Donald Trump's campaign committee just blew a fortune on an act that was supposed to perform for free, but ended up costing millions.
It all started out as a favor to Trump, courtesy of Vegas mogul Steve Wynn. The Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas has a house act -- ShowStoppers, which performs Broadway songs and old hits.
Wynn flew the group out to D.C. for a performance at Tuesday's Chairman's Global Dinner. Wynn donated a million dollars to the Inaugural Committee to cover all the costs, or so he thought.
Turns out there are all sorts of huge production expenses ... all tolled, the bill came to over $2 million. It sounds crazy, but our Inaugural Committee sources say the Committee had to pay the additional costs, which was over a million.
It's ironic ... Trump passed on a Hall of Fame Rock & Roll band because they demanded a million bucks.
Drew Carey, of all people, narrowly missed inhaling pepper spray fumes, burning signs and violent protesters Thursday night.
We literally bumped into "The Price Is Right" host when he casually walked through the massive anti-Trump rally going down in Washington, D.C. -- where things had taken a violent turn shortly before he arrived. Great timing on his part.
Drew wasn't there for political reasons -- he doesn't have a dog in the fight, and explained why this was more of a family trip for him.
He is doing something inauguration related though on Friday, but he's not expecting any trouble.
Donald Trump just took the stage at a big inauguration dinner -- called out Pats owner Robert Kraft in the crowd -- and told him not to worry this weekend because Tom Brady's gonna crush the Steelers.
It all went down Thursday night in D.C. -- Trump also said Brady called him to congratulate and told him he "feels good" for the playoff game.
Of course, Trump and Brady are tight and have been for years. Trump also gave props to Bill Belichick.
Jackie Evancho has the biggest performance of her life Friday, but she's still got the pipes to sing for Donald Trump Thursday night.
Sources close to Jackie tell TMZ ... she was asked by the Inaugural Committee to surprise the Prez-elect at the black tie candlelight dinner tonight at Union Station. We're told they specifically wanted her to sing one of Trump's fave songs -- "Nessun Dorma."
Jackie obliged, and our sources say she'll also sing "The Lord's Prayer" and "Somewhere."
Here's the crazy part -- Jackie won't take the stage 'til 9:30 PM, and she has to be up by 6 AM Friday to start getting ready to sing the National Anthem at the inauguration.
We're told her team is doing its best to keep her voice on lockdown tonight by making sure she doesn't talk much, and also giving her lots of tea and honey. They have B12 shots standing by if needed.
TMZ broke the story ... Jackie's committed to singing live at the inauguration, so this is risky business ... but ya can't turn down the President, right?
The legendary actor thanked his "over-rated" friends and read some potential tweets to expect from The Donald later tonight ... good stuff.
The star-studded affair's a clear counter to the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration going down in front of Washington D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial.
Members of the Directors Guild of America who are working on TV coverage of the inauguration and related events tell TMZ they are being threatened by someone who has sent word out to everyone in the org ... you do anything Trump-related and you're in big trouble.
Several DGA members forwarded us an email written by a member and received by at least 66 DGA members. The author never disclosed his name, but the people we've spoken to say they're almost certain it's a DGA member in a position to hire other members. They've identified the person to us but we cannot independently confirm he's the author.
The email calls Trump "the monster we all fear." It goes on, "It is not an overstatement that he is about to destroy this country if we don't do something about it."
Then comes the threat ... "There is no need of naming names when the Inaugural credits will tell us enough about the people who truly care about this country and those who don't share the same ideals."
And there's another email from a second anonymous DGA member that supports the initial email author, saying, "I often feel like saying, 'If you work on the inaugural, you're an asshole. If you work on the inaugural and you voted for Bozo the Nazi, you're an asshole, AND an idiot!' But I didn't say that, did I?''
One member on the email chain angrily told us, "It feels like McCarthyism."
The emails were sent between January 6th and January 10th.
At least one DGA executive received the email chain on January 7th. We're told the DGA has not reached out to the members about the emails.
We reached out to the DGA ... so far, no comment.
The DGA just gave us a statement ... "This is a DGA-covered project, staffed with DGA-represented employees. We have been in communication with our members, and let them know we support their right to work on this project, and intend to protect them fully. We have, and will continue to, investigate the source of this anonymous email."
The Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration concert just went down in front of Washington D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial, and it also went out with a bang ... literally.
Country star Toby Keith, rockers 3 Doors Down, DJ Ravidrums and classical crossover act The Piano Guys performed Thursday, as did soul signer Sam Moore ... along with several military bands and acts.
The concert finished off with a massive firework show, and the Trump family at the top of the stairs ... no hiccups in sight. A good way to kick things off for Inauguration 2017.
Of course, the former Indiana hoops coach is a massive Trump fan -- and even stumped for him along the campaign trail.
Now, he's in D.C. for the inauguration and he's as passionate for Donald as ever.
He even thinks Trump could've played basketball for the Hoosiers ... telling TMZ Sports, "I'd have to check whether he could shoot or not but he could sure as hell play defense!"
"And he would be able to WIN because of what a great defensive player he would be."
People looking to make a quick buck hawking Donald Trump t-shirts or even those smoking weed at Friday's inauguration can rest easy, because there's a good chance D.C. cops will look past them.
Law enforcement sources tell us they have so many concerns before, during and after the inauguration -- primarily security and crowd control -- they are not going to sweat the small stuff.
We're told cops in the nation's Capital generally do crack down on people who hawk merchandise on the street without a permit and they will also usually cite weed smokers.
The stakes for smoking weed in public are pretty high ... worst case scenario 2 months in jail.
So, smoke 'em if you got 'em.
The Prez-elect and his whole family -- all of his kids, their spouses, his grandkids -- plus various aides just walked off a military jet (Air Force One is still at least a day away) at Andrews Air Force Base.
They've got a busy day ahead -- the traditional wreath-laying ceremony and then the Make America Great Again Welcome Concert.
Then there's something happening Friday, or so we hear.
Ellen DeGeneres is sticking to her guns, and that means NOT falling in line with the growing number of celebs who think it's time to at least give the Prez-elect a chance.
We got Ellen and wife Portia de Rossi out at Madeo ... after Ellen's record-setting win at the People's Choice Awards. She was in a celebratory mood -- right up until we asked if she was planning to watch the inauguration.
Sorry, Brian Littrell ... Ellen's not down with your program.
Sources close to the singer tell TMZ ... Jackie will sing the national anthem LIVE when she steps up to the mic Friday.
You'll recall Beyonce got roasted 4 years ago for lip-syncing, a custom which has been followed by those who sang before her ... in no small part because it's hard to sing in frigid weather.
We're told Jackie has never lip-synced a performance and it's out of the question for her to break tradition for the most important performance of her life.
Jackie had a run-through with the Marine Corps Band Wednesday and her big rehearsal goes down Thursday.
She will prerecord the song, but it will only play if she gets sick and physically can't pull it off.
And, the song is notoriously a minefield for singers who forget the words, so the lyrics will appear on the teleprompters, but we're told that's not at Jackie's request. We're told she's done the song a hundred times, and has it nailed.
3 Doors Down isn't necessarily rocking for Donald Trump ... they're rocking for America, dammit!!!
We got frontman Brad Arnold leaving rehearsal at the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday night, and he clearly has no reservations about playing Thursday night's Make America Great Again event ... for which the band got a ton of backlash.
Brad's got no shame in the game.
We got Brian at LAX Wednesday and he proclaimed unwavering support for Trump and was optimistic as hell.
Brian also says the Inaugural Committee approached the Backstreet Boys and asked them to perform, but it wasn't meant to be. He explains why.
Cops working Donald Trump's inauguration are prepped to handle mass arrests and avoid chaos in the jails ... and their secret weapon is the mobile booking station.
Law enforcement sources tell us the city will be littered with mobile booking stations where officers can book, issue citations and release demonstrators they arrest.
As we reported, there are new laws in D.C. that protect peaceful protests, and we're told local cops have been schooled on allowing demonstrations and not moving in too quickly.
Here's the rub. If violence erupts, all bets are off. Crimes of assault, battery and worse will almost guarantee a ride to jail, so lockup facilities could easily become overloaded.
The city will be swarming with law enforcement from various jurisdictions who will focus on crowd control and security. The National Guard will be 5,000 strong and they'll be joined by 3,000 cops.
Donald Trump's biker buddies are pumped for inauguration Friday, but want to make it clear ... they're not violent outlaws looking for trouble.
Bikers for Trump founder Chris Cox tells TMZ ... his crew is organizing the unofficial 58th inauguration "halftime show" -- which goes down while Trump's lunching with Congress -- and they have quite the show planned. Think Hendrix, bagpipes and patriotism.
Cox says he's expecting a safe event and peaceful transition of power, and dismisses naysayers who think BfT is showing up to intimidate protesters.
Still, he warns they won't punk out if stuff goes down.