UK & World News

  • 9 January 2013, 18:20

Beyonce's Leading Role At Obama Inauguration

President Barack Obama's second inauguration will feature some top talent, although the event promises to be a more muted affair than his first in 2009.

The star-studded programme is lead by Beyonce singing the national anthem for the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected in the US capital Washington on January 21.

As well as Beyonce, who along with her husband rapper Jay-Z has been a vocal supporter of Mr Obama, American Idol's Kelly Clarkson will perform My Country 'TisOf Thee, the inauguration committee said.

Singer James Taylor will perform America The Beautiful, and Richard Blanco, the son of Cuban exiles, has been named as the 2013 inaugural poet.

Mr Blanco joins the ranks of Maya Angelou and Robert Frost, poets who who have done the same.

Washington DC officials say they expect between 600,000 and 800,000 visitors to stream into the city.

That is far fewer than the 1.8 million people who flooded the National Mall four years ago to witness the swearing-in of the first black president.

Back then, some hotels sold out months in advance - with prices higher than $1,000 (623) per night. Some Washington residents rented out their homes for hundreds of dollars a night.

This time, hotels say they are filling up more slowly, with rooms still available and prices at, or slightly below, where they were in 2009.

Second inaugurations have historically drawn fewer spectators.

And instead of the 10 inaugural balls held in 2009, this year there will be two.

But inauguration planners are still soliciting high-dollar contributions up to $1m ($624,000) to help pay for the celebration in exchange for special access.

Mr Obama raised $53m (33m) in private money for his first inauguration.

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