WASHINGTON (AP) — Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem at Joe Biden’s inauguration and Jennifer Lopez will give a musical performance on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol when Biden is sworn in as the nation’s 46th president next Wednesday.
The announcement of their participation comes one day after word that Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration. Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons.
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.
Gaga appeared on the campaign trail with Biden during the 2020 election and worked with the then-vice president on his “It’s on Us” campaign to combat campus sexual assault. Lopez endorsed Biden and took part in a virtual chat with the president-elect during the campaign.
“We are thrilled to announce an inspired group of dynamic participants for the 59th Inaugural Ceremonies. They represent one clear picture of the grand diversity of our great nation and will help honor and celebrate the time-honored traditions of the presidential inauguration,” Inaugural committee CEO Tony Allen said in a statement.
“They are also committed to the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect’s steadfast vision of a new chapter in our American story in which we are an America united in overcoming the deep divisions and challenges facing our people, unifying the country, and restoring the soul of our nation,” he continued, calling back to the thematic hallmarks of Biden’s campaign.
While inauguration day often culminates in a slew of inaugural balls featuring high-profile performers, Biden’s team is moving forward with plans for primetime programming the night he assumes office, with a mix of live and pre-taped performances from several iconic locations across the country, including Washington, D.C., to accommodate a virtual audience.
The 90-minute program, hosted by Hanks, titled “Celebrating America,” will also feature remarks from Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The primetime programming will cap off the inaugural celebration that includes events ahead of Biden taking the oath, including their previously announced National Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and a nationwide COVID-19 Memorial to Lives Lost on January 19. The committee plans to post service events and urge Americans to sign up for volunteer opportunities through its inaugural website.
Another major change to the inaugural celebration, the traditional parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, will be replaced with a “Parade Across America” — the “reimagined,” and largely virtual event that will feature performances in communities across the country.
The overall inaugural celebration will include the official swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol, as well as a wreath laying on Arlington National Cemetery with other former first couples, including former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former presidents and first ladies, George and Laura Bush, and Barack and Michelle Obama.
President Donald Trump, who became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice (when he was impeached for the second time Wednesday), said he does not plan to attend his successor’s Inauguration, but Vice President Mike Pence is expected to be there, according to a person familiar with his decision.