Who Should Perform at the Obama Inauguration?

We ask Hollywood know-it-alls who should entertain during Inauguration festivities

By Marc Malkin Nov 19, 2008 12:27 AMTags
Ellen DeGeneres, Bono, Leona Lewis, will.i.am, Paula Abdul, Alicia KeysDimitrios Kambouri/Getty Images, Jemal Countess/Getty Images, Shawn Ehlers/Getty Images, Jerome Ware/ZUMApress.com, Steve Granitz/Getty Images, Jim Pslemman/Getty Images

The economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the choice of First Puppy aren't the only things President-Elect Barack Obama has to worry about these days.

How about who will perform during all the Inaugural balls and galas on Jan. 20?

We surveyed Hollywood to brainstorm for some ideas. Read on for their suggestions...

One musician everyone seems to agree on is will.i.am. The Black Eyed Peas frontman jumped on board the Obama train early on in the campaign and had a viral hit with "Yes We Can."

"I hope they mix it up and make a couple of interesting choices," says music video and movie director McG. "But I think it's a safe bet you'll see will.i.am performing."

New American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi says Obama should try for some of the luck of the Irish. "U2," she exclaims. "They're a socially conscious group—and who doesn't want to hear Bono?"

Another European suggestion was English songbird Leona Lewis. "Maybe someone American would be better, but I think at the same it's all about uniting the world and everyone coming together as an equal," says Emmy Rossum. "That's why Leona would be great."

Arianna Huffington, political commentator and founder of The Huffington Post, says more than musicians should be considered. After Oprah Winfrey gives away a few Priuses to highlight Obama's new energy initiatives, Huffington suggests, "Ellen [DeGeneres] could dance with Barack, Michelle and the girls."

Huffington, an outspoken liberal, is even willing to cross party lines for entertainment. Republican-backing country singers John Rich and Hank Williams Jr. "can come up with something catchy for President Obama," Huffington says. "And by catchy, I mean anything more memorable than [Rich's original John McCain anthem] 'Raisin' McCain.'"

How about some James Bond for our new commander-in-chief? Not exactly, but Kelly Osbourne thinks new Bond-theme musicians Jack White and Alicia Keys may be the perfect "power duo" to book for Inauguration festivities. "They need something new—someone to write a great song that would go down in the history books forever," Osbourne says. "It would need to be somebody with a brain."

A little history is something Tina Brown, former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor-in-chief and founder of the recently launched blog The Daily Beast, went for. "I'd be glad to see Stevie Wonder, who Obama called his musical hero growing up," Brown says. "Or Bob Dylan, who is another of Obama's iPod staples."

But the gold medal for a truly, um, inspired suggestion goes to American Idol judge Randy Jackson. "Me," Jackson says, "and Paula Abdul—I'm serious!"

—Additional reporting by Dahvi Shira