We knew NBC would heavily edit its broadcast of last night's London Olympics closing ceremony; they cut out a bunch of stuff from the opening ceremony, too, in the name of "tailoring programming to our American audience." Last night presented an additional scheduling challenge for NBC, as they had to ensure enough time was left for them to premiere a monkey show (an ill-timed promo for which they already had to apologize).
The result? A program that ran in real life for 3:08:10 was shaved down by 51 minutes, 23 seconds by NBC. That's a lot of excising—27% of the entire performance—and it included some fantastic moments such as a rendition of the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" by Ray Davies, a tribute piece sung by Emeli Sandé (whose performance NBC cut out of the opening ceremony, too), and some badass ballet. Here's everything NBC didn't show you.
An identical countdown was used for the opening ceremony, and also not shown on NBC. (It wasn't, we note, shown on Canada's CTV either, though it was indeed part of the closing ceremony as you can see it on the Olympic Stadium screen during CTV's broadcast.) It's a neat testament to London landmarks, though my favorite part is the 45 used comes from the 7" section of a record store. It saved NBC about 60 seconds. Here's four of them.
NBC showed most of this segment, but cut away just as the Damien Hirst-designed artwork was revealed; they omitted the part where the British national anthem was performed and sung. It also saved NBC about 60 seconds. Here's ten of them.
Thirty acrobats performed the lyrics to the Beatles' "A Day In The Life," named as the best British song of all time. The acrobats are from a troupe called Spelbound, made up of the Team GB acrobatic gymnastics team and recognizable to UK viewers as stars of the Britain's Got Talent television program.
Ray Davies, lead singer of the Kinks, performs "Waterloo Sunset," one of the band's most famous songs and considered by many to be the best song ever written about London. He's accompanied by Urban Voices Collective and the London Symphony Orchestra.
It's Emeli Sandé again, reprising the song that opened the program but accompanied this time by images that, according to the BBC, pays tribute to the joy and sorrow witnessed at the London Olympics. It's a pretty breathtaking montage, and it's a real shame NBC decided a monkey show was more important for you to see. The above three segments constitute 11 minutes, 25 seconds excised by NBC. We happily bring you one of those minutes.
Gawker already highlighted this, but here's some more detail about this wild performance: there are 303 cubes, representing the 303 Olympic events. Highlights from the London Games are projected onto the cubes, which are built up to create a stage for the next segment (which you also didn't see). "Running Up That Hill" went for six minutes. Here are 30 of them.
Uganda won its first gold medal since 1972 in the men's marathon, the medal ceremony for which is traditionally held during the closing ceremony. Alas, NBC decided to strip you of watching this historic moment, and the utter elation and pride upon Stephen Kiprotich's face as he accepted gold. The rest of this segment wasn't especially interesting; the new members of the IOC's Athletes' Commission were recognized, as were the 70,000 "Games Maker" volunteers. It was neat, but we understand why NBC omitted it. All told, it's nine minutes, 18 seconds removed. Here's 20 of them.
We're not sure why they gave George Michael two songs to sing, but NBC cut him off after the one you recognized. Michael also performed his latest hit, "White Light," which the official closing ceremony media guide describes as "a personal ode to endurance and survival." We think the fact George Michael is still around to perform at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony itself an ode to those things. NBC saved five minutes, 23 seconds by cutting this out. We bring you ten of those seconds.
Okay, so NBC sort of showed you this, but they censored it for your sensitive ears. The rest of the world heard it unedited, if you were wondering, and so here's the essential line from Eric Idle's performance.
Muse fans went berserk when they realized NBC edited the band's performance of the 2012 Olympic Anthem "Survival." It wasn't the best performance, really, and most of us who watched live concluded it would be the first thing on NBC's chopping block—despite it being a rather important, historically, part of the closing ceremony. (Not as important as the men's marathon award ceremony, but whatever.) Sure enough, NBC didn't show it. It saved them three minutes, 47 seconds. Here's three.
If you watched on NBC, you noticed a really obvious jump cut here. That's because NBC shaved 41 seconds off their broadcast by omitting the part where Rogge delivered his concluding words in French. Our video is ten seconds of that.
This is the closing ceremony's Big Secret, the one that wasn't revealed until the ceremony had started. Prima ballerina Darcy Bussell flies in on a flaming phoenix, and performs a heavy metal ballet performance reminding the audience that while the flame is extinguished, it will rise again. It was many viewers' favorite part of the closing ceremony, and NBC's broadcast once again featured an awkward jump cut from the closing of the games to the extinguishing of the flame. NBC saved themselves four minutes, 23 seconds by not showing it. We bring you 36 of those seconds.
There were other parts NBC shaved off the closing ceremony for broadcast, but they're mostly boring; six minutes from the parade of nations, and a lot of filler time as stagehands prepared the Olympic Stadium for the next segment. They really aren't worth watching. But the parts that are, we've given them to you, because as of this writing, the full performance (which was, to NBC's credit, streamed live) is not available in the United States; only the parts that NBC aired during its tape delay are on its website.
Note: We were forced to severely edit these clips down. That's unfortunate, because as of this writing there is no way for U.S. viewers to see what NBC refuses to show them. We encourage you to look around for the full-length versions.