Rumor has it president-elect Donald Trump is scraping a bit at the bottom of the barrel for entertainers for his January inauguration. His national anthem singer isn’t Beyoncé or Aretha Franklin, like it was for Barack Obama, but 16-year-old America’s Got Talent contestant Jackie Evancho. (“Who?” the US’s non-game-show-watching population asked in confusion.)
The inaugural balls that take place on Jan. 19—it’s a tradition for many to take place that night and Trump’s official schedule of events have him attending several—aren’t faring much better with their lineups.
The All American Ball for instance, which will happen at the Hyatt Regency, came out this week with a “stellar list“ featuring Nashville singer Beau Davidson, an ’80s cover band named The Reagan Years who only play songs from their favorite president’s two terms in office, a wedding band, and an artist called “DJ Freedom.” Tickets go for $250. No word yet on whether the president-elect will attend that particular ball, but there aren’t any bigger performers that’ve been announced for any other ones, either.
Meanwhile, musicians who have publicly turned down the opportunity to play Trump’s inauguration include:
- John Legend
- Part-time Queen frontman Adam Lambert
- Rick Astley (sort of—”depends how big the check was”,” the ’80s pop star declared)
- Zara Larsson, who said “I would never do it, and most other smart people wouldn’t do it” at the BBC Music Awards this year
- Elton John, who was said to be performing by a member of the Trump transition team, until his publicist emphatically emailed the New York Times (paywall), “Incorrect. He will NOT be performing”
- The Washington, DC high-school marching band scene