Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Jon Bon Jovi, Ant Clemons and Tom Hanks are among the stars tapped to appear during Joe Biden’s inauguration festivities next week, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Wednesday.
Biden will be inaugurated at noon ET on Jan. 20, becoming the 46th president of the United States. Most of the events surrounding the swearing-in will be virtually focused, in part due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as well as fresh security concerns following a pro-Trump mob breaching the Capitol last week.
“Celebrating America,” a 90-minute live special, will air the evening of President-elect Biden’s inauguration, and will feature remarks from Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as well as tributes to COVID-19 first responders.
“This inauguration presents a unique opportunity to spotlight the resilience and spirit of an America united,” PIC CEO Tony Allen said in a statement. “We have witnessed countless heroes this past year step up to the frontlines and serve their fellow Americans, so we are telling their stories, spreading their collective light and celebrating the best of our country and its people with this prime-time program.
Actor Tom Hanks, who became the first major celebrity to announce he contracted the novel coronavirus last March, will host the special. Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington will also play a role, according to The New York Times and Deadline.
The already-announced performers are:
- Rock icon Jon Bon Jovi
- Musician/actor Justin Timberlake
- Pop singer Demi Lovato
- Singer-songwriter Ant Clemons
- Singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen
- Singer-songwriter John Legend
- Rock band Foo Fighters
The PIC said in a news release that more performers will be announced at a later date.
The committee also announced the Inauguration Day ceremony lineup Thursday, which features Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez.
Gaga, who is pegged to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner,” has previous experience with the national anthem, singing (and nailing) it for Super Bowl 50 in 2016.
At the swearing-in ceremony, the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, will give the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware.
Gorman, 22, already has a history of writing for official occasions. The Los Angeles resident has written for everything from a July 4 celebration featuring the Boston Pops Orchestra to the inauguration at Harvard University, her alma mater, of school president Larry Bacow.
“I have kind of stumbled upon this genre. It’s been something I find a lot of emotional reward in, writing something I can make people feel touched by, even if it’s just for a night,” Gorman told The Associated Press.
When she reads next Wednesday, she will be continuing a tradition — for Democratic presidents — that includes such celebrated poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
The announced performers for the special have all previously delved into the world of politics. Timberlake crashed a Zoom meeting of Pennsylvanian phone bankers for Biden on Nov. 2 to thank them for their behind-the-scenes work. He also teamed up with Clemons for the song “Better Days,” which he said they will perform at inauguration after it was initially created for December’s Rock the Runoff virtual concert fundraiser organized by Stacey Abrams and Fair Fight.
“We have a long way to go to fix, undo, and rebuild this country… but I hope now, despite the past four years, we’re on our way,” Timberlake tweeted Wednesday.
Lovato has been an outspoken supporter of the Biden-Harris campaign and recently took a political stance in her music with her anti-Trump song “Commander-in-Chief.” Bon Jovi, who previously served on Barack Obama’s White House Council for Community Solutions, performed at several Biden campaign events this election season.
When and how can I watch?
The 90-minute “Celebrating America” special will air live at 8:30 p.m. EST/PST on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC. Additionally, it will be streamed live on the PIC’s social media channels: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch; and will be available on Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, and AT&T DirecTV and U-verse.
“Our first priority is safety—so while many of us will be watching safely from our homes, we are creating real moments of connection that highlight a new inclusive American era of leadership that works for and represents all Americans,” Allen said.
Other inauguration events
In addition to the inaugural ceremony and evening special, more celebrations are planned for Jan. 20.
Anthony Anderson is hosting the “Virtual 2021 Inaugural Gospel Celebration” at 8 p.m. EST. The two-hour event will feature honored guests Biden and Harris and will feature musical performances, including Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, Tasha Cobb, Koryn Hawthorne and Bryan Popin.
The Creative Coalition is also hosting a virtual “Inaugural Ball” at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST. which will be an “experiential and interactive party with VIP guests,” including celebrities and politicians.
Some stars planned to attend include Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Karamo Brown, Yvette Nicole Brown, Lea DeLaria, Keegan-Michael Key, Alyssa Milano and more.
Contributing: Savannah Behrmann; The Associated Press