During his first inauguration, then President-Elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, began a new tradition with what they would coin the “Kid’s Inauguration Ball” that would honor the military and their respective families with a star-studded concert. This go-round, the President and First Lady are continuing the tradition.
With Nick Cannon serving as the host, Soul Children of Chicago performed with Black Violin. Dance crew Illuminate and TV sensation Glee were just a few of many artists to perform at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Saturday evening.
The most notable performances of the event, though, included Usher‘s opening performance in addition to Mindless Behavior and an appropriately patriotic Katy Perry (pictured below).
Usher kicked off the wholesome event strong, with high energy, solid vocals, and skilled dance moves, performing hits “OMG” and “Yeah,” among others, while Mindless Behavior were precociously poised in their black suits and received one of the warmest welcomes from the crowd.
But it was Perry’s performance that was in a league of its own.
Wearing the colors of the American flag, she reminded everyone in attendance why — along with supporting and honoring military families — we were really there: to celebrate four more years of the Obamas! You didn’t have to be a Perry fan to appreciate her enthusiasm for the President and her bold voice. In addition, the candid stills of the President in the background were a powerful nod to a triumphant re-election and what is sure to be an emotional inauguration.Katy Perry performs at the 2013 Kids’ Inauguration Ball, Associated Press
The show also included engaging taped announcements from old-school rapper Biz Markie, actress Kerry Washington, and late-night TV host Jimmy Fallon, among others, who all gave words of encouragement and support to the military families in attendance.
Cute as a button, fourth-grader Jaelen Franco (pictured below) of Lee Hill Elementary School in Virginia, who also comes from a military family, introduced Dr. Jill Biden. At one point, Dr. Biden said, “We will be here for you when your mom and dad is away. So we want tonight to be one special way we show you how much we appreciate what you are doing [serving the country].”
The First Lady closed out the successful show, saying, “When Jill and I told people what we were doing, everybody wanted to be here…Usher wanted to be here, Katy Perry wanted to be here, Glee wanted to be here. Everybody wanted to be here. To America’s military kids, make no mistake about it, you are appreciated.
“We will support you [military families] and we will do everything in our power to meet our obligation, because the fact is that today we have a greater obligation to serve you than ever before and we will do everything in our power, everything to meet that obligation, to make sure that our military families get the benefits they earned and the support and recognition you all deserve.”
All in all, this is an event that will not be quickly forgotten, and I found myself dancing in the press box with abandon and delight, knowing that this entire experience is indeed once in a lifetime.