It turns out, Robbie Williams is pretty popular in Russia (who knew?). So much so that he was asked to perform at the World Cup 2018 opening ceremony on Thursday afternoon. Now, it's the morning after the night before, and I have a feeling organisers may be regretting that invitation. I mean, Robbie Williams' World Cup performance certainly got people talking and generated press, but it was for a rather unexpected reason.
Allow me to fill you in on exactly what went down. When Williams first walked out on the Luzhniki Stadium pitch, he looked the picture of health and the crowd seemed beyond excited as he opened with OG classic Let Me Entertain You, before launching into slower numbers — but no less bangers — like Feel and Angels. However, when he started to wrap things up, drama went down.
As he strolled off the pitch, the singer approached one of the stadium's camera operators and randomly decided to put his middle finger up to everyone watching at home. The random gesture meant that despite his energy on the pitch and flawless vocals, Williams' performance will be mostly remembered for this one distinct detail as opposed to his actual talent. Obviously, it's a pretty major deal and viewers on Twitter had a few things to say about it:
If you're anything like me, you're probably wondering what the heck prompted Williams to give the world the finger? I reached out to his publicist to find out, but so far, no comment. Fox News, however, did have something to say. You see, it was a Fox News cameraman that Williams flipped the finger at, and the company is not impressed with his cheeky shenanigans. In fact, a spokesperson has since spoken out to the Hollywood Reporter to say sorry: "As it was broadcast live, we did not know what would happen during Robbie Williams's performance and we apologise."
But again, why did he do it? Some people on Twitter seem to think it was simply because he was trying to show the world that he is still very much rock and roll. Meanwhile, others are convinced it was some kind of political statement. Then, there are those that reckon he was trying to get publicity for album sales.
Of course, while there has been speculation as to why Williams did what he did and whether he should have done it at all, there are also people that praised him for it. I guess he hasn't lost his touch just yet.
Flipping the bird at billions of viewers aside, Robbie could be heading for tamer pastimes a little later this year when the hoo-ha blows over. Indeed, if rumours are to be believed, the singer is heading to the X Factor judging panel to replace Louis Walsh, who announced his departure earlier this month. In an even more surprising turn of events, The Mirror has reported that Williams' wife Ayda Field will be joining him. Well, weirder things have happened.
But, anyway. Back to the World Cup.
The 2018 World Cup kicked-off in Russia on Thursday with a match between competition host Russia and the team's group rivals Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The first game of the tournament saw Russia storm to victory with a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia, emerging as the frontrunners of their own group. The second game of the tournament will air on Friday and see Egypt face off against Uruguay.
The international footballing tournament will last until July 15, when a winner will eventually be crowned.