Some may see Beyoncé as a pop star icon to “hip” to handle the patriotic task of singing the national anthem at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration. But without fail, Queen Bey held her own on the morning of the 21st, taking her seat on the musical throne after belting out the “Star-Spangled Banner” with regal vibrato.
The last time Beyoncé set the stage for the President and his first lady was in 2009, when she let her voice flow over the chords of Etta James’ “At Last” like silk magic. But this year, the woman who has all the single ladies belting for a ring across America got an ultra-upgrade. Beyoncé’s opening number was not the only change for this year’s inauguration.
Just as our 51-year-old president has greyed with time, so did his musical ensemble for the night. The performers at Obama’s second inauguration represented a mix of classic patriotism and new-age entertainment, allowing younger musical contenders to put their own twists to old school classics.
The nation’s first “Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson offered her rendition “My Country Tis Of Thee” and Jennifer Hudson breathed life into Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” towards the end of the night. Beyoncé replaced the United States Navy Band Sea Chanters Chorus for the national anthem and James Taylor plucked at his guitar while singing “America the Beautiful.”
These picks demonstrate a smoother transition for the President and calmed all who watched, setting off an optimistic feeling that things might get better this time around.
Together, the artists of Obama’s second inauguration reflect the charisma that is most emblematic of the President himself: a warm sense of dignity and wisdom enveloped with the youth-like air of energetic charm.