See Kesha Perform Canceled Billboard Music Awards Cover with Ben Folds
The two singers joined forces Wednesday night in L.A.
Kesha joined Ben Folds on stage Wednesday night at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, for an emotional cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me, Babe.”
The 29-year old singer was set to perform the song at this weekend’s Billboard Music Awards, but her ongoing legal battle with Dr. Luke and his record label Kemosabe Records barred her from taking the stage.
Kesha’s tender performance came during the encore of Folds’ concert – with an introduction by Girls star Lena Dunham.
After her performance, Kesha stayed, joining Folds on “Still Fighting It” and “Rock This Bitch.”
On her Instagram, Kesha thanked Folds for his support.
“Thank u for tonight,” Kesha captioned the post. “Thanks for letting me share your stage, your band, your audience, your humor, your songs. Thanks for believing in me. Thanks for being a positive and encouraging human in my life. Thanks for ur records that got me through high school. Thanks for being a genius composer. Thanks for being nice when we work together. Thanks for letting me play a Bob Dylan cover with you. Thanks for being a good friend in this scary business . [You’re] an A-class gentleman.”
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The singer’s evening out with Folds came as support and outrage of her canceled BBMA performance were pouring in from fans on social media. Lady Gaga even took to Twitter to express her outrage.
Kesha’s mom got in on the action, condemning the legal system for violating Kesha’s constitutional rights by forcing her to gain permission from Luke in order to perform at the awards show.
“Does Kesha have the right to pursue her happiness? Or did they only mean that for rich men? Do you think that there is one male singer who could ever be ‘not allowed to sing’ on the Billboard Awards by another man??” she wrote on Twitter. “How much more public abuse does my daughter have to take before someone says ‘Enough is enough!'”
PEOPLE reported the singer wrote a letter to Luke on Monday saying that “the performance wasn’t about him at all.” A source told PEOPLE that “he had a full day to consider, but still wouldn’t allow her to perform.”
However, a separate source denied that the statement was ever written and called the letter “an urban myth.”
“I was very excited to perform a tribute to Bob Dylan by singing a cover of ‘It ain’t me, babe’ at the Billboard awards this year,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’m very sad and sorry to say I won’t be allowed to do this. I just wanted to make very clear that this performance was about me honoring one of my favorite songwriters of all time and has never had anything at all to do with Dr. Luke. I was never going to use a picture of him, speak of him or allude to my legal situation in any way.”
The Billboard Music Awards airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC.