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After coming under huge pressure from his fans on social media, Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli has decided not to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, which will take place one month from today after his victory was rubber-stamped by the Electoral College on Monday.
The Italian tenor had reportedly been courted by Trump in person last week after a performance at Madison Square Garden in New York, and was said to be pondering the offer.
Trump is known to be a huge fan of the blind singer, and has previously booked Bocelli to perform at a private party at his club in Florida.
However, under pressure from a backlash by his fans on social media, Bocelli has now stepped back from the proposed performance.
Page Six reported Tuesday evening that Bocelli would no longer be performing, with a source telling the column: “Bocelli said there was no way he’d take the gig... he was ‘getting too much heat’ and he said no.”
However, Page Six also suggested that the president-elect had a hand in the decision, adding that another source said: “Trump suggested to Bocelli he not participate because of the backlash. It’s sad people on the left kept him from performing on a historic day.”
The withdrawal of Andrea Bocelli, who became blind at the age of 12 following a football accident, leaves a gaping hole at the heart of the inauguration, however, he had little choice, with fans taking to social media to protest his participation and the hashtag #BoycottBocelli gathering steam.
The inaugural committee announced last week that Jackie Evancho, a runner-up on America’s Got Talent five years ago, will be singing the national anthem at the ceremony.
She has received abuse for taking the gig. “My family is kind of a big target,” Evancho told People last week.
Inauguration events in years past have been star-studded affairs, with performances from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ethel Merman, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Jessica Simpson, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, and Beyoncé—who was famously caught lip-syncing the national anthem.