Ted Cruz Gets Booed, Chris Janson Sings 'Trump Yeah!' & More From RNC Day 3
The Republican National Convention wrapped up its third day in Cleveland, Ohio, on Wednesday night (July 20), and the event once again had Twitter losing its mind. Like Melania Trump on Monday, Ted Cruz sparked heated debate with his speech -- but unlike Melania, Cruz's controversy was all about what he didn't say onstage (more on that below).
In addition to Cruz, Donald Trump's son Eric Trump and running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence took the podium, as did former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, radio personality Laura Ingraham and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, among others.
The night's theme was "Make America First Again," so first things first, let's take a look at the night's biggest moments, in music and beyond.
Ted Cruz Goes Rogue
The big story of Wednesday night's lineup was whether Trump's most bitter rival during the presidential primary would turn a corner and endorse his onetime foe. But when Ted Cruz wrapped up his speech, the crowd erupted in boos realizing he never once urged the RNC crowd to vote for Trump. He only suggested to "vote your conscience" -- wherever that might lead.
After Cruz's non-endorsement, country star Chris Janson joined the house band for an appropriately riled-up version of Tim McGraw's "Truck Yeah" -- replaced, of course, with "Trump Yeah." Janson had the crowd hollering Trump's name after Cruz chose not to say it.
Sweet Caroline… Kennedy?
In a 2007 interview, Neil Diamond revealed that JFK's daughter Caroline Kennedy was the inspiration behind his hit "Sweet Caroline"; he even performed the song at Kennedy's 50th birthday party that same year. So the house band's decision to play the 1969 hit even though it was inspired by America's most famous liberal family was surprising at the RNC -- but it was still a huge hit in Cleveland. (Trump's VP pick Pence did later reference JFK as a childhood hero, along with MLK.)
House band is playing Sweet Caroline. You guys do know that was written about a democrat, right? #RNCinCLE— DJ Clark (@TheDJClark) July 20, 2016
'Born in the USA,' Again
Politicians have been using Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" as a patriotic pump-up jam for decades (including Donald Trump himself, as recently as January), but if you look beyond the chorus, you realize it's not the pro-American anthem it appears to be. Well, the RNC house band worked around that whole "lyrics" issue by only repeating the titular chorus on Wednesday night and avoiding the verses.
Y'all... Y'all.. Y'all know what "Born in the USA" was actually about right?— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze) July 21, 2016
After the house band covered David Bowie's drug-referencing "Station to Station" on Monday, they reached high yet again on Day 3, performing The Who's "Eminence Front," which Pete Townshend has introduced in concert like this: "This song is about what happens when you take too much white powder; it's called 'Eminence Front.'"
Hop on the Speedwagon
REO Speedwagon's "Roll With the Changes," another house band number, has some pretty fitting lyrics for the hopeful President Trump: "So if you're tired of the same old story/ Turn some pages/ I'll be here when you are ready to roll with the changes."
Out of Right Field
The house band broke out a funky, lesser-known treat for the crowd: The Bar-Kays' "Soul Finger," a 1967 soul/funk single that peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.
As Trump joined Pence onstage following his running mate's biggest speech to date, the country theme started by Janson had its fitting conclusion as Rodney Atkins' "It's America" played the hopeful first and second families offstage.