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Trump feted by Tony Orlando, Jackie Evancho at inauguration

WASHINGTON — Donald and Melania Trump were feted at their inaugural balls by the Rockettes and by singer Tony Orlando, who sang his famous “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree.”

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, it was 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho who had the spotlight, singing the national anthem in a soft, solemn voice. “Great job, Jackie!” the new president called out.

In the evening, Trump and his wife first hit the Liberty Ball, where the new president told the crowd how much he had enjoyed his first day as commander in chief.

“People that weren’t so nice to me were saying that we did a really good job today,” he said. “It’s like God was looking down on us.”

The couple danced to “My Way,” joined by Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Susan, as well as Trump family members.

“My Way” was also the couple’s song of choice at the next stop, the Freedom Ball, where Trump asked the crowd playfully whether he should “keep the Twitter going?” The crowd roared in apparent approval.

Trump, who was given a second, POTUS Twitter account on Friday, said his all-hours tweeting to his more than 20 million followers is “a way of bypassing dishonest media.”

Melania Trump stood by his side in an elegant ivory column gown reportedly designed by Herve Pierre, former creative director of Carolina Herrera.

“Now,” the president added, “the fun begins.”

At the Trumps’ final stop, the “Salute to Our Armed Services Ball,” the evening began with a solemn prayer and a moment of silence in honor of soldiers killed in the line of duty.

Tony Orlando was introduced to the crowd as “America’s most loved and enduring entertainer.” When Texas musician Josh Weathers took the stage, on the other hand, he quipped: “I know that nobody in this room knows who I am.”

Upon arrival, the Trumps danced to “I Will Always Love You,” with Mrs. Trump singing along and smiling. The couple then separated to dance with service members. Mrs. Trump also spoke, delighting the crowd when she told them: “I’m honored to be your first lady. We will fight, we will win, and we will make America great again.”

Not all the entertainment Friday night was in celebration of the new president. The Grammy-winning group Blues Traveler headlined the quadrennial gala thrown by the Creative Coalition, a nonpartisan advocacy group for the arts. TV actors like Tim Daly, Christina Hendricks and Cheryl Hines spoke of the urgent need to keep pushing for arts funding.

“The arts is an easy target,” said Dean Norris, who played DEA agent Hank Schrader on “Breaking Bad.” “Some people think it’s an extra. We think it’s more essential than the politicians feel.”

Earlier in the day, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang “America the Beautiful” at Trump’s swearing-in ceremony, and the Missouri State University Chorale sang “Now We Belong.”

It was a ceremony that featured decidedly less star power than in 2013. At President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, Beyonce sang the anthem, James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang a powerful “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”

The various inauguration performances have become a hotly debated topic and have reflected the obvious divisions in the country following the election of Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Hollywood.

A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform, and Broadway singer Jennifer Holliday even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her scheduled appearance.

On Saturday, artists Janelle Monae and Maxwell were scheduled to perform at the Women’s March on Washington. Also slated to attend were Katy Perry, Julianne Moore, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Schumer and Cher.


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