday, it will include a procession of the participating nations’ flag bearers who enter the stadium in single file.
They are followed by athletes appearing together rather than divided by nationality, symbolising how the Games bring together the world as “one nation”.
Three flags - Greece, host nation Britain and Brazil which holds the 2016 Olympics - will be raised and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge will declare London 2012 closed.
The Olympic Flame, which has been burning in the stadium since the opening ceremony, is extinguished, although even that will not quite be the end for Britons who have followed the Games with increasing enthusiasm.
The British Olympic Association has announced there will be a victory parade through London in September, after the close of the Paralympic Games which run from Aug. 29-Sept. 9.
Given Britain’s success at London 2012, where the gold medal tally reached 22 by Wednesday, the highest in 104 years, predictions of one million people lining the streets are not as far-fetched as they once may have seemed.