by Koh Hui Xin
Kesha, formerly Ke$ha, made a statement at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony when she sang “Praying”, a slow ballad about overcoming adversity. Her performance, joined by Cyndi Lauper and Camila Cabello, amongst others, was one of the most talked-about topics of the night. Although Kesha’s emotional performance sent across a powerful message that resonated with the Time’s Up movement, we cannot help but grit our teeth at the bad vocal delivery.
Kesha’s performance struck a chord because of the long legal battle she has had with her longtime producer, Lukasz Gottwald, better known as Dr. Luke. She had sued him in 2014 for sexually, physically, and emotionally assaulting her. Dr. Luke then filed a countersuit against her, claiming breach of contract and defamation. Ultimately, Kesha’s request to be released from her recording contract was denied. While she has dropped her initial lawsuit against him, the countersuits by Dr. Luke still stand.
Many netizens felt that Kesha deserved a Grammy for her compelling performance, which they described as “empowering”, “heartfelt and emotional” with lyrics that made them “feel her pain on some of the experiences in her life.”
However, her personal story aside, there is nothing else about the performance really worth talking about. Take out the supporting singers and you will hear Kesha alternate between hollering and whining throughout the song. She went out of tune multiple times, lacked breath control, and did not hit the high note the studio version featured.
Here is what some netizens had to say about her performance:
Yes, we understand that she was emotional while singing. Yes, we understand that she might have went through years of abuse. However, that does not discount the fact that it was a downright bad musical performance. While we support Kesha as a person, as a singer… maybe not.
Maybe it is time for her to get a new job?