Some of the performers at tonight’s White House tribute to Motown don’t seem to have much obvious connection to Motown. But they do have a connection: to Obama.
Tonight’s East Room event is titled, “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House – a Thank You from the Obamas to Their Supporters.”
OK, actually, it’s only titled, “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House,” but that hardly seems to do the event justice.
Let’s start by wondering what white teen idol Nick Jonas is doing on the line up.
I can’t say I’m completely familiar with Mr. Jonas’s ouvre, but what I’ve heard of it sounds like standard teeny bopper stuff to me.
It would seem he has as much connection to Motown as Lawrence Welk. But it turns out his band, the Jonas Brothers, sang at a celebration of Obama’s inauguration.
It appears the Obamas have been carefully cultivating this megastar. Many of the delirious fans he’s had over the last few years, of course, will be of voting – and canvassing – age in 2012.
Nick Jonas, who has diabetes, has joined Michelle Obama’s “Lets Move” anti-childhood obesity campaign. The Obamas even forced him to play ping pong with their daughters.
Okay, I’m sure it was a friendly, spontaneous pickup game.
And what exactly is Sheryl Crow doing on tonight’s bill? Her music is somewhat bluesy, but Motown it ain’t.
Well, she’s been in the tank for Obama for a long time, even supporting him in the Democratic caucuses over Hillary Clinton.
She sang at his inaugural, helped him raise money for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and contributed a track to the Obama celebration CD, “Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement,” which also featured Lionel Ritchie, Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, and John Legend. The album was sold by the Obama campaign to raise money and is STILL for sale on the website of Organizing for America, Obama’s grassroots outfit.
John Legend, by the way, will also be appearing tonight.
As will Natasha Bedingfield, the white British chart topper who also has little obvious connection to Motown, though she’s a big Obama supporter. She appeared on the “Yes We Can” video, and she sung at a concert to celebrate his award of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Another British Singer Seal, who lives in the United States, has a more soulful cast than most of the rest Obama backers appearing in the East Room tonight.
So do lots of singers. But Seal distinguished himself with his vow to scoop up wife Heidi Klum and leave the United States if John McCain was elected.
And he said Obama inspired him to write a song.
A big hat tip to several astute White House Dossier readers who first pointed out to me that some of tonight’s performers didn’t seem very Motown-friendly.