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George Michael hits back at Olympics closing ceremony song critics

George Michael, Twenty Five

Story by Jack Foley

GEORGE Michael has hit back at those who criticised his choice of song at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.

The singer attracted widespread criticism for opting to perform his new single, White Light, during Sunday’s finale.

But the singer himself says he has no regrets, declaring it to be the perfect forum in which to take the opportunity to thank the many fans who supported him throughout his recent illness.

Michael spent a month in hospital in Vienna after contracting the illness last year, which forced the cancellation of a slew of tour dates.

The subsequent single, White Light was inspired by his near-death experience.

Taking to Twitter to defend his song selection, the singer – who also performed Freedom – said: “I hope you are not bothered by the press reports of my scandalous ‘promotion’!!!”

And he added: ““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.”

Among those who had criticised Michael was Steve Anderson, a musical director for Kylie Minogue and Westlife, who also voiced his objections via Twitter. He wrote: “Not the time for new single promo. I’m genuinely surprised he was allowed to do this.”

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

But he is not the only performer at the ceremony to have received a sales boost in the iTunes chart. Elbow’s One Day Like This and Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill have both entered the iTunes Top 10.

Read our review of the closing ceremony