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Celine Dion, Kiss, and the Totally Epic Soundscape That Trump Won’t Be Hearing at His Inauguration

If every artist who was invited to entertain at Trump’s inauguration had accepted, what notes would be ringing through the Washington, D.C., air? We put together a playlist.

By Carson Leigh Brown


A New Day Has Come? Trump won’t be hearing it at his inauguration. (Photo:



Why did Donald Trump’s transition team have such a hard time landing musical artists for his inauguration? Céline Dion, Kiss, Moby, Elton John, and Rebecca Ferguson were among the (at least) nine artists that have all reportedly declined invitations to perform at today’s swearing-in ceremony, a serious honor no matter where one lands on the political spectrum. Perhaps that’s because artists risked serious backlash from left-leaning fans if they agreed to perform— as MarketWatch explained yesterday, social media allows the quick dissemination of financial backlash. Or perhaps artists read up on the president-elect’s policies — take Jennifer Holliday, who apologized in an open letter after she backed out for being “uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.”

That’s not to say Trump isn’t going to have a rocking inauguration, filled with artists who don’t take issue with his line on women’s rights or immigration: He’s landed classical crossover singer Jackie Evancho,the Rockettes, The Marine Corps band, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Also performing in the 9:30 a.m. EST musical interlude before the ceremony: 3 Doors Down, Toby Keith, and Lee Greenwood.

As Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, assistant professor of music at Georgia College and State University and an expert on campaign music, explained, some of Trump’s inauguration picks, like classical crossover singer Jackie Evancho, appear calculated to make him appear more presidential: “Classical crossover establishes continuity between the soundtrack of Trump’s campaign and the event that marks the beginning of his presidency, underscoring his finesse and refinement rather than his masculine might,” she says.

The addition of Italian classical singer-songwriter Andrea Bocelli and classical singer turned pop artist Charlotte Church, both of which were reportedly invited to perform at the inauguration, would have dovetailed nicely with the day’s theme of refinement. Alas, it wasn’t mean to be: Both declined the invite. (Church tweeted, “Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration, a simple Internet search would show I think you’re a tyrant. Bye.”)

Though, in typical Trump fashion, the president-elect shot off a tweet in early January saying the inauguration is going to be a great show. What would it have sounded like if all had went according to plan? Below, check out our playlist comprised of all the artists who rejected a bid to participate in the merriment — and imagine what could have been.