After the swearing in of both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on January 20, the new administration got to work. Biden immediately signed over a dozen executive orders, reversing some of the previous administration’s, and implemented a mask mandate for federal employees, recommitted the United States to the Paris climate agreement, paused student loan repayments until September 30, and more. But even though he was already set up behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, the inauguration celebration was far from over.
On Wednesday night, Tom Hanks hosted a star-studded, post-parade nighttime special called Celebrating America, a victory lap for the new administration that doubled as a tribute to America’s frontline workers. As part of the festivities, artists like Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, the Foo Fighters, and more sang out songs of perseverance and hope. And none were more rapturous than Demi Lovato and Katy Perry.
Lovato’s twilit performance in front of a (digital) purple sky honed in on dancing, as she brought her funky take on Bill Withers’s “Lovely Day” to life. Rocking a beige suit with a new shorter haircut, Lovato anchored the disco-tinged song to sparkly life with a little help from videoed-in performances from health care workers, some of whom played guitar and piano along with the track. The Biden family got in on the action, too, watching the performance from inside the White House.
“It was an absolute HONOR to perform tonight for our @POTUS, @VP, & the entirety of our United States of America ❤️🇺🇸,” Lovato tweeted. “This is a night I will NEVER forget. Thank you to everyone who joined me to sing ‘Lovely Day’ by the late Bill Withers. Such an inspiring night.”
Before the night concluded — and before Hanks became in icicle hosting the telecast outside in the chilly Washington, D.C. evening air — everyone knew there would be fireworks. And what better way to ring them in than with a song that’s the aural equivalent of a firework: Katy Perry’s “Firework.”
In a grand, let’s-return-to-normalcy gesture, the sky above the National Mall and the Washington monument lit up in a cavalcade of color, all as Perry belted out her signature 2010 pop-EDM anthem — and all as the President and First Lady watched and applauded from their balcony.
Relive all the glory in the videos above.