WASHINGTON: Pop princess Katy Perry was a starlet in stripes Monday, bundling up in the chill as she joined a bevy of celebrities at Barack Obama's second presidential inauguration.
Perry, sporting a striped orange and black coat, black boots and sunglasses, held hands with boyfriend singer-songwriter John Mayer in the VIP seats just a stone's throw from the inaugural platform on the west front of the US Capitol. “It's so exciting, because I really love Obama!” Perry cooed to AFP.
The Grammy-nominated “Firework” and “Wide Awake” performer wowed the audience the previous night at a children's concert, where she wore a decidedly racier ensemble: a red, white and blue American flag-inspired bustier outfit.
If there is one day every four years to make it to Washington, it was Inauguration Day, when the who's who of the nation - particularly Hollywood and music royalty - descended on the capital.
Several celebrities, many of whom signed big checks or attended major campaign fundraising events for Obama last year, crowded into the seats within about 100 yards (meters) of the president.
The stars included leather-clad actress Angela Bassett, who played Tina Turner in “What's Love Got to Do With It,” and Hispanic American actress Eva Longoria, the “Desperate Housewives” star and Obama inauguration co-chair who was in the official seated gallery tucked in among the nation's lawmakers.
Reverend Jesse Jackson, the famed civil rights activist who once ran for president, mingled with lawmakers and Obama staffers. Boston Celtics basketball legend Bill Russell was in the crowd too.
Actor Jeffrey Wright, a Washington native, told AFP he has supported Obama since his days as a state senator in Illinois.
“He is the leader for the times, for very complicated times, a very complicated country and complicated world,” Wright said.
“We're fortunate that he's that leader. What's unfortunate though is that his worth is undervalued by too many in this country,” he added. Near Wright was the actor Marlon Wayans, who comes from a family of actors and currently stars in “A Haunted House,” and who was seeking to make amends for not attending Obama's first, historic inaugural.
“It looked like I missed out four years ago so I'm kind of doing some retribution,” Wayans said.
“I'm just happy he got another term,” he added, saying it was time for lawmakers to tone down their partisan bickering.
“Hopefully they can all work together, because right now everyone's playing nice, but you know you can't do it alone.”James Taylor and Kelly Clarkson performed in front of a crowd estimated by inaugural officials at one million, but the bona fide star of the show - other than the Obamas themselves - was Beyonce.
The diva, who looked stunning in a black Emilio Pucci dress, brought down the house by belting the National Anthem.
She and her hip-hop husband Jay-Z were among those who caused the greatest stir on the inaugural platform, with Senator Mary Landrieu taking out her smart phone to snap a few pictures of Beyonce.
“Beyonce was spectacular,” gushed Senator Dick Durbin.