Paris Olympics director defends David Guetta snub after DJ complains

Guetta says he doesn't 'understand at all' why he was left out (GUILLAUME SOUVANT)
Guetta says he doesn't 'understand at all' why he was left out (GUILLAUME SOUVANT)

How many albums you have sold is not the basis for getting 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 superstar DJ David Guetta expressed his shock over not receiving a call.

Guetta seemed upset when asked at the weekend by AFP 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 Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley.

"I am still between the fourth and 15th most listened to artist in the world," he said.

"Artist -- not DJ," he emphasised.

"To give you an idea -- for example, Beyonce, is around 40th to 50th -- and yet no one called me."

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

In any case, Jolly responded that popularity was not the criteria he was interested in for his ceremonies which will open and close 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."

The performers for the opening ceremony remain a tightly guarded secret.

It seems almost certain that RnB star Aya Nakamura will take part, not least because rumours of her performing triggered a racist backlash earlier in the year that has added to pressure on the organisers to include her.

One French newspaper, the Canard Enchaine, said Celine Dion may be involved, though she has suffered severe health issues in recent years that could prevent her appearing.

It is said only around 10 people know exactly how the entire show will unfurl.

It is the first time an Olympics opening ceremony will be held outside a stadium -- taking over six kilometres (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.

It is hoped more than a billion viewers will follow the broadcast around the world.

The soundtrack is expected to combine "French Touch" 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 Edith Piaf.