On Wednesday, January 20, President-elect Joe Biden will celebrate his inauguration with a TV special called Celebrating America instead of with typical in-person ceremonies due to COVID-19 safety concerns, Politico reports. The 90-minute show will highlight and honor frontline workers who remain out there during the raging pandemic, and the whole thing will be hosted by Tom Hanks.
But because you can’t have an inauguration ceremony without music, Celebrating America will also feature performances from Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, and Jon Bon Jovi. On Instagram, Lovato wrote that she’s “SO honored” to join Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for the event: “I was left speechless when I was asked to perform!”
Timberlake, meanwhile, shared how the song he’s planning to play, called “Better Days,” came together ahead of the special. Together with his collaborator Clemons, he penned the tune in late 2020 as a way to look ahead with optimism. “This past year brought a lot of frustration, grief, anger — and there were times when it was easy to feel powerless,” he wrote. “This song was our way of doing what little we could to encourage everyone to stay hopeful… and keep working towards a better, more equal future.” He also shared that he recorded his vocals for the tune on Election Night.
“We have a long way to go to fix, undo, and rebuild this country… but I hope now, despite the past four years, we are on our way.”
Additionally, Lady Gaga has been tapped to the sing the national anthem ahead of the actual ceremony, due to take place around 11:30 a.m. ET in front of the United States Capitol, Variety reports. Jennifer Lopez is also slated to perform, and the swearing-in will also feature firefighter Andrea Hall leading in the Pledge of Allegiance, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman giving a reading, and more.
The Celebrating America special will air at 8:30 ET/PT on January 20 on ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as on cable channels CNN and MSNBC.