President Obama was ceremonially sworn in for his second term on Monday, a day replete with symbolism — reciting his oath of office, Obama rested his hand on Bibles owned by Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., on MLK Jr. Day — a historic speech, and solemn poetry and pronouncements about the importance of America's peaceful quadrennial transfers (or re-upping) of power. Inauguration Day was also a big party, with some great performances and mini-iconic moments — or, as New York's Joe Coscarelli puts it, "the first all-out meme election was followed by the inaugural meme inauguration, with every vaguely funny or touching moment GIF-ed, screenshot-ed, and played back for posterity." Here, seven of those lighter moments from America's 57th presidential inauguration:
1. Jennifer Hudson belts out the First Couple's first dance song
In 2009, the newly sworn-in president and First Lady Michelle Obama had their first dance of the evening to Beyoncé singing the Etta James classic "At Last." This year, Jennifer Hudson had the honor of kicking off the inaugural ball, sticking with the classic R&B genre by nailing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." Obama, who earlier in the day earned the scorn of MSNBC's talking heads for his "dad" dancing, fared better at the Commander-in-Chief Ball. "Hudson's powerhouse vocals provided the soundtrack to Barack and Michelle Obama's first dance," says Jessica Sager at Pop Crush, "but the Obamas were quite the sight and stole the show," especially Michelle in her red Jason Wu gown.
2. Beyoncé doesn't need your help
Obama's short inaugural meditation on collective action and equality was followed by a longish inaugural poem, and then the national anthem, performed flawlessly by Beyoncé. It was pretty clear from the crowd reaction which of the three performances the people liked best.
"I opened for Beyoncé." -- something inaugural poet Richard Blanco gets to say forever. #inaug2013— Omar L. Gallaga (@omarg) January 21, 2013
About halfway through the song, Mrs. Jay-Z either had technical difficulties with her ear monitor or, as BuzzFeed's Lauren Yapalater and most other commentators prefer to believe, took the stupid ear piece out "because she's Beyoncé and doesn't even need it."
Beyonce is proof that we are not all created equal buzzfeed.com/lyapalater/the…— Kevin Fallon (@kpfallon) January 22, 2013
3. Michelle Obama throws an epic eye-roll at John Boehner
After Obama's fairly partisan inaugural address, "Obama and congressional Republicans actually seemed to enjoy each other's company over an elaborate three-course lunch in the Capitol's opulent National Statuary Hall," says Manu Raju at Politico. "They traded jokes and toasted one another," and for at least a few moments, bipartisanship reigned supreme. Sort of. Michelle Obama apparently didn't like one of the jokes House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) shared with her husband, says Max Read at Gawker. Check out the First Lady's "hall-of-fame shade-throwing moment" at Boehner — "and take notes — this is master-class material."
4. Malia photo-bombs the First Couple kiss
Michelle Obama wasn't the only member of the First Family to have her facial antics memorialized by social media. Daughters Sasha and Malia earned the cheers of Twitter and the rest for basically being normal teenage and tween kids, yawning while their dad talked about hiring more math teachers and spending much of the inauguration with smartphones in hand. Here, Sasha is trying to get a photo of her parents kissing, when Malia sticks her face in the photo. "Malia Obama is a skilled photobomber," says BuzzFeed's Michael Hayes, approvingly.
5. Al Roker scores a Biden handshake, drops mic
Perhaps nobody was as excited on Monday as NBC morning weatherman Al Roker. Roker is apparently a big fan of Joe Biden, and he was so pleased that he got the vice president to ignore the Secret Service during the inaugural parade and sneak over for a handshake, he did a mic drop (defined by Urban Dictionary as "when a performer or speaker intentionally drops/throws the microphone on the floor after an awesome performance.")
6. Fox celebrates Blue Monday
While the on-screen talent at MSNBC was cheerfully gearing up for Obama's big ceremony Monday morning, their colleagues at Fox News were celebrating a different notable fact about Inauguration Day: It was "Blue Monday."
“@facthive: Today is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year.” It's because Obama is being inaugurated for another 4 years— Katie Fiaschi (@kfiaschi) January 21, 2013
This is a real thing, says Patrick Frey at The Inquisitr. In 2005, British scientist Cliff Arnall used a "questionably 'scientific' formula" to determine that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. So conservatives took to social media to propose wearing black and moping around, and the hosts of Fox and Friends opted to talk about the "drab weather, holiday bills, and resolutions that we have not met," over a chyron that reads "Bring on the Blues."
7. James Taylor does his thing with "America the Beautiful"
While Beyoncé arguably stole the Inauguration with her spirited rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and Kelly Clarkson poured her heart into "My Country Tis of Thee," some people prefered the more low-key, less pyrotechnic vocal stylings of James Taylor. His performance of the other patriotic anthem "has been described as 'pleasant' and 'nice,'" says Madeleine Davies at Jezebel. And it was. His choice of wardrobe, however, didn't quite match the occasion.
James Taylor thinking like a retired teacher at #Inaug2013 "I'm playing for the president, better put on my best oatmeal fleece"— Tom Morton (@tommorton) January 21, 2013
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 10 things you need to know today: October 24, 2014
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Let us now praise Billy Joel
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Why the government should pay every American child an allowance
- 10 self-sabotaging interview mistakes to avoid
Subscribe to the Week