By Judy Kurtz - 01/18/13 12:24 AM EST
Forget the nation’s capital — Washington is about to become, at least temporarily, come Inauguration Day, the celebrity capital of the world.
While all signs point to the 57th presidential inauguration not attracting quite the same caliber of star power as President Obama’s first time taking the oath in 2009, loads of red-carpet regulars are flocking to the District for the Jan. 21 celebration.
“American Idol” alum Kelly Clarkson will also brave the likely frigid temps at inauguration to deliver her rendition of “My Country ’Tis of Thee” at the ceremony. James Taylor, who performed at the Democratic National Convention last September, is poised to sing “America the Beautiful.”
While the number of official inaugural balls has been reduced from 10 in 2009 to two this time around, plenty of musicians who are used to selling out stadiums will be in abundance throughout the shindigs.
Wacky-outfit-wearing entertainer and “Wide Awake” singer Katy Perry, R&B singer Alicia Keys, country music’s Brad Paisley, Marc Anthony, “Scream” hitmaker Usher, Stevie Wonder, the bands fun. and the Far East Movement and cast members from “Glee” will all lend their voices to at least one of the official balls.
The presidential inauguration will bring out many other familiar celebrity faces that were constant cheerleaders for Obama while he was on the campaign trail.
Former “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria, who co-chaired Obama’s reelection campaign and is serving in the same role for his inauguration, is slated to attend a number of events over the weekend. The actress is among the headliners and VIP guests at an inaugural Sunday brunch at Georgetown’s Café Milano held by Newsweek and The Daily Beast — along with movie executive Harvey Weinstein, Barbara Walters, “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King, Tom Brokaw, Kate Walsh, Bob Schieffer and Tina Brown, among others. That night, Longoria will appear at a Kennedy Center performance honoring the inauguration and Latino culture, which will also include legends Chita Rivera, Jose Feliciano and Rita Moreno.
Grammy Award winner John Legend, who performed at several Obama fundraisers last year, will help ring in another four years for the president over the weekend at an official ball and other soirees. Legend, along with actress Rosario Dawson, La La Anthony, rapper 2 Chainz, Doug E. Fresh, Swizz Beatz, MC Lyte and “E! News” co-anchor Terrence J are among the expected guests joining music mogul Russell Simmons at what’s being dubbed “the dopest ball ever,” the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball at The Harman Center in downtown D.C. on Sunday.
The same venue will host another celeb-packed event on Monday, as the Creative Coalition holds an Inaugural gala featuring a performance by the Goo Goo Dolls. Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk tells ITK her organization has been working day and night on the VIP ball, saying, “A lot of energy [has been] expended to make for one perfect evening.” The guest list includes Creative Coalition President and “Private Practice” star Tim Daly, “Modern Family’s” Eric Stonestreet, Connie Britton of “Nashville” fame, Paula Abdul, Omar Epps, Alan Cumming, Richard Schiff of “The West Wing,” Johnny Galecki, Wayne Knight, Taraji P. Henson, Alfre Woodard and Melissa Leo.
In some cases, the celeb contingency invading Washington will be nothing if not eclectic. The Human Rights Campaign will host an “Out for Equality Inaugural Celebration” featuring “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” singer Cyndi Lauper, along with E! anchor Ross Matthews and Broadway star Audra McDonald.
Musicians on Call and the Recording Industry Association of America will welcome the self-professed whiskey-guzzling, multiplatinum-selling pop singer Ke$ha at their inauguration charity benefit at the 9:30 Club on Monday. DJ Jazzy Jeff will be providing the beats for the night.
Auto-tune-loving rapper T-Pain will share the stage with John Legend and Common at OurTime.org’s “Generation Now” party on Saturday night.
The shindig, which organizers are calling “the hottest party of the Inaugural weekend,” will be hosted by will.i.am and “Damages” actor Tate Donovan at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture.