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Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga at the Grammy Awards in 2019

Lady Gaga will sing the National Anthem at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, and Jennifer Lopez is also slated to perform, the president-elect’s inaugural committee announced Thursday.

Lady Gaga campaigned for Biden during the election, appearing with him on the eve of the presidential election last November. She also appeared with Mr Biden in 2016 during his It’s on Us campaign to combat campus sexual assault, while Lopez took part in a virtual chat with him in October.

After the ceremony, Tom Hanks will host a star-studded televised special.

Other participants at the Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony on the West front of the Capitol will include Father Leo J. O’Donovan, a Biden family friend, who will deliver the invocation; Andrea Hall, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 3920, who will lead the Pledge of Allegiance; Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate, who will deliver a poetry reading; and Reverend Dr. Silvester Beaman, another longtime Biden family confidante, who will offer the benediction.

Lady Gaga speaks in support of Joe Biden during a drive-in campaign rally on Nov. 2, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pa. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The latest inauguration lineup comes after POLITICO reported Wednesday that Biden’s presidential inaugural committee is producing a 90-minute, prime-time television special to celebrate his swearing-in — called “Celebrating America” — that will be hosted by Tom Hanks and feature performances from Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons and Jon Bon Jovi. The event will be broadcast live by ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC.

Biden’s presidential inaugural committee instructed the public last month to not attempt to view the ceremony in-person because of coronavirus-related concerns. And following last week’s deadly siege of the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser also warned Americans to stay away from the nation’s capital amid heightened security threats.

President Donald Trump on Monday granted Bowser’s request to declare a state of emergency in Washington ahead of the inauguration, and federal officials on Wednesday authorized an increase in the number of National Guardsmen stationed across the city — potentially bringing the troop presence to beyond 20,000 by Inauguration Day.

Although the president-elect’s inaugural planning team is reassessing its security planning in the aftermath of last week’s Capitol siege, Biden insisted on Monday that he is “not afraid” to take the oath of office outside.

Biden’s inaugural committee said it would “celebrate the beginning of a new national journey toward an America united” and “showcase the American people’s resilience, heroism, and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild.”

What to expect as Biden is sworn in

When Biden is sworn in, Washington DC will still be under a state of emergency after a mob stormed the Capitol on 6 January. More than 10,000 National Guard troops will be in the city, with about 5,000 more on standby.

Otherwise, the ceremony’s attendance will be “extremely limited” in line with social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Biden team, which has urged Americans to avoid travelling to the capital.

Donald Trump will avoid it after disputing the election result, becoming the first president to skip the inauguration of his successor since 1869.

Who has performed at past inaugurations?

When Donald Trump was sworn in four years ago, 16-year-old former American Idol contestant Jackie Evancho sang the national anthem, while country stars Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood, and rock band 3 Doors Down were among the attractions at a special concert the night before.

Barack Obama called on Beyoncé to deliver the anthem when he saw in his second term in 2013 (although she later admitted miming ), and James Taylor also performed.

Four years earlier, the Star-Spangled Banner was performed by The United States Navy Band Sea Chanters, while Aretha Franklin sang My Country, ‘Tis of Thee (which, confusingly, uses the same tune as the UK’s national anthem).’

Before that, George W. Bush enlisted military personnel to sing the US anthem at his two inauguration ceremonies, while Bill Clinton had Santita Jackson, the daughter of the Rev Jesse Jackson, and opera singer Marilyn Horne.

Further back, amateur singer Juanita Booker sang for Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration in 1981, and Holocaust survivor Cantor Isaac Goodfriend was accompanied by the US Marine Band for Jimmy Carter four years earlier.

In 1973, Richard Nixon booked jazz singer Ethel Ennis for his second inauguration. In 1961, opera great Marian Anderson performed the anthem for John F Kennedy – just as she did for his predecessor Dwight D Eisenhower four years earlier.


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