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Hollywood Gets Political as Stars Flock to the Inauguration

Kelly Hanelt |
January 21, 2013 | 11:54 a.m. PST

TV Editor

The real American Idol?
The real American Idol?

As Barack Obama was inaugurated Monday, renewing his presidential status for another 4 years, a mass exodus occurred. No, not from those strong-willed red states threatening to secede from the union, but from the pop culture capital of the country – Hollywood. For the 4-day weekend only, the sunny streets of Southern California were flanked by palm trees alone as every celebrity and their mother (and their grandmother, most likely) had flown east to pop bottles with the new POTUS.

Well not really, but there have been galas galore. Eva Longoria has been to almost every one of them, creating chatter for her new ambitions as a Hispanic activist in Washington as much as for her stunning strapless dress at the Latino Inaugural 2013.  Other ball /gala attendees included: Chelsea Clinton, Lena Dunham, Queen Latifah, every hip-hop artist under the sun (they even had their own ball), Mario Lopez (where isn’t he?), and… Bill Nye the Science Guy?

The actual inaugural ceremony featured performances by Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, and James Taylor. Obama handpicked which “wonderfully talented” artists he wanted at the event, and it was a surprise to no one that Beyoncé made the cut. Queen Bey and the Prez go back a long way, as she sang for his and Michelle’s first dance at the Inaugural Ball four years ago. Favoritism aside, Beyoncé delivered a stunning rendition of the national anthem, as we all knew she would. Listen below.

But as exciting as the official inauguration is, no Hollywood event (even if it’s in D.C.) is complete without an after-party… or 5. The official inaugural ball can brag performances from Alicia Keys, Usher, John Legend, Katy Perry, Far East Movement, Fun., Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Marc Anthony, and those pesky kids from “Glee”. Attendees of The Creative Coalition’s 2013 Inaugural Ball include: Connie Britton, Paula Abdul, Eric Stonestreet, Johnny Galecki, Tim Daly, Taraji P. Henson, and the Goo Goo Dolls.

But that’s just 27 of them. The Huffington Post has a count of 71 celebs expected to show. CNN’s list is well over 80. What this displays is a greater political trend in Hollywood right now. Last year, especially around election time, the new desirable trait around town was an opinion, a voice. Many celebs took to Twitter to express their presidential preference, and one even wore it on her dress. Three of the best picture nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards are political in theme (“Argo”, “Lincoln”, Zero Dark Thirty”). But these aren’t bad changes. As an industry, entertainment has tremendous, even threatening amounts of influence over the American public. More people voted in the “American Idol” finale in 2008 than in the presidential election that year. Now I’m not sure what Phillip Phillips’ numbers are against Obama, but in terms of relevance, the president's got him beat by a long shot.

Reach TV Editor Kelly Hanelt here. Find her on Twitter here.



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