Despite an ever-present terror threat, #sochiproblems, #sochifails and discussions of homosexuality, the opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics went off without a hitch... almost.
As a New York Times writer put it, the ceremony opens with "pageantry and pride," as performers interpreted more than 400 years of history using iconic images and classical music.
CNN quotes Konstantin Ernst, the main creative producer for the ceremony, who said Russian classical music was a sticking point. "Unfortunately, unlike London, we cannot boast a plethora of famous world-known pop performers. This is why we are now focusing on what Russia is best known for musically around the world; namely, classical music."
Yes, whereas the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Summer Olympics had music from The Beatles, and a live performance from Sir Paul McCartney, Russia's ceremony featured more Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy... and tATu? (Via Virgin EMI Records / Paul McCartney)
Although the so-called "pseudo-lesbian band" hasn't had a hit in years, they performed their 2003 song "Not Gonna Get Us." The Daily Beast points out the duo was the first Russian act to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
But some might recognize them from this performance from 2003's MTV Music Awards, where they stomped around on stage with performers dressed as school girls. The finale? Women kissing each other. (Via MTV)
So, in a country known for its crackdown on homosexual propaganda, how does tATu get a slot to perform?
Well, according to USA Today, Ernst chose the duo because they were recognizable to international audiences. Plus "Not Gonna Get Us" was relevant to Russian athletes.
But there were a few odd moments that got people talking, like the unveiling of the official mascots Bear, Hare and Leopard, whose names and animal titles are coincidentally the exact same thing. (Via Twitter / @Sochi2014)
The Internet responded appropriately saying the bear mascot was "creepy" yet familiar looking. One person suggested the bear's look might've been inspired by Kanye. Another suggests the mascot's a dead ringer for Teddy Ruxpin, or Ruxputin in this case. (Via Twitter / @ditzkoff, @darth)
Then there was the ring malfunction. One of the Olympic rings failed to open during the ceremony, but no worries. As one Twitter user put it, it's just taking a while to load. (Via Twitter / @huwbarrett)
The Winter Olympics will run until Sunday Feb. 23.