Inaugural events to offer a big dose of star power

Posted: January 19, 2013

NEW YORK - Kelly Clarkson is a multiple nominee at next month's Grammy Awards, but what she's really excited about is another event where she'll be joined by Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Usher, and Brad Paisley.

Oh, and the president.

President Obama's inauguration is shaping up to be an event as star-studded as any red carpet, with dozens of heavy hitters lining up to perform - and the promise of a few surprises to liven up the weekend.

"I think it's going to be the coolest thing ever to look back with my grandkids and go, 'I was a part of that and I'm proud of that. I'm not ashamed of that,"' Clarkson said in a recent interview.

Clarkson once said she was a fan of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, but she says she voted for Obama twice. She'll perform "America" ("My Country 'Tis of Thee") Monday at Obama and Vice President Biden's swearing-in ceremony.

"We came up with a really cool arrangement for it and I really love the lyrics," she said.

Beyoncé will sing the national anthem and James Taylor will sing "America the Beautiful" on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday.

Pop-rock trio fun., who had a wild year with two No. 1 hits, a near-platinum album, and six Grammy nominations, will perform for Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Jill Biden on Saturday at the Kids' Inaugural Ball.

"It's been an amazing year, and 2013 is kicking off with us doing the inauguration. . . . it's just an incredible thing," said lead singer Nate Ruess.

Fun. will be joined at the concert by Perry, Wonder, Keys, Paisley, Usher, Smokey Robinson, Marc Anthony, Mindless Behavior, Nick Cannon, and the cast of Glee.

While there will be no shortage of star power, it's not quite a repeat of the 2009 inauguration when everyone who's anyone flocked to Washington for a televised concert on the Mall.

The first time around, Beyoncé was a surprise guest, singing the Etta James classic "At Last" for the first dance.

There may still be surprises in store, but plenty of performances are assured. Keys, Paisley, Anthony, Chris Cornell, Jamie Foxx, and Jennifer Hudson will perform at the Commander-in-Chief's Ball on Monday.

Will.i.am, who debuted the song "New Day" at 2009's inauguration, will be at a number of events, including OurTime.org's "General Now Party" on Saturday, which also includes John Legend, Jessica Alba, Common, and Flo Rida. Eva Longoria will host the "In Performance at the Kennedy Center" event, which celebrates Latino arts and culture, and will feature Antonio Banderas and Rosario Dawson. And pop party girl Ke$ha will perform a charity concert Monday.

The Creative Coalition will host parties Sunday and Monday that are expected to include Eric Stonestreet, Connie Britton, Taraji P. Henson, Melissa Leo, and David Arquette, among others.

Like will.i.am, soul crooner Legend will attend multiple events, including Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball II with 2 Chainz, Brandy, and Pharrell.

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