The Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Got Their Own Group of Stars to Sing “Imagine”

In March 2020, Gal Godot virtually gathered a group of her famous friends, including Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, Leslie Odom Jr., and Mark Ruffalo, and make sure that a keyless version by John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s The 1971 song “Imagine” will always be associated with the painful and confusing early weeks of quarantine for pop culture followers around the world.

The Tokyo Olympics apparently found some inspiration in the raised eyebrows video and during Friday’s Opening Ceremony, assembled its own international group of musicians to sing the same song. Angelique Kidjo, John Legend, Alejandro Sanz, and Keith City sang in a pre-recorded performance, significantly more produced, arranged by the Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer, broadcast near the end of the ceremony.

After a procession of athletes and support staff from 205 countries — who participated in orchestral versions of video game theme songs, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts and the Final Fantasy series — a series of lighthearted performances performed in front of empty seats. Wig dancers pull a flag and 1,800 glowing drones are suspended over the stadium, arranged in the shape of the Olympic emblem and finally a globe. A children’s choir began singing “Imagine”, before Kidjo took over in a white suit. Although there was no audience, 950 VIP guests were invited to the game, including the First Lady Jill Biden, who is leading the US delegation.

Technically, the Olympics got to the track before Gadot did. It was featured during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics and 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang and is emerging as an Olympic anthem. “If the Olympics were a song, then ‘Imagine’ would be the song,” said one of this year’s organizers, according to NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. It’s a somewhat odd choice – what would the Olympics be like if the lyrics asked us to consider, no country? However, there is nothing like a callback to the days of March 2020, when celebrities were trying to find the new social order along with others, to remind the world that we are all are actually together.

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