Album sales have nothing to do with securing a slot at the Paris Olympics opening ceremony.

That was the blunt message on Thursday from Thomas Jolly, artistic director for the Paris Games after world-renowned DJ David Guetta expressed shock over not receiving a call.

Over the weekend, Guetta seemed upset when AFP asked why he was not performing at the opening ceremony on July 26.

“If you have the answer please tell me because I don’t understand at all,” he said before a gig at the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley (central France).

“I am still between the fourth and 15th most listened-to artist in the world,” he added.

“Artist – not DJ,” he emphasized. “To give you an idea – for example, Beyoncé is around 40th to 50th, and yet no one called me.”

Such figures vary widely across platforms, though Guetta was 10th and Beyonce 28th as of Thursday on Spotify.

‘What he does as art does not relate to what we want to do’

In any case, Jolly responded that popularity was not the criteria he was interested in for his opening and closing ceremonies at the Paris Olympics.

“We don’t base artistic direction simply on the number of album sales,” Jolly told reporters. “I have nothing against David Guetta or against anyone. I am not here to give my tastes. And David Guetta, quite simply, what he does as art does not relate to what we want to do.”


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So far, the performers for the opening ceremony remain a tightly guarded secret However, it seems almost certain that R&B star Aya Nakamura will take part – not just because rumors of her performing triggered a racist backlash earlier in the year that has added to pressure on the organizers to include her.

One French newspaper, Le Canard enchaîné, said Céline Dion may be involved, though she has suffered from major health issues in recent years that could prevent her from appearing.

Reportedly, only around 10 people know exactly how the entire show will unfold.

It is the first time an Olympics opening ceremony will be held outside a stadium – taking over six kilometers (3.7 miles) of the River Seine with some 3,000 dancers, musicians, actors and circus performers performing along the banks and bridges with an estimated 326,000 spectators.

Thousands of athletes – out of a total of 10,500 competitors – will sail down the river on 85 boats.

There are hopes that more than a billion viewers from around the world will follow the broadcast.

The soundtrack is expected to combine “French touch” (or French house) electro, pop, symphony orchestra and choirs, overseen by musical director Victor Le Masne.

Jolly said it would be wide-ranging and that French music was as much opera singer Natalie Dessay as rapper Jul and icon Édith Piaf.

Le Monde with AFP

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