Entertainment & Arts

George Michael defends Olympics closing ceremony song

George Michael at the London 2012 closing ceremony
Image caption Michael's performance led to accusations he used Sunday's event for promotional purposes

George Michael has declared he has no regrets about performing his new single at the London 2012 closing ceremony.

His performance of White Light led some to accuse him of using Sunday night's event to promote his new material.

"I hope you are not bothered by the press reports of my scandalous 'promotion'!!!" the former Wham! star told his fans via Twitter on Tuesday.

The performance at the Olympic Stadium was the 49-year-old's first since his life-threatening battle with pneumonia.

The Careless Whisper singer spent a month in hospital in Vienna after contracting the illness last year.

Sunday's extravaganza also included musical performances from Annie Lennox, Take That, the Spice Girls and The Who. Each sang one or more of their best-known songs.

Michael, wearing sunglasses and dressed in black leather, came on stage in front of 80,000 people to sing his 1990 hit Freedom.

He followed it with White Light, a slower number inspired by his near-death experience.

Some viewers felt this was inappropriate and expressed their objections via Twitter.

"Not the time for new single promo," said Steve Anderson, a musical director for Kylie Minogue and Westlife.

"I'm genuinely surprised he was allowed to do this."

In his own Twitter postings, Michael said: "It was my one chance on tv to thank you all for your loyalty and prayers, and I took it.

"And I don't regret it," he added.

Several artists have enjoyed a sales boost since the show, with Elbow's One Day Like This and Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill both entering the iTunes Top 10.

Michael's White Light reached number two on Sunday and was ranked in 22nd place in the iTunes countdown on Tuesday afternoon.

The closing ceremony, described by organisers as "A Symphony of British Music", was watched at its peak by 26.3 million viewers in the UK.

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