U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance as singer Jennifer Hudson performs 'Let's Stay Together' during the Inaugural Ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama was sworn in for his second term earlier in the day. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON -- From Alicia Keys to FUN to Brad Paisley, an eclectic mix of
musical performers kept partygoers entertained at The Inaugural Ball inside the
Washington Convention Center.
While many were there to see President Obama dance with the first lady, the
star-studded lineup added an extra dose of glamour.
The performers were there to entertain more than 35,000 guests made up of
grassroots volunteers, local community leaders and supporters, various
organization representatives and local and state elected leaders. The cavernous
room was packed, and while there was little room for dancing, there was
certainly lots to see on the two large stages.
Keys was up first. "Today is an incredible day and you can feel the energy
everywhere you go," said the singer, perched behind a piano. "Every day is a
chance to do our best, to serve our highest purpose." She was glittering in a
sparkly red dress by Michael Kors.
"Help me celebrate this momentous day," she said before singing her hit
Girl on Fire, changing the lyrics to ""He's president and he's on fire.
... Obama's on fire."
After her rousing opening number, the Mexican band Maná performed, singing a
set of songs including Carlos Santana's
Following Maná's performance, country music
star Brad Paisley stirred up the crowd with his song, American Saturday
Night. "This reminds me of when I was president of the 4-H club," joked
Paisley of the abundant energy in the room. "It's kind of the same." On a more
serious note, he remarked on how it was "such an honor to be here."
He added, "Our democracy is the envy of the world, and tonight we celebrate
by getting drunk in a convention center."
After Paisley, the musical act FUN performed pop hits Some Nights and
We Are Young.
The crowd roared with applause, which got only louder once they realized what
was up next.
Close to 9:20, the President and first lady Michelle Obama made their grand
entrance. They danced to Jennifer Hudson singing Let's Stay Together, the
Al Green classic. And just like that, it was over. No speech, no remarks -- just
wide smiles and a wave. By 9:30, the Obamas waved to their supporters and left.
It undoubtedly had been a long day
But the fun didn't stop there. Stevie Wonder performed a string of his
classic hits, and led the crowd in a sing-a-long to Signed,
And then, another surprise: Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden
wanted to their dance on, too. With Jamie Foxx singing and playing the piano,
the couple swayed to I Can't Stop Loving You. If there ever was a night
when Keys, Foxx and Wonder came third, tonight was the night.
Once the Bidens left the building, many others followed suit. But even as the
crowds began to pour out, there were still many packed in the center watching
John Legend croon away.
Attending an inaugural ball is quite an experience, especially for
first-timers. "I had no idea what to expect," said Catherine Pearson, 24, from
Washington. "It was such a whirlwind." She said that a highlight of the night
was "definitely seeing the president and Mrs. Obama dance, and Stevie Wonder.
You can't beat Stevie Wonder."
Bridget McCabe also cited the President and first lady's dance as the best
part of the night. "I really had no expectations, I had no idea what I was
getting in to," said McCabe, 24, from Glenmoore, Penn. "It's a lot of people,
especially in the crowd. This room is huge."
Talk also centered around Mrs. Obama's dress, a ruby red number by Jason Wu
-- the same designer she chose to wear at the balls four years ago. "She got
rave reviews for wearing him the first time, and I think she looked stunning
tonight," said Pearson. The back was beautiful...she looked ravishing in red."