Celebrities line up to perform at Biden inauguration
Music | Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks are scheduled to appear
by Bob Brown
Posted 1/19/21, 03:20 pm
Four years ago, then-President-elect Donald Trump had trouble lining up celebrities for his inaugural events. A number of music stars turned down invitations or otherwise publicly declined to perform. Some, such as classical singer Andrea Bocelli and Grammy and Tony awards winner Jennifer Holliday initially agreed to participate but later backed out when Trump critics turned on them.
President-elect Joe Biden, however, will share the spotlight on Inauguration Day with a bevy of popular musicians and Hollywood A-listers. Lady Gaga, who stumped for Biden in Pennsylvania, is scheduled to sing the national anthem during Biden’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. It won’t be the 11-time Grammy winner’s first notable “Star-Spangled Banner” performance. In 2016, she kicked off Super Bowl 50 with a rendition of the national anthem that earned rave reviews. Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez will also perform on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol building, where the inaugural ceremonies will take place.
Trump has indicated he will leave Washington hours before the inauguration begins. The White House has invited the outgoing president’s political allies to a goodbye ceremony at Joint Base Andrews. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend the inauguration. More than 60 House Democrats skipped Trump’s swearing-in.
After oaths of office and the inaugural speech, Biden and Harris will review a procession of military troops, then visit Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Due to safety and health concerns, the National Park Service announced the closure of the National Mall from Jan. 15 to 21, the day after the inauguration. In place of the traditional inaugural parade, which has been canceled, the “Parade Across America” virtual event, featuring entertainers across the country, will stream on the internet after 3 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday.
Instead of an inaugural ball, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, a TV special dubbed “Celebrating America” will air on several networks and stream on the inauguration committee’s social media sites. Tom Hanks will host the 90-minute program consisting of live and pre-taped appearances by Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Foo Fighters, Demi Lovato, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, actress Kerry Washington, rapper Ant Clemons, and Justin Timberlake.
On Monday, country superstar Garth Brooks announced he would perform at the inauguration. Trump supporters criticized Brooks for his refusal to perform at the event four years ago, but Brooks responded that he had to say no at the time because of a scheduling conflict with his ongoing tour. Incoming first lady Jill Biden asked him this time around, and he said yes.
“I might be the only Republican at this place, but it’s about reaching across and loving one another,” Brooks said at a news conference. But he tipped his hand a little when he went on to say he is “just so tired of being divided” and that Biden is “hellbent on making things good.”
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