Ratings and reviews

An estimated worldwide television audience of 750 million watched the event.[22] Early data suggested that the British TV audience averaged 23.2 million and hit a peak of 26.2 million at 21:35.[15][30] The Daily Telegraph commented during the ceremony that, although fun, it lacked "top drawer" performers, and that Annie Lennox was "utterly underwhelming." However One Direction, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz "shone", while the Spice Girls "got the exuberant tone exactly right".[31] Tom Sutcliffe writing for The Independent said that it was "slick, impressive, often visually startling" and "eccentric, bewildering and shameless good fun". He added that "where Danny Boyle's opening show had been a statement of intent and national values, this was an hour-long advert for British stadium rock-show design."[32] The Guardian writer Michael Billington wrote that he was not sure how to review "a mix of pageant, pop-concert, street-party and presentation ceremony." He added that it communicated the "energy of British popular culture over the past few decades and the gaiety of our Olympic ceremonies." Billington praised Boyle, Devlin and Daldry, who had done a "tremendous job in lending what might have been orthodox Olympic rituals a blast of theatrical vitality."[33] While Alexis Petridis writing for the same paper said that the lack of a "gasp inducing moment" spoilt the show.[34] Jan Moir of the Daily Mail queried whether the ceremony truly reflected Britain's musical heritage and described the opening section as "dull, dull, dull". She asked "how could anyone follow the Opening Ceremony for entertainment?", challenged "the logic" of clips of artists such as Bush and Bowie who had "declined to appear", and said that the fashion section was "dreary".[35] NZ Herald's Troy Rawhiti-Forbes wrote that there were "touches of brilliance, beauty, and bewilderment - often at the same time." However he called Russell Brand "tuneless", and during George Michael's performance he thought that "if there had been remote controls here in the stadium, people might have been reaching for them." His "undisputed champions" of the night were the Spice Girls and The Who.[36] David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter noted that t e show "had something for every generation" and was an "all-star...crowd-pleaser." However he wonders whether non-British viewers would have understood references to The Italian Job and Only Fools and Horses. Rooney concludes that the "Rio preview and the rousing Britpop marathon that preceded it were a reminder that the Olympics are as much about spectacle as sport."[37] Gary Barlow was called "inspirational, brave and a consumate professional" after performing despite losing his fourth child on 4 August.[38] However, George Michael attracted some criticism for singing his new song "White Light" at the ceremony.[30] Critics saw this as shameless promotion. Michael replied that it was his one chance to thank his supporters, which he didn't regret.[39] It was his first appearance since almost dying from pneumonia and "White Light" was about that experience.[40] Appearances by Russell Brand, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss were also seen as controversial, as their previous behaviour had not always reflected Olympic ideals.[40][41] As with the opening ceremony, United States broadcaster NBC was criticised for its coverage. John Clarke, writing for Forbes, said it was wrong not to air performances from Ray Davies and Muse, as well as delaying the performance from The Who by an hour in order to broadcast the pilot of the sitcom Animal Practice followed by the late local news.[42] Even Bob Costas, NBC's primetime anchor for the Olympics, criticized NBC for delaying The Who in favor of the Animal Practice sneak preview on an episode of Conan, which aired September 12, exactly a month after the Closing Ceremony.[43] On behalf of the show's eponymous host, Conan O'Brien, Costas also took a jab at NBC over how the network handled the 2010 Tonight Show conflict.[43] While in New Zealand, Prime TV were also criticised for delayed coverage, running 20 minutes behind Sky Sport.[44] The Spice Girls' performance has since received more than 3,000,000 hits on the official Olympics YouTube channel,[45] which is not only the most watched musical performance of the Opening or Closing Ceremony, but the second most watched clip of the entire London 2012 Olympic Games, second only to Usain Bolt's record breaking 100m Final.[46]