Inauguration features less star power

Jocelyn Noveck
Associated Press

Washington — The new president called out “Great job, Jackie!” after 16-year-old Jackie Evancho delivered a soft-voiced rendition of the national anthem at Friday’s swearing-in ceremony.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang “America the Beautiful,” and the Missouri State University Chorale sang “Now We Belong,” in a ceremony that featured decidedly less star power than in 2013. At President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, Beyonce sang the anthem, James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang a powerful “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”

The various inauguration performances have become a hotly debated topic and have reflected the obvious divisions in the country following the election of Donald Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Hollywood.

A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform, and Broadway singer Jennifer Holliday even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her scheduled appearance.

An official Lincoln Memorial concert on Thursday attended by Trump was heavy on country music, with performances by Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood. Also performing were the bands 3 Doors Down and The Piano Guys.

At Trump’s three inaugural balls Friday night, performers were to include Tony Orlando, Josh Weathers and the Rockettes. Also announced was soul artist Sam Moore, 81, who sang “America the Beautiful” at Thursday’s concert.

Moore was also on the guest list at one of the more high-profile “alternative” gatherings around town.

And on Thursday night, the Peace Ball, organized by progressive activist Andy Shallal, drew some 3,000 people to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, where they danced and watched Solange Knowles and Esperanza Spalding perform.

Guests included actors Danny Glover, Fran Drescher and Ellen Page. Civil rights activist Angela Davis and author Alice Walker were also in attendance.