Paul Anka out, but Trump inauguration events land Toby Keith, Jennifer Holliday
Confirmed performers include Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and some Rockettes
Donald Trump won't be getting Paul Anka after all, but Toby Keith, Jennifer Holliday and 3 Doors Down are among performers slated for inauguration celebrations in Washington, D.C., next week.
Country singer Keith, Broadway star Holliday and southern rockers 3 Doors Down, as well as a collection of choirs and bands, will perform at two pre-inauguration concerts at Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 19, organizers announced Friday.
However, contrary to earlier media reports, Anka won't be singing at the inauguration ball on Jan. 20, despite Trump being "an old friend of mine for 50 years."
Speaking to celebrity site TMZ.com, the 75-year-old singer-songwriter said he had previously agreed to perform at the Inauguration Day gala for a "first dance" between Trump and his wife, Melania Trump. However, the Ottawa-born Anka — a dual citizen since 1990 — has withdrawn due to an ongoing custody dispute with his ex-wife Anna over their preteen son, Ethan.
"I've been in a custody battle for two years for my son Ethan, and we have a new schedule now and I'm unable to do it," Anka is seen telling TMZ in a video interview posted Friday.
Though he admitted his views don't match those of his longtime friend Trump, Anka said he had agreed to the performance out of respect for the political office.
"I was hoping there'd be an understanding there, as I have a respect for the presidency," he said.
Anka's gig was first reported by Radar Online.
A tricky gig
The pair of free, pre-inauguration concert events announced Friday add a touch of star power to the proceedings.
Previously announced acts slated to perform include teen classical-crossover singer and former America's Got Talent contestant Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and members of the Rockettes.
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Though president-elect Trump has rubbed shoulders with celebrities for years, his team has seemed to face some challenges booking high-profile artists for the celebration.
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A parade of performers purportedly turned down or backed away from invitations to take the stage for the inauguration. Artists — including Elton John, Garth Brooks, Kanye West, Céline Dion, Moby, Charlotte Church, Ice-T, Andrea Bocelli and David Foster — either refuted reports they would perform or said they had declined invitations.
For his part, Trump posted online that he isn't interested in having celebrities — who turned out in droves to support Barack Obama — at his inauguration.
The so-called "A" list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!—@realDonaldTrump