Rob­bie Wil­liams ‘flips the bird’ at World Cup open­ing

Irish Independent - - World News - Lucy Map­stone

ROB­BIE Wil­liams kicked off the World Cup in Rus­sia last night by per­form­ing some of his clas­sic hits at the open­ing cer­e­mony – and putting his mid­dle fin­ger up at the cam­era.

The Bri­tish singer re­mained true to his word and avoided singing his 2016 song Party Like A Rus­sian, which at­tracted neg­a­tive press in the coun­try as the song ap­pears to crit­i­cise the ex­cesses of Rus­sian oli­garchs.

But he still man­aged to court con­tro­versy when he made a rude ges­ture at the cam­era while singing his song Rock DJ.

The for­mer Take That star opened the set by strut­ting on to the foot­ball pitch to the sound of his 1998 sin­gle Let Me En­ter­tain You, wear­ing a red leop­ard print suit and black shirt.

As he started singing, he was joined on the pitch by dancers clad in foot­ball­re­lated cos­tumes, in­clud­ing some with large foot­ball­shaped hats and oth­ers who were per­form­ing tricks with balls. Rus­sian op­er­atic so­prano Aida Gar­i­ful­lina then made her way on to the play­ing field, rid­ing on what ap­peared to be a large phoenix. Wil­liams then sang his other sin­gle Feel while the word ‘Love’ was spelled out by dancers on the pitch.

Wil­liams and Gar­i­ful­lina then joined forces for a duet of his sin­gle ‘An­gels’ as the crowd at Moscow’s Luzh­niki Sta­dium sang along.

How­ever, fans watch­ing on TV were not able to watch his next per­for­mance of Rock DJ, as cov­er­age cut back to the stu­dio.

Videos and pic­tures started to cir­cu­late on so­cial me­dia of Wil­liams with his mid­dle fin­ger up at the cam­era shortly af­ter­wards.

Be­fore tak­ing to the pitch for the open­ing cer­e­mony, which the singer de­scribed as a “pinch me mo­ment”, Wil­liams ad­mit­ted that he was not feel­ing too hope­ful about Eng­land’s ef­forts in the tour­na­ment.

Speak­ing ahead of his per­for­mance, he told ITV, when asked how he thinks Eng­land will do: “It’s been dis­ap­point­ing, a lot, be­ing an English sup­porter.”

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