A new era of pantsuits — sorry, power suits — began in this country yesterday, no better exemplified than in Demi Lovato’s performance on Celebrating America last night, when she sang a cover of Bill Withers’s “Lovely Day.” The televised post-inauguration event also featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, and Justin Timberlake. Lovato belted the chorus to perfection, including the unceasing “lovely day” at the bridge, all done in an empty room with a moving background and no audience. Remember, she’s not only a fabulous singer, she’s a performer, and she did her best to groove along while heralding a new day for America to a synth-pop arrangement.
The green-screened background started out innocuously enough, just the sun setting over some unidentified city. It remained plenty wholesome, with clips of health-care workers and regular ol’ Americans in regular ol’ places joining in to pull this country together with off-beat lip-syncing. Then, a moment of surprise: Lin-Manuel Miranda staring dead into the camera, slyly grinning as he sang, “Then I look at you.” He didn’t stay onscreen long, and the background went back to joyous images of people singing along across the States, with shots of Joe and Jill Biden holding their grandson Beau and bopping along to the undoubtedly insatiable beat. Maybe if we all write a letter to our new president, he’ll limit Lin-Manual Miranda cameos in his first 100 days. That man is everywhere.