Yesterday was indeed a day to celebrate American political traditions and tremendous achievements in civil rights, but there were also plenty of fashions to covet and musical performances to look forward to in between the peaceful transfer of power. Capping off a long week of celebrity events in support of Barack Obama‘s second term, Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor had the honor of performing during the official inauguration ceremony, live from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. Taylor kicked things off with “America the Beautiful,” defending the right to wear fleece in public (and later providing astute political analysis for NBC), while Kelly dazzled and impressed the likes of Senator Chuck Schumer with her powerful version of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”
“Wow” is right! Season 12 American Idol hopefuls take note: the AI OG remains the gold standard.
But meeting President Obama was just the beginning of Kelly’s Day of Fun. Beyoncé also made quite the impression on Senator Schumer, Vice President Joe Biden (we hope he got a hug he was so desperately hoping for), the Obama family and, let’s face it, the world when she stepped up to perform the National Anthem.
It’s difficult to steal the spotlight when Bill Clinton is in the room, but Bey more than rose to the historic occasion presented. We appreciate her DGAF decision to rip out an earpiece mid-song, as well as the overly theatrical smizing (see above) that will likely spawn infinite parodies.
But best live rendition of “The Spar Spangled Banner” ever? Eh, not quite. Plus, it was lip-synched! But we’ll remind you that choosing to go with a pre-recorded version of a stirring, patriotic tune for a huge stage didn’t affect the professional reputation of Whitney Houston. We will not argue, however, about whether or not she and Hov were the most dapper-looking couple to enter the VIP area. Mouths open, iPads up… are we sure this celebration wasn’t all for them?
By nightfall the Obamas freshened and dressed themselves up in preparation for their first dance as the First Couple in 2013. Since Beyoncé had the honor of serenading them with “At Last” in 2009, Jennifer Hudson performed Barry’s favorite, “Let’s Stay Together,” before the fancy crowd. (Yes, Dreamgirls fans. This time Effie White got Deena’s sloppy seconds.)
It’s no easy task to follow the crippling cuteness of Barack’s “I’ve got a date” introduction, but J. Hud accepts the challenge in stride. After breaking into song so many times along the campaign trail, more and more women now know the key to his heart. But perhaps the biggest compliment to our Commander in Chief and his fearless–bangs before a national event?!–counterpart came from Alicia Keys, who changed the lyrics of “Girl on Fire” to represent an optimistic outlook for his second term.
We hope this is figurative and not literal, Alicia. The White House has already been through two rounds of smoke damage.
Did you watch the inauguration? Which performance was your favorite? Let us know!
[Photos: Getty Images]