Skip to content

Katy Perry, fun., and Usher Add to Obama Inauguration’s Huge Pop Presence

Katy Perry dressed as a voting ballot

At least one closely watched ceremony this year other than the Grammy Awards will have a whole lot of pop music. While yesterday’s Academy Awards nominations once again passed over several songs arguably more reflective of the pop zeitgeist, President Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration continues to bring out the heavy hitters. Organizers earlier this week tapped Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, and James Taylor to sing patriotic songs at Obama’s January 21 signing ceremony. Now comes the fun part: the inaugural galas.

Make that the “fun.” part. The Grammy-nominated pop-rockers join Katy Perry, Usher, Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, John Legend, Marc Anthony, and the cast of Glee among performers scheduled for Obama’s inaugural balls January 21 and a children’s show on January 19, according to the AP. The bill also includes pioneering greats Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder. Pop-rappers Far East Movement, R&B outfit Mindless Behavior, rapper Nick Cannon, and youth gospel choir Soul Children of Chicago will perform as well.

Organizers haven’t revealed yet who will be performing at which of the two official inaugural concerts, but they’re reportedly expecting more than 35,000 in attendance for the larger Inaugural Ball. Another 4,000 partygoers are expected to attend the Commander in Chief’s Ball. Despite all that, the AP reports the number of inaugural balls this year will be the lowest since 1953, in light of ongoing economic challenges. (Unofficial events will also take place: At one such affair last year, Jay-Z rapped “99 Problems But a George Bush Ain’t One,” according to an attendee cited by the AP.)