Spice Girls to Reunite, Close Out London Olympics

Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want: to see the Spice Girls reunion at the Olympic Closing ceremony! The fab five are officially confirmed to be performing at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, and zig-ah-zig-ahhed onstage during a recent rehearsal at the historic Ford car plant in Dagenham yesterday to prep for their performance.

Mel C originally fueled rumors of a Spice Girls performance at the Olympics earlier this year. “I’d be really upset if the Spice Girls weren’t included in the Olympics, whether it be the opening or closing ceremonies or any other playlists, because I think we absolutely represented Britain in the 90s,” said C, AKA Sporty Spice.

“We literally flew the flag—and Geri even wore it—around the globe. We were proud to be British and to be successful internationally, and we were the last band probably to do that,” said C. “So I think it would be a real shame if we weren’t acknowledged in some way at the Olympics.”

Victoria Beckham had also added to speculation when she said she’d love to do a reunion performance with her fellow Spices. “Who knows, maybe some day we’ll do something else with the Spice Girls. I would love nothing more,” said Beckham, a.k.a. Posh Spice. “I don’t know about a comeback tour but I loved being back with the girls.”

“There was a lot of fun, we did so much together and we’ll see. If they’re up for something then I certainly am. We are so proud to be English and we are very excited about the Olympics,” said Beckham.

Other stars at the rehearsal included Brian May, the Pet Shop Boys, Jessie J, Annie Lennox, Tinie Tempah, and George Michael, who revealed the news of his performance via Twitter. The ceremony will also feature comedian Russell Brand, British supermodels Kate Moss, Lily Cole, and Naomi Campbell, and possibly Kate Bush. It’s sure to be a bloody good Brit-stravaganza, indeed!

Peeing in Pools With Ryan Lochte

Since we all have Olympics fever, it’s finally time for me to acknowledge that Ryan Lochte exists. What a cutie! And also kind of a dummy (which is also his appeal, I suppose). But when he admitted last week that he pees in the pool, people lost their minds. Uh, duh, of course he pees in the pool.

Everybody pees in the pool. If you say you have not peed in a pool, you are a liar. Pools are there for swimming and for peeing in. Deal with it.

Luckily, the folks at Funny or Die recognize this, and they’ve made a new short featuring Ryan Lochte chattin’ about peein’. In pools.

Man, what a shocker that the dude who looks so hot in a speedo and swims real fast isn’t the most camera-ready when it comes to being engaging, huh? Can’t we get this guy and those gymnast Small Wonders to learn how to speak like a captivating human being when they’re on TV? The rest of us normal, lazy, unathletic Americans are counting on you for our entertainment now that these games are almost over!

Primo Chicago Pubs for Cheering On Your Homegrown Olympic Heroes

Chicago’s a sports-mad city, so it makes sense that its citizens would be riveted by the London 2012 Olympics, especially since so many of their fellow big-shouldered athletes are participating. Chicago is also a very social city, filled with excellent taverns and publick houses where like-minded sports nuts can bend an elbow and cheer for their heroes in an atmosphere of warmth and conviviality. But not all bars are created equal, which is why we’ve compiled this list of Chicago bars that are perfect for watching the Olympic games. See you there. 

US Girls Gymnastics Gets the One Direction Parody Video Treatment

It was bound to happen sooner or later: the NOC just released their own One Direction-inspired parody of the Fab Five from the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. The group had previously parodied Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” with Ryan Lochte (following last week’s video featuring members of the the swimming team).

Titled “What Makes You Flexible,” the video features a balding, geeky middle-aged dude wearing Ray-Ban glasses, jumping around a deserted gym with a guitar, and singing the parodied lyrics. Choice shots of Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Kyla Ross, McKayla Maroney, and Jordyn Wieber are scattered throughout.

Though last time I checked, none of the girls are as short as 4’4’’. Time to fact-check next time, NOC!

Also, I don’t know about you, but watching a grown up dude playing with a purple streamer by himself, sitting in a garden of colorful foam cubes, and going super close up to his slightly creepy face does kind of give my stomach the willies.

Ryan Lochte’s Grill Getting More Coverage Than Most Athletes, Probably

America can add another celebrity to the ever-growing list of icons from the London Olympics: Ryan Lochte’s custom-made $25,000 dental grill, designed by rapper Paul Wall and jeweler Johnny Dang, which he wore proudly to complement his gold medal.

Today, posts and stories of said grill, as well as admiring Tumblr gifs, were everywhere. The NYT (ON IT!) even interviewed some designers to find their take on Lochte’s grill, with Philip Crangi residing in the “pro” camp, calling the mouthpiece “a tiara for men.” Not sure if “tiara for men” is operative, but the grill itself is a sight. It wouldn’t be half as impressive if it didn’t actually feature THE IMAGE OF AN AMERICAN FLAG IN THE DESIGN. Every time Ryan Lochte smiles, “The Star-Spangled Banner” actually starts playing out of nowhere. And it cost more than many people Lochte’s age make in a year.

There is probably a conversation to be had in here about the cultural ramifications of said grill and WHAT DOES IT MEAN and is it appropriation, one that is nuanced and multilayered. But the fixation on Lochte’s dental diamonds is a reminder of the best and worst things about the Olympics and how they are presented to us and how we view them all at once.The cult-of-personality element and tendency to zoom in on the most outrageous details present in sports and entertainment coverage get amplified thanks to the 24-hour, multi-channel Olympic cycle (sort of) and the fact that we only see most of these athletes every four years and are introduced to new faces in each session on top of that, so the marathon get-to-know-you session happens and once the personalities and narratives have been hashed out, the ones that make for the highest entertainment value are amplified ad nauseam. This isn’t new or revelatory at all, of course—it’s how TV and the Internet work. No surprises. 

But as a result, we get these kind of amazing moments that reflect the personalities of the weird and wonderful athletes in these competitions. We get reactions from happy families we know almost as well as the athletes. We get Daniel Leyva and his lucky towel (which has its own Twitter account now because of course it does). At the same time there are all these totally wasteful, ridiculous in the wrong way and even damaging emphasis, as in the like 700 times NBC showed Jordyn Wieber close-up and in tears. Or all the coverage dedicated to Missy Franklin and the Fab Five getting Twitter love from Justin Bieber and having that as a mark of validation for young female athletes as opposed to, you know, their actual athletic prowess and kicking ass while representing their country (Although, to be fair, they were pretty excited about it, and there’s nothin’ wrong with that, but still). In the case of Lochte’s mouth, it’s a little bit of both.

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s get back to talking about how awesome the Fab Five are / complaining about the NBC spoilers.

Best Los Angeles Bars To Watch the Olympics

Find yourself stuck in Los Angeles this fine Olympic season? Fear not, my friend. You can check out this year’s finest (and hottest, see Paraguay’s Leryn Franco) athletes from the splintery comfort of your favorite bar stool. Who needs London when you’ve got BlackBook’s trusty list of LA’s best British pubs for watching the Olympics?

Dr. Dre’s Sneaky Olympics Marketing Gets Him in Hot Water

Ahh, Olympic athletes have it so hard: training just about every day with no break in sight, getting ridiculed for showing emotion, and—wait for it—not being able to wear whatever kind of headphones they like. So sad!

Apparently, the International Olympic Committee has their spandex panties in a knot because of some stealthy Beats marketing campaign that ninja’ed its way onto the heads of some valuable athletic noggins. Repeat-offender Dr. Dre sent gratis pairs of specially Union Jack-emblazoned Beats headphones to a gaggle of Great Britain athletes, which royally pissed off the IOC (he also sent his famous cans to LeBron James and the rest of the U.S. Mens national b-ball team back in the Beijing 2008 Olympics).

"If there is a blatant attempt at ambush marketing or by a group of people with commercial views, then of course we will intervene," IOC President Jacque Rogge told reporters at a press conference before the Games began.

The committee is tasked with protecting the interests of their corporate sponsors under a regulation called Rule 40. Many of the companies, like Samsung and Omega, pay millions of $$$ to feature their brand in Olympic broadcasts and demand exclusivity during airtime.

But tell that to U.S. hurdler Dawn Harper, who tweeted her distaste for Rule 40, complete with a twitpic of herself with tape over her mouth and the words “Rule 40” scrawled over it.

"I am honored to be an Olympian but #wedemandchange #rule40@NBCOlympics," read her complaint.

Still, the IOC is holding hard and fast to the rule, and say the athletes only need to bear with them for just one more month… then they’re free to jam to their Beats 24/7! "Those athletes lucky enough to have a high-profile sponsor can work with them throughout the four years," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams. "They have only one month where they can’t do that."

The Week(end) In Covers, ScarJo Salutes Serge, Driving Old Dixie Down and More

Hey, it’s only Monday and this weekend had some notable instances of people recording versions of other people’s music.

Scarlett Johansson & Lulu Gainsbourg – "Bonnie & Clyde"

Any father, even one as magnificent and totally nuts as Serge Gainsbourg, would be lucky to have a kid as devoted as his son, Lulu, who is putting out a tribute album to his father to be released this October. To help, he’s enlisted the likes of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, Iggy Pop and, of course, Scarlett Johansson, who channels her best dark-and-sexy-French-lounge-singer impression to complement Lulu on "Bonnie & Clyde." Have a listen below (via The AV Club):

Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan & John Smith – "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"

Speaking of The AV Club, the site has been showing their special summer mini-break version of "Undercover," and in today’s installment, three lovely folk artists salute the late, great Levon Helm (still sad) with a mournful and well-intentioned version of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." Glen Hansard always looks like he’s in pain when he’s singing, but it’s hard not to feel some kind of sorrow when thinking about Levon. He and his tourmates commit to the song, and there are some nice harmonies, and the Chicago setting for the video is totally sweet, but really, nothing will ever stack up to Helm’s original. 

Arctic Monkeys – "Come Together" 

The 2012 London Olympics opening ceremonies were a celebration of Britain’s most obvious cultural signifiers: James Bond, Mary Poppins, Harry Potter, corgis, Mr. Bean, The Beatles. The musical selections from the madcap brainchild of Danny Boyle, Stephen Daldry and musical directors Underworld included the latter’s own tracks, the Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, Fuck Buttons and appearances from British musicians of past and present, including the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Frank Turner, Emeli Sandé, Paul McCartney and Arctic Monkeys, who did a pretty standard cover of "Come Together" as well as their own hit, "I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor." There’s a video up on Domino’s website of the performance. 

Arctic Monkeys Cover The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ For Olympics Opening Ceremony

Didn’t watch the opening ceremony for the Olympics? You’re probably sick of the memes about the Queen. But one thing you shouldn’t miss? The Arctic Monkeys cover of the Beatle’s Come Together.

 

The band also performed I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor. Other performances included ones by Paul McCartney, Dizzee Rascal, Two Cinema Club, and Emeli Sandé. The Arctic Monkey’s cover of Come Together, as well as 24 minutes worth of new music written for the ceremony by the electronica duo Underworld Underworld, are available on iTunes in Isles of Wonder: Music for the Opening Ceremony.