By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK – John Legend, Billie Eilish, Common and Billy Porter are among the musical artists who will perform at next week’s Democratic National Convention, officials said on Friday, while billionaire former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg will get a prime-time speaking slot.
The new names rounded out the schedule for the four-day event, which begins on Monday. The largely virtual affair, where Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be nominated as the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates, has been dramatically scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But Democrats are still hoping a star-studded lineup of speakers and singers will recapture some of the festive air that the convention boasts in more typical years, when tens of thousands of the party faithful fill an arena. The Chicks, the Texas band that recently changed its name from the Dixie Chicks amid a national reckoning on race, will also perform.
The party’s leading lights – including former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton – will all speak in prime time.
Bloomberg, a late addition, will speak on one of the nights, though the schedule has not yet been finalized, according to a source familiar with the programming, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The former New York City mayor, who spent $1 billion of his own money on his abbreviated campaign, has vowed to spend heavily to defeat Trump, though he has not yet announced any specific plans.
Several other former contenders for the nomination will also appear, as the party seeks to present a unified front ahead of the Nov. 3 election pitting Biden against Republican President Donald Trump. The list includes Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Former Vice President Biden will speak on Thursday, the convention’s final night, while Senator Harris will do so on Wednesday.
Trump will accept his party’s nomination for a second four-year term the following week at the Republican convention. The Republican Party has not yet released a detailed schedule.
Trump is expected to deliver an address on Aug. 27, and has suggested he will do so from the White House, despite objections from some Democrats and ethics experts about using the official presidential residence to stage a partisan event.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; editing by Jonathan Oatis)