The closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics brought a dash of traditional British pomp and culminated with a number of performances by English pop and rock super stars and a show-stopper by the beloved Spice Girls.
In contrast to director Danny Boyle's divisive opening ceremony, which featured performances from Paul McCartney, rapper Dizzee Rascal and rockers the Arctic Monkeys, the closing event had the vibe of Britain's famed and diverse music festivals, and featured performances by 1980s pop mainstays Madness and the Pet Shop Boys, George Michael, modern rockers The Kaiser Chiefs, singer Annie Lennox and many more.
It was the reunited Spice Girls that made the biggest splash at Sunday night's event, which was viewed an estimated 300 million around the world and 80,000 fans at Olympic Stadium.
Melanie Chisholm ("Sporty Spice"), Emma Bunton ("Baby Spice"), Melanie Brown ("Scary Spice"), Victoria Beckham ("Posh Spice"), and Geri Halliwell ("Ginger Spice") arrived via multicolored taxis into the center of the stadium, the floor of which was arranged to resemble the Union Jack.
The reunited pop stars surprised audiences with by performing a medley of their megahits "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life" as they stood atop their taxis and circled the stadium, dazzling audience members who helped make them one of the most popular worldwide acts of the late 1990s.
In addition to the aforementioned artists, London 2012's closing ceremony also featured comic Eric Idle performing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," which was originally featured in the 1979 film "Monty Python's Life of Brian." The track is a popular sing-along in the United Kingdom.
Other performers throughout the stunning closing event included One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Russell Brand, Fatboy Slim, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah, Taio Cruz, Liam Gallagher and Beady Eye, Muse, Bryan May, The Kinks' Ray Davies and The Who, performing hits "Baba O'Riley", "See Me, Feel Me", and "My Generation."
At the end of the ceremony, London Mayor Boris Johnson passed the Olympic Flag to Rio de Janero's mayor Eduardo Paes. The Brazilian city will host the 2016 summer games.