10 Musicians Who Refused to Perform at Donald Trump’s Inauguration
To many people, 2016 wasn’t exactly the most positive year in recent memory. In fact, popular culture was littered with so many terrible moments — from both inside the entertainment world and beyond it — that we recently chronicled some of the worst events and scandals to erupt throughout the year. However, for all the controversies and celebrity downfalls we witnessed, no event made as much of an impact as the 2016 presidential election.
No matter which candidate one supported, we can all agree that the election of the next U.S. president divided the nation in a way we haven’t seen in recent memory. So we can’t say we’re surprised that some high-profile musical artists have opted to stay out of it all, and refused to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration. Here are just a few of the many artists who will not be performing alongside Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down at the inauguration concert.
1. R. Kelly
This R&B icon — best known for sexy tunes like “Bump and Grind” and inspirational anthems like “I Believe I Can Fly” — announced via his Twitter account that he will not be taking part in the event, contrary to rumors. However, we don’t seem to recall much talk about his involvement, making his proclamation seem like a clever bit of self-promotion rather than a legitimate clarification.
2. Elton John
One of the first and most frequent names rumored to be in the mix, this legendary singer was name-dropped by someone in Trump’s inauguration committee as being attached to perform at the event. Though this would make sense — given Trump’s reported fandom — John himself quickly dismissed the rumor, distancing himself from any possibility of performing.
3. Celine Dion
One of the best-selling female artists of all time, the “My Heart Will Go On” and “Because You Loved Me” singer is known for her show-stopping performances. So getting her to sing at Trump’s inauguration concert would have been a huge deal. Alas, Dion is booked to perform in Las Vegas on the night of the event and, by all accounts, never even considered performing for the incoming U.S. president.
4. Bruce Springsteen
Given Springsteen’s blatant political views, it’s bizarre to think that he was ever even mentioned as a possible performer at Trump’s inauguration. However, reports claimed that Trump’s team was working on getting him there. Instead, a Springsteen cover band will play at the inauguration party. So, yeah, that’s happening apparently.
5. Andrea Bocelli
The classical singer was among the first artists who were confirmed to take part in Trump’s inauguration concert, but despite reports that he would duet with Jackie Evancho — who herself will sing the National Anthem at Trump’s event — Bocelli pulled out of the engagement, presumably due to the controversy his participation would likely cause.
6. Charlotte Church
After rumors began swirling that Church would play at Trump’s inauguration, the classical star tweeted directly to the president-elect saying that she thought he was a “tyrant.” Needless to say, she’s a safe bet not to perform at his inauguration concert. Consider it one of the many instances in which an artists’ political stance has kept them off of the setlist.
7. Garth Brooks
Seeing as Trump’s inauguration concert ultimately wound up with country star Toby Keith, it stands to reason that his team may have initially been after Brooks, who stands as a living legend in the genre. While he seemed open at first to considering a performance at the inauguration, Brooks soon changed his tune and his mind, opting not to be involved.
8. Kanye West
After declaring during an onstage meltdown that he would have voted for Trump, West famously met with the president-elect at Trump Tower, leading many to speculate that he could be involved in the inauguration concert. We wouldn’t be surprised if Trump did, in fact, gauge West’s interest in performing at the show, though he remains conspicuously off the lineup. Likely, West may not have been up for such a high-profile gig after his recent hospitalization.
9. Idina Menzel
The Tony Award-winning Broadway star was never asked to perform at the inauguration concert, but made her feelings on the matter known all the same. In a Vanity Fair interview, Menzel called Trump’s trouble finding performers “karma” and suggest that the president-elect himself should do the honors, since he “probably thinks he has a great voice.”
The classic rock band reportedly “politely refused” an opportunity to play the inauguration concert. As it turns out, the band will likely be touring during the event anyway, regardless of their willingness to take part in Trump’s inauguration.
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