A jittery Jackie Evancho took to the stage to perform the US national anthem following the official swearing-in ceremony of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
The runner-up of America’s Got Talent, who has sold one million albums since she appeared on the show, was very Bambi-in-front-of-the-headlights as she sang to the thousands (but not as many as Obama’s gig) of people who came to see Trump being sworn in.
This performance followed a desperate plea to CBS viewers to “forget about rivals and politics for a second and just think about America and the pretty song that I’m singing”. Good luck with that, Jackie.
Former US President Obama was seen standing behind the performance singing the anthem along with her, while former First Lady Michelle Obama appeared to be finding it difficult to enjoy the moment. It doesn’t exactly stand up to her partner’s own inaugural celebrations, does it?
The list of prolific and respected artists performing for Trump’s inauguration fell miserably short in comparison to those who performed at Obama’s – Evancho’s (occasionally flat) opera vocals don’t exactly match up to Beyonce.
Speaking of, it’s been impossible not to notice just how white this inauguration ceremony has been, but then that’s not really a surprise: the vast majority of black pop and mainstream musicians have essentially boycotted Donald Trump’s inauguration.
So Trump’s team resorted to bands that scream good ‘ol fashioned American patriotism; namely classic country and rock bands who are happy to stand in front of the American flag and yell about how much they love the US-of-A.
Earlier in the inauguration celebrations, country ‘supergroup’ The Frontmen of Country performed to a CGI backdrop of the American flag for the Make American Great Again concert.
Little Texas’ Tim Rushlow, Restless Heart’s Larry Stewart, and Diamond Rio’s Marty Row, performed several songs from their bands’ respective back catalogues, starting with Restless Hearts’ “Bluest Eyes in Texas”. As if they needed to make things any more patriotic, an Army veteran joined them onstage during Restless Hearts’ “Why Does It Have to Be (Wrong or Right)”.
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With an announcer making sure to mention their “global success”, rock band 3 Doors Down took to the stage, performing renditions of “Kryptonite”, “The Broken”, “When I'm Gone” and “Here Without You”.
“The Broken” includes the lyric “this is a call to the broken/to all the ones who’ve been thrown away/this is a call to the broken/stand up and take back your world today”.
It’s a clear nod to Trump’s one consistent message of “taking back America” – from quite who from has remained uncertain. 3 Doors Down work well as a band for Trump’s inauguration; they attempted to follow in the footsteps of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain’s deep yet catchy lyrics and grunge guitars, but fell short and ended up with material that sounds more self-pitying than introspective – as Vulture put it, “passing off narcissism as integrity”.
DJ Ravi Drums performed a rather bizarre, short set that featured dancers (the Rocketbots) in astronaut-type costumes – with an audience member’s laughter ringing out distinctly in the silence that greeted them walking onto the stage. At the end of the set the Rocketbots seemed to malfunction and drop to the floor before The Piano Guys arrived and began to interfere with a helpless Yamaha grand.
Country music legend Toby Keith, who was a registered Democrat until 2008 and who branded President Trump a “media whore”, was by far the biggest name the inaugural committee managed to land.
Keith performed a number of his biggest hits for attendees, including “American Soldier”, “Courtest of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” and “Made In America”. He thanked Barack Obama for his work as president, and for Donald Trump for taking on the presidency.
The whole thing was undeniably boring – you literally couldn’t pay me to attend a gig of this calibre – but it wasn’t really about the music to begin with. It does, however, remind America and the rest of the world of who Trump will serve as US President.
He didn’t get the stars he wanted. But with acts largely comprised of white, male, rich, older Americans plus one young, decorative female (Evancho) – Trump has put the people he will benefit most on full display.
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