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Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson add soaring voices to Obama's inauguration

The Associated Press, Monday, January 21, 2013, 10:49am (PST)

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Billboard -- The inauguration of the President of the United States is a celebrated event indeed, even if it's effectively the follow-up to what was a landmark occasion four years ago. But if there's anyone who can bring the (White) house down, it's one of America's most beloved singing ladies, the first "American Idol," a songwriting legend and a showstopping choir.

Following the entrance of the presidential party, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir opened the musical portion of the ceremony with a rousing rendition of "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Though the subsequent solo performances were big indeed, there was no moment more bombastic than the choir's performance, providing a fitting beginning prior to Vice President Biden's oath of office.

Bing: More inauguration coverage

The string of beautifully-sung songs continued with James Taylor's understated "America the Beautiful." As expected from the legendary artist, the performance was quiet and reserved, Taylor armed with an acoustic guitar and nothing more. A brief interlude, but fitting nonetheless.

Kelly Clarkson handled "My Country Tis of Thee" with much zest, providing a grandiose vocal heard rarely from her latest material. Clarkson turned in a sky-reaching rendition that is easily one of her best moments of the last few years.

Of course, the ceremony would have felt incomplete sans the presence of Obama best buds Jay-Z and Beyonce. The latter delivered a national anthem worthy of nothing less than such an event, rivaling her stunning "At Last" four years ago.

The inauguration ceremony follows days of activity leading up to the event, including multiple performances of varying intrigue. Most visible was the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball's honoring of John Legend, 2 Chainz, Doug E. Fresh and MC Lyte, as well as Lupe Fiasco's fiasco of an inaugural performance, decrying the Obama administration and eventually being kicked off stage. Legend also joined Will.i.am. T-Pain and Common at an OurTime.org event.

Katy Perry, Usher, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Cyndi Lauper were also among the performers at the many balls and events in the D.C. area leading up to the inauguration.

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