Lady Gaga performs during a drive-in rally for Joe Biden; Jennifer Lopez performs in Times Square. File AP / Reuters
Pop superstar Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem during Joe Biden's swearing-in as US president on Jan.20, with Jennifer Lopez also performing at the largely virtual event, it was announced on Thursday.
The two will perform at the Jan.20 event for the incoming 46th US president, which will also feature remarks from a black firefighter from Georgia, a former Youth Poet Laureate, a Catholic priest, and a pastor from Biden's hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem and Lopez will give a musical performance.
Lady Gaga speaks during a drive-in rally in Pennsylvania. File / AFP
The two music icons will headline an inauguration like no other, with security stepped up in Washington against threats by extremist supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump after they attacked the US Capitol last week in a bid to overturn the results of the election.
"They represent one clear picture of the grand diversity of our great nation," his team said in a statement on Thursday.
The presenters reflect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' "steadfast vision of a new chapter in our American story in which we are an America united in overcoming the deep divisions and challenges facing our people, unifying the country, and restoring the soul of our nation," it added.
Their roles come as the Democrat takes over the White House from Republican Donald Trump in a scaled-down event amid the COVID-19 pandemic and growing security concerns after a mob of Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol seeking to thwart lawmakers' certification of Biden's victory.
Jennifer Lopez arrives for the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills. File / AFP
The public will not be on hand to watch the swearing-in at the West Front of the Capitol building, now fortified by fencing, barriers and thousands of National Guard Troops.
In announcing the inauguration speakers, Biden's transition team cited Lady Gaga's advocacy of LGBTQ rights and health issues, and Lopez's work raising awareness about the disproportionate impact of the novel coronavirus on Latinos.
Other speakers include career firefighter Andrea Hall of Fulton County, Georgia, and Los Angeles native 2017 National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. Former Georgetown University President Father Leo O’Donovan and Reverend Dr Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church - both close to the Biden family — will also speak.
Gaga has been a vocal supporter of Biden, appearing at his campaign finale in Pittsburgh in November; while Lopez has been outspoken in recent months about Covid-19 relief efforts.
Some 20,000 National Guard soldiers are expected in Washington for Biden's inauguration. The capital is already under heavy security, with much of downtown fenced off and under guard.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked visitors to stay home due to the raging pandemic, and Airbnb has banned bookings in the capital around the time of the inauguration.
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