An emotional Lady Gaga performed a dramatic version of the US national anthem while Garth Brooks and Jennifer Lopez also sang, but the standout performance at the inauguration of Joe Biden came from inaugural poet Amanda Gorman.
The 2017 National Youth Poet Laureate delivered a stirring poem on Wednesday titled "The Hill We Climb."
In doing so, Gorman, 22, became the youngest inaugural poet. She was reportedly recommended to the inaugural team by new first lady Jill Biden.
According to the BBC, the Los Angeles poet finished her poem on January 6, the day the Capitol was stormed by Trump supporters.
"I really wanted to use my words to be a point of unity and collaboration and togetherness," she told the World Service's Newshour programme.
"I think it's about a new chapter in the United States, about the future, and doing that through the elegance and beauty of words."
Gorman and her writing drew immediate praise on social media.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” Oprah Winfrey tweeted.
Former president Barack Obama said: “On a day for the history books, @TheAmandaGorman delivered a poem that more than met the moment. Young people like her are proof that "there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it; if only we're brave enough to be it."
Hilary Clinton posted a picture with the poet saying: “Wasn't @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She's promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can't wait.”
An excerpt of Gorman's poem, courtesy of NPR:
"We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,
would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
"And this effort very nearly succeeded.
"But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
"In this truth, in this faith, we trust.
"For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us."
Ahead of her own lauded performance, Gaga said on Twitter that she was praying for a day of peace. "My intention is to acknowledge our past, be healing for our present, and be passionate for a future where we work together lovingly," she added.
Country singer Brooks, a Republican, took off his black Stetson hat to sing an a cappella version of "Amazing Grace" and asked Americans at the ceremony and watching at home to sing along with him for the last verse.
"I'm so tired of being divided," Brooks told reporters ahead of the ceremony. Brooks also performed at the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama.
Jennifer Lopez, dressed in white pants and a long matching coat, performed a medley of "This Land is Your Land" and "America The Beautiful," as well as saying part of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish.
The cultural celebrations will continue on Wednesday night with a two-hour special broadcast across six television networks and social media, hosted by the affable "Toy Story" actor Tom Hanks, who is known as 'America's Dad.'
The events, bringing together some of the biggest white, Black and Hispanic celebrities, mark a sharp contrast with Trump's inauguration in 2017, which was low on star power and saw several performers declining invitations for inaugural events.
Wednesday's TV special, called "Celebrating America," will feature performances and appearances from around the nation from stars including Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Tim McGraw, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, and John Legend.