Who′s singing for Trump at the inauguration? | Music | DW | 20.01.2017
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Who's singing for Trump at the inauguration?

The inauguration of a US president is a grandiose, oft star-studded affair - much more so than in Germany. Parades, gala balls and spectacular performances are all part of the package - and have been for decades.

Donald Trump made it clear in December that he wanted the American people to be present as he takes the oath of office on Friday - no celebrities, no stars.

Trump detractors have claimed this was the president-elect's way of reacting to the many high-profile cancellations that have been reported in recent weeks. Celine Dion, Kiss, the Dixie Chicks, the Beach Boys - all have refused invitations to perform.

Even before the election, big names like The Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Adele were unhappy that the populist presidential candidate was using their songs during his campaign rallies.

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli has also refused to sing for Trump on Friday - despite a reported friendship of many years between the two. Particularly embarrassing, however, was the refusal of Elton John. A member of Trump's team told the BBC that the British pop star would take part, only to be quickly rebuked by a harsh email from the singer. And then there was the last-minute cancellation of Broadway star Jennifer Holliday: she initially agreed to take part, but backed out last week after protests from her gay and black fans.

Trump's team has even gone so far as to invite singers who had already publicly distanced themselves from the president-elect - like British singer Charlotte Church, who gave a concise refusal on Twitter:

Electronic artist Moby said this week that a booking agent had asked whether he'd be interested in spinning at one of the inaugural balls - and this after the DJ supported Hillary Clinton in the election campaign and, after Trump's election win, called the future commander-in-chief a "racist and a misogynist" who "will be the worst president our country has ever, ever seen."

Responding on Instagram to the invitation, Moby said he would consider the offer "if as payment Trump released his tax returns."

Actor Alec Baldwin, who has repeatedly skewered the incoming president with his impersonation on sketch show "Saturday Night Live," has proposed to sing AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" at the inauguration. According to the event's official list of performers, it appears Trump has declined the offer.

'Soft sensuality,' not celebrity

Instead of star power, Trump's inauguration planner Tom Barrack has promised a day of a "soft sensuality" and a "poetic tone," to be provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "America, the Beautiful."

The choir, known for its religious and patriotic performances, has been a popular choice for past presidents, having performed at the inaugurations of George H. W. Bush in 1989, Richard M. Nixon in 1969 and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, in addition to several inaugural parades.

Accompanying Trump's oath of office on Capitol Hill, Jackie Evancho will sing the national anthem. The 16-year-old soprano is known for her star turn in the 2010 season reality show "America's Got Talent," where she placed second.

On Thursday evening, the night before the big day, country singers Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood and southern rockers 3 Doors Down headlined at the "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration."

Radio City Rockettes (picture-alliance/Globe-Zuma)

The Radio City Rockettes, the famous New York City dance troupe, will accompany Trump down Pennsylvania Avenue

Rockettes, Rushlow and Republicans

After the ceremony on Capitol Hill, Trump will take part in a parade along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, accompanied by the high-kicking Radio City Rockettes. Parades of the past were mainly of a military nature, but these days, it's common for music and dance groups to join in the celebration.

Later in the evening, Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, will head out to dance at several of the night's gala balls, a tradition that dates back to James Madison's inauguration in 1809. The lineup here includes soul star Sam Moore, country singer Tim Rushlow and his Big Band, The Piano Guys, and 14-year-old pop singer Lexi Mae Walker.

In comparison: at outgoing President Barack Obama's Neighborhood Inaugural Ball in 2009, Beyonce crooned Etta James' "At Last" for the first couple as they glided across the dance floor.

In fact, the list of celebrities at Obama's farewell party at the White House earlier this month is notable for its length and star wattage: John Legend, Usher, Kelly Rowland, Meryl Streep, Paul McCartney, Tom Hanks, George and Amal Clooney, Stevie Wonder, Robert De Niro, George Lucas, Lena Dunham, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Bruce Springsteen were among those spotted in attendance.

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