Alicia Keys, Katy Perry get top billing for inauguration parties

By Andy Sullivan, Reuters

WASHINGTON — R&B singer Alicia Keys, country guitar slinger Brad Paisley and pop star Katy Perry are some of the A-list performers who will entertain partygoers at President Barack Obama’s inaugural celebration, organizers said on Friday. Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder, two prominent elder statesmen of American music, also will perform at one of the three official parties planned for the onset of Obama’s second term in office, the inaugural committee said. Other performers include salsa singer Marc Anthony, rappers Far East Movement and Nick Cannon, pop band fun., R&B singers Usher and John Legend, gospel choir Soul Children of Chicago, and members of the cast of the TV show “Glee.” Obama’s swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 21 is expected to draw up to 800,000 people, less than half of the 1.8 million who flocked to Washington in 2009 to celebrate the United States’ first African American president. That historic event featured 10 official balls. This time around, organizers are planning only two — one for military service members and one for the general public. Organizers also plan a children’s concert for the Saturday before the event. Organizers did not say who would perform at which event. The inauguration committee previously announced performers for the swearing-in ceremony. R&B star Beyonce Knowles will sing the national anthem, while country singer Kelly Clarkson is scheduled to give a rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” Singer-songwriter James Taylor will perform “America the Beautiful.” It will be Beyonce’s third inauguration performance. Four years ago, she serenaded the first couple with Etta James’ “At Last” at an inaugural ball, and in 2001 she performed at the children’s concert with her band, Destiny’s Child.