When President Barack Obama is inaugurated Monday Jan. 21, some of the brightest stars in the entertainment galaxy are poised to take part in the festivities, which include a "massive" ball expected to draw more than 35,000 revelers.
Smokey Robinson, Usher, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry and Brad Paisley are among the artists recently announced to sing at Obama's inaugural balls on Jan. 21 and a children's concert on Jan. 19. Also slated to entertain are Marc Anthony, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and the cast of "Glee."
Previously announced to perform at Obama's signing ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol are multiple Grammy Award winners Beyonce', who reportedly will deliver the National Anthem; Kelly Clarkson, who will sing "America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)" and James Taylor, who will perform "America the Beautiful."
Other event performers include Nick Cannon, "pop-rap" foursome Far East Movement, Grammy-nominated pop-rock trio fun., R&B "boy band" Mindless Behavior and youth gospel choir Soul Children of Chicago.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Smokey Robinson told The Associated Press that he'll be at The Inaugural Ball with his own band, but he isn't sure which songs he'll sing. Robinson said he's always happy to perform when the president asks because he's so proud of the first family.
"I've been in the White House many, many, many times for many presidents and this is the first time for me that it's really felt like when I go to the White House or something like that, it feels like you're going to your family's," Robinson said. "It feels like you're going home because that's how they treat me and that's how they treat my wife."
The Associated Press states that while Obama has cut the number of inaugural balls lower than any president since Dwight Eisenhower was first sworn into office in 1953, the two celebrations, both held in the Washington Convention Center, will be elaborate. The larger of the events, simply called The Inaugural Ball, is expected to draw more than 35,000 in a reflection of the "quadrennial demand" in Washington to toast the president in person on such an historic day.
Those who can't score any actual face time with the Obamas at the Convention Center can celebrate at several unofficial balls across Washington. Charity group Musicians On Call, which sends performers to play bedside for hospitalized patients, is being headlined by chart-topping singer Ke$ha.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report
NEW YORK — You may love dance and electronic music, but Santigold hates it.
The singer-rapper, who has collaborated with Jay-Z, the Beastie Boys and Mark Ronson, says she wishes the sound wasn't so popular.
"I really don't like that music, that sort of Euro-dance music, Ibiza-style. I've never liked it, even when it was kind of new and underground," she said.
The electronic and dance genre has taken over U.S. radio in the last few years, with acts from Rihanna to Britney Spears to Usher to Katy Perry adopting the sound, and churning out No. 1 hits.
Santigold says today's pop hits are formulaic, where artists "hire one of three producers, one of a couple songwriters, and you pretty much get the exact same song every time."
"It's created a dismal landscape for music, but it's a sure bottom line for the record company," she said. "It's really become about the economy of the music industry, and it's shaping the music that we're getting in a really unfortunate way."
Philadelphia-born Santigold has written songs for Christina Aguilera, Lily Allen and Ashlee Simpson. She used to work as an A&R for Epic Records, and almost signed rapper-actor Mos Def.
"I brought Mos Def and I was like, 'You guys got to sign him.' And they're like, 'Is he down with Puffy?'" she recalled with a laugh. "Like, everything at that time was Diddy."
Santigold said the job was frustrating, and she decided to leave to pursue her own musical efforts. She blends elements of rock, pop, hip-hop and dance to create a sound that is as distinct as her album's unusual beats.
"I would describe it as genre-less music," said Santigold, who released her sophomore album, "Master of My Make-Believe," last week. It's the follow-up to her critically-acclaimed 2008 debut "Santogold," her former stage name before changing it in 2009.
"I always call it collage music because really that's what it is," she continued. "It's taking bits and pieces of all these different influences and sounds and piecing them together in a way that's special and unique to myself."
Santigold says making "Master" — which features collaborations with Q-Tip, Diplo, John Hill, Greg Kurstin, David Sitek of TV on the Radio and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs — was "intense" and transcendental meditation helped ease some of her exhaustion. -- (AP)