When Joe Biden goes from president-elect to president of the United States next week, he’ll have the perfect soundtrack to ring in the day.
Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute special called “Celebrating America,” featuring performances from Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Justin Timberlake, the latter of whom stopped by TODAY Wednesday and opened up about the opportunity.
“I’m very excited,” he said of the chance to perform on Jan. 20 and help usher in a new president. “There’s a song that I wrote with a new artist who was just nominated for a Grammy, Ant Clemons, and we wrote a song called ‘Better Days.’ We’re going to be performing it at the inauguration. So incredibly excited. What an honor.”
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The song, released last month, is all about looking ahead to new hopes on the horizon, with lyrics like, “Oh, I know that there'll be better days / Oh, that sunshine 'bout to come my way / May we never ever shed another tear for today / 'Cause oh, I know that there'll be better days.”
The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced the special Wednesday morning with a press release that promised the prime-time show will be about more than music. It will “showcase the American people’s resilience, heroism, and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild.”
“Through different segments and performances, the program will highlight the strength of our democracy, the perseverance of our people, and our ability to come together during trying times and emerge stronger than ever before,” the release read. “The program will celebrate American heroes who are helping their fellow Americans through this crisis, including frontline workers, health care workers, teachers, citizens giving back, and those who are breaking barriers.”
During his video visit to TODAY, Timberlake, 39, said, “I got the phone call to be asked (to perform at the inauguration), and I was just like, ‘Uh, yes!’”
He added that between that big event and his upcoming heartstrings-tugging film with Ryder Allen, "Palmer," he hopes the “theme for 2021 is redemption.”
Fans can see “Palmer” Jan. 29 on Apple TV+, and they can tune into “Celebrating America” at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and MSNBC on Jan. 20.