The folks planning Donald Trump’s inauguration announced their National Anthem singer with great fanfare on Wednesday.
The chosen one: A 16-year-old singer with a big voice from suburban Pittsburgh, Jackie Evancho, an “America’s Got Talent” runner-up.
She follows in the footsteps of Beyonce who sang — well, lip-synched — the anthem at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.
The teen is the first entertainer announced for the Trump festivities, which lack big-name stars at this point.
In fact, the list of folks who won’t be there is longer than those who will.
Grammy winner John Legend told the BBC he is “not surprised at all” that musicians are hesitant to sing at Trump’s inauguration.
“Creative people tend to reject bigotry and hate,” said Legend, no fan of Trump’s. “We tend to be more liberal-minded. When we see somebody that’s preaching division and hate and bigotry, it’s unlikely he’ll get a lot of creative people that want to be associated with him.”
For a few, white-hot seconds on Wednesday, TMZ reported that Andrea Bocelli would sing with Evancho at the inauguration. But the website was misled, later reporting that Evancho’s mother jumped the gun in reporting that as a done deal. It remains to be seen if Bocelli will participate.
For sure Elton John won’t be there, no matter what a member of the Trump transition team suggested last month.
Garth Brooks indicated he might be willing to sing if asked, but Variety reports that he won’t.
When Kanye West suddenly appeared at Trump Tower for a visit on Tuesday he was silent when reporters asked if he would perform, which was taken as a no.
And it’s not just Hollywood A-listers that are sitting this one out — no surprise since so many including Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry and Beyonce campaigned for Hillary Clinton.
On Wednesday, Washington media reported that the Howard University marching band, which marched in Obama’s first inauguration parade, has not applied to participate next month.
Band director John Newson cited several reasons, including too few members and lack of money. But he suspects politics played a part, too.
“I think everybody knows why and no one wants to say and lose their job,” Newson told NBC Washington.
A District of Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman also told the TV station that she was not aware of any band in the district that has applied to participate in the parade, including one that had participated in the past five inauguration parades.
Flashes of desperation have surfaced as the clock winds down.
The Wrap entertainment website reports that the inauguration planning committee, which is “willing to pay anything,” is having a tough time getting any A-lister to participate. The Trump camp denied insider talk about government appointments being offered to agents as incentive.
One source told The Wrap that Trump’s committee is in talks with Kid Rock, Ted Nugent and Lee Greenwood.
But they really want “artists like Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars,” the insider said. “They’re calling managers, agents, everyone in town to see who they can get, and it’s been problematic.”
Thus explains senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway’s odd winking episode last week on “Fox & Friends.” Asked if the inauguration committee was trying to book Timberlake and Mars, Conway winked at the camera and said: “Yes! They can call me, by the way. They can call me.”
One anonymous source told the The Wrap there aren’t many top celebrities “who will agree to normalize and service some of the hate groups that have supported Trump,” because of the backlash that would come their way.
And as for Evancho who is over the moon — “It’s going to be awesome!” — at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?
Let’s just say social media appeared less than impressed, as it so often is.