Tom Hanks to host inauguration special

AP Images | Richard Shotwell

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s upcoming inauguration is set to be a star-studded affair. Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute special that will air across multiple TV networks and live streaming services, and will include performances from Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons, Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi and many more.

The Biden Inaugural Committee shared the news on Twitter on Jan. 13, revealing that the special event, titled “Celebrating America,” will air at 8:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 20.

The special will air across ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC, and will feature remarks from Biden and Harris, reported TVLine.

On Jan. 15, the Presidential Inauguration Committee announced that Bruce Springsteen, the Foo Fighters and John Legend had been added to the lineup.

The special will also highlight “American heroes who are helping their fellow Americans through this crisis, including frontline workers, healthcare workers, teachers, citizens giving back and those who are breaking barriers.”

Lovato made her own announcement on Twitter, revealing that she was “left speechless” when she was asked to perform.

The upcoming event is a stark contrast to the 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump, when a variety of entertainers were asked to appear — and many of them turned down the offer. The group of performers who declined reportedly included Céline Dion, Elton John and Andrea Bocelli (though celebrity guests Scott Baio, Caitlyn Jenner and “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson did turn up to support Trump).

Two musical powerhouses are lending their voices to the inauguration ceremony itself. Lady Gaga, who campaigned for Biden during the election, will sing the national anthem. And Jennifer Lopez, who also endorsed Biden last year, will give a separate performance, reported Variety.

On Twitter, Lady Gaga said she was “deeply honored” to have been chosen.

Gaga also appeared with Biden during his 2016 campaign for It’s On Us, an initiative to combat campus sexual assault, while Lopez took part in a virtual chat with Biden last October.

As for Hanks, who better to host an event aimed at bringing the nation together after a turbulent few years? The much-loved Hollywood icon has been a champion for frontline workers during the pandemic. He and his wife Rita Wilson got COVID-19 last March while Hanks was filming in Australia, and after they recovered, they donated their plasma for COVID-19 research.

“This inauguration presents a unique opportunity to spotlight the resilience and spirit of an America United,” inauguration committee CEO Tony Allen said in a statement. “We have witnessed countless heroes this past year step up to the frontlines and serve their fellow Americans, so we are telling their stories, spreading their collective light, and celebrating the best of our country and its people with this prime-time program.”

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