WASHINGTON: A full-throated, supremely confident Lady Gaga belted out the US national anthem in a very Gaga way with flamboyance, fashion and passion during the presidential inauguration.
The Grammy winner wore a large dove pin and an equally large red and billowing sculpted skirt as she sang into a golden microphone, delivering an emotional and powerful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner. She was followed by Jennifer Lopez, dressed all in white, delivering a moving medley of This Land is Your Land and America the Beautiful.
Garth Brooks sang Amazing Grace, pausing to ask the audience, both in attendance and at home, to sing along to the last verse. As he left the podium, he shook hands with Biden, former vice president Mike Pence, donned his cowboy hat and hugged former president Barack Obama.
The stars were among a slew of glittery celebrities descending on Washington virtually or in person to welcome the new administration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, a duo popular in Hollywood, where former president Donald Trump was decidedly not.
The history of celebrities performing at inaugurations dates back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third inauguration in 1941, when a gala celebration the evening before saw performances from Irving Berlin, Mickey Rooney and Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin performed his monologue from The Great Dictator.
The celebrity component only increased over time, and one of the starriest inaugurations was that of John F. Kennedy in 1961. That celebration, hosted by Frank Sinatra, drew Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman, Laurence Olivier, Sidney Poitier and other celebrities.
Fast forward to the first Barack Obama inauguration in 2009, where Aretha Franklin sang My Country, ‘Tis of Thee at the swearing-in, and the new president and his wife, Michelle, were serenaded by Beyonc singing At Last at an inaugural ball.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2021