By Ronn Torossian, President & CEO, 5WPR
Since everything has to be a sticking point and a reason to argue these days, in recent weeks, the list of performers slated to play at President-Elect Trump’s inauguration has become a political football. On one side you have the growing list of celebs aghast at the very notion of a President Trump, who are proclaiming loudly and proudly, they will not perform … despite not having been, you know, invited to do so. Then there are some who were asked and declined.
But not everyone is planning to skip the inaugural festivities. There are plenty of every day Americans thrilled about the new direction America is taking. Then there are the folks who know their audience well enough to jump at the chance to play for this president. Guys like Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood are shoo-ins for this crowd, and the love is sure to be strong and mutual. Of course, some are already comparing the lineup to those who played for President Obama, a luminous list including Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, U2, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, with appearances by Jennifer Hudson and Eva Longoria.
Sure, there are very few who have the star power of Kelly Clarkson or Beyonce, but the Trump camp doesn’t care who isn’t with them and wont play into what some want to proclaim a scandal. In keeping with the theme throughout the campaign, Trump and his coterie have warmly embraced and celebrated those who are “with” him while either ignoring or dismissing those who are not. Trump has even turned the eyebrow-raised, winking comparisons around on themselves, saying the show is not about him or the star power he attracts. It’s about “the people” and who they would like to see.
For some performers, like singer Jackie Evancho, agreeing to perform caused some PR blowback from fans who are none too happy with the decision. Striking a conciliatory tone, Evancho said she hopes her performance helps to bring the country together. But that hasn’t stopped some people from picking on the 16yo kid, saying her performance is an affront to LGBT rights. Evancho’s sibling is transgender. The sibling in question, Juliet Evancho, did her best to reject this notion with class, reminding her sister’s critics, “it’s an honor for her to be singing for our country in front of so many people.” For many, that’s what this is about, and it’s not just Evancho hoping more people realize that sooner rather than later.