These days, everyone’s an expert on “song choice.” Or at least they think they are. Of course their expertise, such as it is, comes from watching X-Factor and American Idol, which are just glorified karaoke competitions. In the worlds of X-Factor and American Idol, the idea of singing new music is unheard of. You must sing a song that as many people as possible know and love, to win votes from the public. That’s fine, but really, that’s nothing to do with art. Entertainment, yes. Art, no.
When putting together opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics, organisers hired artistic directors to create the shows. They didn’t hire Simon Cowell’s production company. The artistic director and his/her team decide what the content of the shows will be. If the artistic director doesn’t want something in the show, it doesn’t go in the show.
So, when people cry, “How was George Michael allowed to sing his new song (White Light) at the Olympics?” the answer is really very simple – because the artistic director wanted him to sing it. When they cry, “How was it appropriate to sing a new song at the ceremony when it was about classic music?” The answer is, the artistic director wanted him to sing it and the ceremony wasn’t about classic music – you failed to understand what the show was about. There is no rule that says you have to include only old music in artistic performances. This isn’t X-Factor or American Idol.
But I can see you don’t believe me. You think that George Michael insisted on singing his new song and that the artistic director was powerless to refuse. Well, that’s not how it works. If the artistic director didn’t think the song choice was appropriate, it wouldn’t have been in the show. Of course, George could have refused to perform if he wasn’t allowed to sing the new song – that would have been his choice. However, that’s not what happened. George wanted to sing his new song, and the artistic director, Kim Gaven, wanted him to sing it. Here’s what a spokesman for the ceremony had to say about this “controversy”…
“One of the themes of the ceremony was endurance and physical endeavour, and Kim decided this song was appropriate,”
That’s right, artistically speaking, the song fitted in with the ceremony. In no way, shape or form was it “inappropriate.” The artistic director wanted White light in the show, and on the soundtrack album for the show.
Of course, it’s fine for you or anyone else to not have enjoyed the ceremony; and it’s fine if you didn’t enjoy George’s performance of his new song, White Light. Really, though, if you seriously think it was inappropriate, you’re just a fucking idiot… which is probably why you weren’t hired to be the artistic director of the ceremony.