Four years ago, Donald Trump was struggling to land big-name musical acts for his presidential inauguration. Celine Dion, Elton John, Kiss, and other artists reportedly turned him down, but he did book the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, country singer Toby Keith, and rock band 3 Doors Down for the festivities. This time around, for Joe Biden’s swearing-in, the musical lineup is looking a little more promising. Here’s what we know so far.
Lady Gaga will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the swearing-in ceremony, which usually begins around 11:30 a.m. ET, Variety reported.
Jennifer Lopez will also perform at the ceremony.
Firefighter Andrea Hall will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate, will recite a poem.
Father Leo O’Donovan and Reverend Dr. Silvester Beaman, longtime friends of the Bidens, will deliver an invocation and benediction, respectively, per Variety.
More performers will be announced as the inauguration approaches. The Presidential Inaugural Committee assures that, even though the event will be pared down for health and safety reasons, the programming will feature “musical acts, local bands, poets, dance troupes, and more paying homage to America’s heroes on the frontlines of the pandemic.”
Everyone’s favorite guy, Tom Hanks, will host a prime-time special called Celebrating America on the night of the Biden–Harris inauguration. The 90-minute program will air at 8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday on multiple networks. Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, singer-songwriter Ant Clemons, and Jon Bon Jovi (who performed at Obama’s 2009 inauguration) will all perform.
Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, and Foo Fighters are also in the lineup, according to The New York Times. Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington will speak at the event, and President Biden and Vice President Harris will share remarks that evening too.
A post shared by Justin Timberlake (@justintimberlake)
Timberlake announced on Instagram that he and Clemons will perform their recent collab, “Better Days,” for the celebration. The song, which they wrote together during lockdown, reflects Biden’s inaugural theme of unity. (JT said he even recorded his vocals on election night.)
“This past year brought a lot of frustration, grief, anger—and there were times when it was easy to feel powerless,” Timberlake shared. “This song was our way of doing what little we could to encourage everyone to stay hopeful… and keep working towards a better, more equal future.”
Lovato’s set list remains unknown, but she enthusiastically announced the news of her involvement on Instagram. “I was left speechless when I was asked to perform!” she shared of the upcoming special.
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