Beijing Olympics 2008 Closing Ceremony, Star Cast

The Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony dazzled with its scale and the precision of nameless thousands, but to close the Games tomorrow, organisers are banking on the star appeal of famous individuals to electrify audiences.

Lighting up the stage at the Bird's Nest Stadium will be a line-up of top Asian mega-stars including South Korean pop singer Rain, Taiwanese crooner Jay Chou, Chinese-American singer Wang Lee Hom, Hong Kong celebrities Jackie Chan and Andy Lau, as well as Singapore's own Stefanie Sun, according to reports in the Hong Kong press.

Rain, reported Apple Daily, will team up with Hong Kong songbird Kelly Chen and Wang Lee Hom for a performance, while Ming Pao Daily said that Jay Chou is set to sing a pop song with classical Chinese touches.

London, which will host the next Olympics, will ramp up the glamour factor at the stadium with some of its biggest stars on display during an eight-minute music and dance segment to celebrate the handover.

English football icon David Beckham will lead a glittering pack of famous personalities that also includes guitarist Jimmy Page of rock band Led Zeppelin and pop singer Leona Lewis.

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and Chinese soprano Song Zuying will serenade the 91,000 spectators at the Bird's Nest with a duet.

While at least three dress rehearsals were conducted for the opening ceremony, there have been none for the closing ceremony.

Still, Chinese movie director and chief director of both opening and closing ceremonies Zhang Yimou was reported in the Chinese press as saying that the extinguishing of the Olympic flame would be the climax of the show.

Audiences will also be treated to another highlight before the night is over -the handing over of the Olympic flag to London Mayor Boris Johnson, signalling the moment that the British capital becomes the official host of the 2012 Olympics.

A red double-decker bus, just like the ones that run on London roads, will be featured at the closing ceremony. Also expected are performances by disabled and non-disabled dancers from a contemporary dance company, and a hip hop dance troupe.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was under intense pressure from human rights campaigners to miss the Games' opening ceremony, will attend the closing tomorrow.

He avoided public criticism of China's human rights record during meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday.

'With the whole world watching, the Beijing Olympics have captured the imagination of the entire global community,' the British Prime Minister said.

'The 2008 Beijing Olympics have set a new standard for the Olympic Games which we in London in 2012 will seek to follow.'

The handing over in Beijing will kick off concurrent celebrations back in Britain, including a giant party in London's Mall in front of Buckingham Palace that will include a free concert for more than 40,000 people.

Throughout Britain, a network of big screens will go up showing highlights from the Beijing Olympics as well as the closing ceremony. There will also be individual handover celebrations in towns and cities across the country, London 2012 organisers revealed yesterday.

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