- Associated Press
Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kelly Clarkson is a multiple nominee at next month’s Grammy Awards, but what she’s really excited about is another event where she’ll be joined by Beyonce, Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Mana, Usher and Brad Paisley.

Oh, and the president.

President Barack Obama’s inauguration promises to be to be an event as star-studded as any red carpet, with dozens of heavy hitters lining up to perform — and the expectation of a few key surprises to liven up the weekend.

“I think it’s going to be the coolest thing ever to look back with my grandkids and go: ‘I was a part of that, and I’m proud of that. I’m not ashamed of that,’ ” Miss Clarkson said in a recent interview.

Miss Clarkson once said she was a fan of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, but she says she voted for Mr. Obama twice. She’ll perform “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s swearing in ceremony Monday after Mr. Obama takes the oath of office.

“We came up with a really cool arrangement for it, and I really love the lyrics,” she said.

Beyonce will sing the national anthem, and James Taylor will sing “America the Beautiful” on the West Front of the Capitol on Monday. Both performers are regular Obama supporters, and celebrities have been a big part of Mr. Obama’s strategy to attract voters. Bruce Springsteen is a regular supporter, as are Lena Dunham, Scarlett Johansson, Jay-Z and dozens of others.

While there will be no shortage of star power, it’s not quite a repeat of the 2009 inauguration when everyone who’s anyone flocked to Washington for a televised concert on the Mall.

The first time around, Beyonce was a surprise guest, singing the Etta James classic “At Last” for the first dance. Her husband, Jay-Z, was another surprise at the private staff ball, singing “99 Problems but George Bush Ain’t One.” The Jonas Brothers — then favorites of the Obama girls — performed at the kids’ concert, and U2, Mr. Springsteen and so many others performed on the Mall.

There may still be surprises in store, but plenty of performances are assured. Miss Keys, Mr. Paisley, Chris Cornell, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson and Marc Anthony will perform at the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball on Monday.

Eva Longoria is tapped to host Sunday’s “In Performance at the Kennedy Center” event, which celebrates Latino arts and culture, and features Antonio Banderas and Rosario Dawson. And 25-year-old pop party girl Ke$ha will perform a charity concert Monday.

Miss Clarkson says she continues to gush when she thinks about all that’s going on to celebrate Mr. Obama’s second term in office.

“I’m excited to be a part of it honestly. I’m more stoked about [it more] than maybe a lot in my career,” she said.

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