Instead, the Republican National Convention shaped up to be a staid, family-focused affair, with a lineup that features everyday Americans, successful business people, and four of Mr Trump’s five children.
“The plan for the Trump campaign for this convention is to help the American people understand more about Donald Trump the man, not just the candidate that they’ve seen on the campaign trail,” his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, told reporters gathered in Cleveland ahead of the convention’s kick-off.
Instead of featuring “a bunch of Washington politicians”, Mr Manafort said the goal was to focus on ordinary people affected by Barack Obama’s policies, along with friends, employees, and others who have worked with Mr Trump who can talk about his “business acumen and his personal life, his ability to solve problems”.
The speaking schedule offers a heavy dose of Republican insiders, including former presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio.
As for star power, the offerings are unexpectedly dim. There’s Willie Robertson from Duck Dynasty, along with actor Scott Baio, star of Charles In Charge, Joanie Loves Chachi, and Happy Days.
Soap operas get their nods in the form of actor and former Calvin Klein underwear model Antonio Sabato Jr and Kimberlin Brown, a California avocado farmer best known for her roles on The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless.
The programme is designed to present Mr Trump’s agenda, while contrasting it with the approaches of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.
Yesterday focused on security and the risks posed by illegal immigration, with speeches from Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, who was killed in the attack in Benghazi, Libya.
US Marine veterans Mark Geist and John Tiegen, who fought that night, also spoke.
Speaking also was Mr Trump’s wife, Melania, a rare presence on the campaign trail, and his adult children, Ivanka, Don Jr, Eric, and the lesser-known Tiffany.
Mr Trump’s vice presidential pick, Indiana governor Mike Pence, will speak tomorrow.
Mr Trump will deliver his speech accepting the nomination on Thursday.