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Lady Gaga to sing anthem, J-Lo to perform at Biden inauguration


Biden’s inauguration will be a significant departure from those of previous presidents due to security and COVID-19 concerns.

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 US Capitol when Biden is sworn in as United States’ 46th president next Wednesday.

Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons, and actor Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration.

Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem and Jennifer Lopez, above, will give a musical performance at Joe Biden’s inauguration next week [Gary Hershorn/Pool via Reuters]

The event will also feature remarks from a Black firefighter from Georgia, a former Youth Poet Laureate, a Catholic priest, and a pastor from Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

“They represent one clear picture of the grand diversity of our great nation,” Biden’s team said in a statement on Thursday.

The presenters reflect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’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,” it added.

Their roles come as the Democrat takes over the White House from Republican Donald Trump in a scaled-down event amid the COVID-19 pandemic and growing security concerns after a mob of Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol seeking to thwart lawmakers’ certification of Biden’s victory. The attack sent lawmakers into hiding and left five people dead, including a police officer.

Citing two unnamed officials, CNN reported on Wednesday that Biden has changed his travel plans, amid growing security concerns surrounding the inauguration. He had previously planned on taking the Amtrak train from Wilmington, Delaware, to Washington.

The public will not be in the audience to watch the swearing-in at the West Front of the Capitol building, now fortified by fencing, barriers and thousands of National Guard troops [Erin Scott/Reuters]

Biden’s transition team said in a statement on Wednesday that Biden had received a briefing from senior FBI officials, the Secret Service and key members of his national security team.

“In the week since the attack on Congress by a mob that included domestic terrorists and violent extremists, the nation has continued to learn more about the threat to our democracy and about the potential for additional violence in the coming days,” the statement read. “This is a challenge that the President-elect and his team take incredibly seriously.”

The public will not be in the audience to watch the swearing-in at the West Front of the Capitol building, now fortified by fencing, barriers and thousands of National Guard Troops.

Local media on Thursday reported that the Trump administration has offered Biden the use of Blair House, the official residence for guests of the president, on the eve of his inauguration, and Biden has accepted.

Other speakers during the inauguration include career firefighter Andrea Hall of Fulton County, Georgia, and Los Angeles native 2017 National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. Former Georgetown University President Father Leo O’Donovan and Reverend Dr Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church – both close to the Biden family – will also speak.

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