Culture, Music, Television

Jackie Evancho, Rockettes to perform during inauguration amid controversy

Musical performances took place during the “Make America Great Again!” welcome celebration Thursday. // Video courtesy The New York Times

At long last, the inauguration that nobody quite saw coming is finally taking place. On Friday, Jan. 20 at noon, President-elect Donald J. Trump will recite the oath of office and, as with most inaugurations, musical performances play a large role in the ceremony.

While Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration festivities saw the likes of legends like Aretha Franklin Beyoncé and Yo-Yo Ma, Trump’s attempts at booking performers have come with difficulty and, of course, controversy.

However, not everyone turned down the Don’s invitations. While the list isn’t exactly A-List, performances for the ceremonies include rockers 3 Doors Down, country stars Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood, America’s Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho and none other than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. While most of the artists performed during the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” on Thursday, Evancho will perform the national anthem on Friday, and the Rockettes dance troupe will also perform before Trump is sworn in.

Now, as for those who declined to perform at the inauguration. While refuting claims from a Trump spokesperson saying he would be performing, Elton John expressed disdain. “I’m not a Republican in a million years. Why not ask Ted f***ing Nugent?” John said. KISS front man Gene Simmons and Canadian pop-sensation Celine Dion also refused the opportunity, albeit with a bit more subtlety. Also taking a pass were golden-voiced Italian singer Andrea Bocelli and The B Street Band, a Springsteen tribute group who were booked to play the Garden State Inaugural Gala before later backing out.

The hip-hop community was not excluded from the clamor, either. Rapper 2 Chainz took to Instagram, revealing that Trump’s team contacted his management for a performance. “I know they only doing this because they can’t get nobody else, and they want me to perform for the inauguration. I had to say ‘nah,’ no matter how much money it was. I probably won’t be going to the White House no time soon,” 2 Chainz said.

One rapper, YG, did express an interest in taking part in the inauguration. However, two small conditions made it seem unlikely that YG and the President-elect would make a deal: that he be paid $4 million and that he be allowed to play his staunchly anti-Trump song “FDT.”

While the inaugural performances for the soon-to-be 45th president were difficult to schedule, there is still more to come on the day of President-elect Trump’s swearing-in. After recovering from nostalgia on Thursday following 3 Doors Down’s “Kryptonite,” prepare for some crisp, soprano vocals during Evancho’s national anthem performance while pondering just how the next four years will pan out.

January 20, 2017


Jon Vilardi

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