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Highlights and lowlights of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremonies

Performers in futuristic costumes perform during the opening

Performers in futuristic costumes perform during the opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium in London. (July 27, 2012) (Credit: MCT)

The 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony is underway, a rare moment when the world truly does unite to focus on a single event. Organizers expect 1 billion to watch the ceremony crafted by “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle and that includes us here at Pop Cult. We're ready to see Queen Elizabeth II and James Bond, the battle between Lord Voldemort and Mary Poppins and, of course, Paul McCartney. Let the games begin!

11:51 p.m. "Na na na nana na na, nana na na, hey Jude." Does it get more unifying than that?

11:47 p.m. Macca kicks into "Hey Jude," with a slight bit of technical difficulties.

11:46 p.m. Paul McCartney's finale begins with "The End."

11:44 p.m. The final lighting of the Olympic torch is filled with symbolism, as seven young athletes set off a chain reaction that ignites the copper leaves that traveled with each country's delegation to create a new torch. It was a sweet, meaningful moment.

11:23 p.m. Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee, says, "When our time came, we did it right."

11:17 p.m. Arctic Monkeys offer a groovy, Britpoppish cover of The Beatles' "Come Together," while bike riders in dove costumes ride around the stadium.

11:15 p.m. And with the Brits' entry, the Parade of Athletes has ended, in just under 2 hours time.

11:10 p.m. Team Great Britain is, somehow, even bigger than Team USA, with 558 members, entering to David Bowie's "Heroes" to a huge ovation.

11:02 p.m. Team USA is huge, 529 members strong and, for the first time, the female athletes outnumber the males. Good to see LeBron James and Kobe Bryant marching with the team.

10:42 p.m. Novak Djokovic looks so happy to be marching with Team Serbia, though, it's really hard to look angry in a bright red sweater.

10:39 p.m. The juxtaposition of waving Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Russian flagbearer Maria Sharapova made Medvedev look like a lovelorn teen trying to get Maria's attention. Weird.

10:12 p.m. Bob Costas doesn't quite take the IOC to task for not holding a moment of silence to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the terrorist kidnapping and murders of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team at the Munich Olympic Games, but he does outline the controversy.

10:08 p.m. Well, the Independent Olympic Athletes sure had fun -- especially for people whose country was recently dissolved.

9:57 p.m. Adele even gets played during the Olympics, though she's oddly followed by the Bee Gees.

9:39 p.m. It was nice to see Anderson Varejao marching with Team Brazil. Maybe he'll throw a block for LeBron James just like their old days as Cleveland Cavaliers.

9:29 p.m. Everyone loves the Aussie team, all 413 of them.

9:24 p.m. The Parade of Nations has begun, with Greece.

9:13 p.m. The great Tim Berners-Lee really does deserve a huge ovation, though his ovation doesn't come close to the excitement for David Beckham who's bringing the Olympic torch in via motorboat.

9:11 p.m. We've arrived in the Aughts now, with Muse and Amy Winehouse. And Tinie Tempah takes us into present day.

9:09 p.m. Dizzee Rascal is doing "Bonkers" live on stage. I was always far more partial to "Fix Up, Look Sharp."

9:08 p.m. Now the '90s with pogoing to The Prodigy and hey! Underworld's "Born Slippy." EDM, here we come!

9:07 p.m. We're in the '80s now with New Order, Eurythmics, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

9:05 p.m. In case you want more of The Specials' "Message to You Rudy."

9 p.m. Boyle makes a good argument about the outsized importance of British music on the world here, with songs from the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Kinks and The Beatles from the '60s and David Bowie, The Specials and Queen from the '70s.

8:58 p.m. Ooh, The Jam's "Going Underground" sounds so good here.

8:55 p.m. A tribute to Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web! Love that the Olympics is geeking out now -- to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's "Enola Gay" no less!

8:48 p.m. Mr. Bean!

8:46 p.m. BTW, the Olympics marketers don't mess around. Music from the opening ceremonies is already on sale at iTunes -- a double album, no less.

8:41 p.m. The troupe of Mary Poppinses banished all the monsters, including Lord Voldemort, and the flying nannies now get to play with the kids and the nurses.

8:37 p.m. J.K. Rowling, author of the “Harry Potter” books, reads from J.M. Barrie's “Peter Pan,” while a series of literary villains emerge. It's a sign of how much Victorian British children's literature still influences the world today.

8:33 p.m. A celebration of free national health care! Actual doctors and nurses dancing around, being honored while Mike Oldfield plays “Tubular Bells.” “Hey America - bet you'll never see such a celebration of free health care for all at the Super Bowl halftime show #openingceremony,” British protest singer Billy Bragg Tweeted in response.

8:22 p.m. This filmed piece featuring James Bond (the Daniel Craig version) interacting with the Queen and then escorting her while she seemingly parachutes into the stadium is hilarious. Who knew she had such a sense of humor?

8:16 p.m. The Olympic rings have been forged out of the smoke and molten material of the Industrial Revolution and now seemingly hang over Olympic Stadium. All that drum-driven music was presumably created by Underworld, who Boyle brought on to compose original material for the ceremonies. I'm still holding out hope for some "Born Slippy."

8:03 p.m. It's the dawn of the Industrial Revolution set to drums, dismantling the agrarian display before in real time.

8 p.m. Guess I forgot there would be commercials in the rebroadcast. This really is gonna stretch to midnight.

7:59 p.m. Kenneth Branagh handles the lines from Shakespeare's "The Tempest" that served as Boyle's inspiration for the ceremonies.

7:56 p.m. A pretty version of "Jerusalem," adapted from the William Blake poem.

7:50 p.m. And here we go... A fast-paced, filmed introduction to the “Isles of Wonder” theme.

7:20 p.m. While we warm up, why not watch the U.S. swim team take on Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"?

Tags: Olympics , Danny Boyle , Paul McCartney

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