Kesha performed a Bob Dylan cover at the BBMAs: stunning & emotional?


For more than a week, there was a crazy back-and-forth about Kesha performing at the Billboard Music Awards. The producers were talking to Kesha directly, and I got the feeling they were negotiating on her behalf with Dr. Luke so that she could perform. At first, Kesha was scheduled and there were no problems. Then Dr. Luke’s label said she couldn’t perform because reasons. Then Dr. Luke agreed to “allow” Kesha to perform but only if she didn’t try to throw shade. So what we got was a muted-seeming Kesha. She wore this vintage Nudie suit, which she said was a tribute to Prince and Bob Dylan (as in, this is the kind of suit Bob Dylan wears regularly). And her performance was a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It’s Ain’t Me Babe.” Here’s the performance:

I’ve always liked Kesha’s raspy voice, and I genuinely think this was a great cover of the Dylan song. I love that the audience gave her a well-deserved standing ovation, and I hope this is the watershed moment in the new phase of Kesha’s career. Free Kesha.


Ariana Grande in Versace. I like the dress, I just think her styling is off.


Keke Palmer in a liquidy House of Harlow dress. Again, I like this dress but I think the styling is off. The hair is too high and too tight. Everything is too tight, actually.


Meghan Trainor is the reason I switched off the BBMAs and watched the tail end of last week’s episode of Game of Thrones again. I saw that she was about to perform “No” and I absolutely loathe that song, so I tapped out. Her dress was Michael Costello and it’s totally boring.


Idina Menzel & Laverne Cox both wore Michael Costello too. I think Laverne is overdressed for this show, although I think that’s a consistent problem for her mostly because she just LOVES to get all gussied up. Idina’s dress is a snooze.



Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

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62 Responses to “Kesha performed a Bob Dylan cover at the BBMAs: stunning & emotional?”

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  1. JRenee says:

    Free Kesha!

    • Imqrious2 says:

      My nephews saw her with Ben Folds the Wednesday before the awards, and tried to convey to me how awesome it was. When I saw her last night, I got goosebumps. Her cover was perfect, from outfit to voice to the simplicity of the accompaniment. GO KESHA!!

      HOW, in this day and age, can a man “ALLOW” a woman to do ANYTHING??? WAKE THE F#%K UP JUDGE!!

      FREE KESHA NOW!! 🗣🗣🗣

  2. Locke Lamora says:

    That performance was beautiful. God, that asshole of a person had to “allow” her to perform? What a sad world we live in.

    Laverne is overdressed but she looks amazing. So very pretty.

  3. INeedANap says:


    It’s totally normal for a manager who did not abuse you to try and prevent you from appearing or speaking in public. Sure.

    I hope the judge in her case wakes up in cold sweats all week.

  4. roxane says:

    I love Ariana Grande’s dress but on her it’s ridiculous.
    And yes, FREE Kesha

    • here's Wilson says:

      Agreed about A Grande. I love the dress. I just simply cannot stand ANYTHING about her…her look, her sound, nothing. I think she’s a tiny whiny bitch…the kind of chick I’d like to slap in the face.

  5. Luca76 says:

    Kesha’s performance was amazing. FREE KESHA!!!

  6. outhousecat says:

    I can honestly say I’ve never heard Kesha perform before (I’m old, what can I say?). But this was so incredibly soulful and beautiful. Whoever that a-hole is that’s trying to ruin her life should be ashamed. And I love her Porter Wagner get-up. This girl’s got it going on all around.

  7. Lisa says:

    Ariana always looks a little off to me anyway. Ha @ tapping out for Megan Trainer. I know we’re “supposed” to like her for her positive body image message, but I just can’t seem to like her or her music.

    • Erinn says:

      Meh, don’t feel bad. She’s not very good at the body positive image thing, anyway. Between shaming skinny girls, and then ‘magically’ losing a bunch of weight to cash in on her main stream success, I don’t think she’s all that body positive.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        Jesus, the shaming skinny girls was one line which was followed by “I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat”. I’m so tired of her being shaded for that one line all the time, and I don’t even like her. And it wasn’ t even that horrible.

        Poor skinny people, having it so hard in today’s society.

      • Erinn says:

        Locke – my issues with her extend past that line. It’s the case of ‘hey young girls, it’s okay that you’re bigger, but your self worth is still tied into what men think of you’. It’s that while trying to raise up one body type, she feels the need to put another one down. Her whole song is like that.

        And when that’s where you get your main stream fame from, it’s fair criticism.

        Kim still gets ripped for her sex tape that made her famous. Meghan’s annoying songs aren’t limited to “All about that bass”.

        And her interviews really aren’t any better than her songs. She’s a walking contradiction most of the time. I’m HOPING that she will start to realize that, but so far she seems completely confused that people don’t like her schtick.

        And yes, having a very naturally thin friend- skinny girls do get a lot of shade, and it’s just as harming. The constant “go eat something” or whatever “real men like x” quote is being toted around.

      • Kitten says:

        “I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat”.

        lol..yeah, because mocking people with body image issues or eating disorders makes it SO much better.

        And that song sucks not so much because it shames skinny people, but because it’s a sh*tty song and corny as hell. But sure, she’s smart to spin it as some *body-positive anthem* because $$$$.

      • Goldie says:

        @kitten, To be fair, I think the next line after that went something like “Well I’m here to tell you, every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”
        I’m a naturally very skinny person, so I know from experience that skinny-shaming exists. That said, I don’t think that song was shaming anyone, but I don’t think it was empowering either. I agree with Erin that it places too much emphasis on what men find attractive, rather than telling girls to love themselves. And yeah, it’s just a cheesy song.

      • tealily says:

        I’m with you, Erinn. “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night,” therefore you shouldn’t worry about your size is not a very empowering message. But hey, it’s catchy, right?

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        I’m not a fan of Megan Trainor’ s (just because I don’t pay that much attention to her) and haven’t carefully listened to the lyrics of that song. But I didn’t realize she lost weight, because I haven’t seen what she looked like before. I’m still not so sure about the idea that being for body positivity means a person can’t ever (or couldn’t have already) changed anything about their own bodies or still have an insecurity about their looks. Side- eying the person who talks about body positivity but is still getting multiple types of work done, photoshopping their bodies in all of their selfies, and body-shaming other people is understandable, but it doesn’t seem so hypocritical for a person who goes from maybe a size 16 to a size 10 or 12 to talk about body positivity. If she suddenly showed up a size 2, then it would.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        I don’t find the song empowering. I don’t know her interviews. It just annoys me that her shaming skinny people is brought up every single time and I don’t see where it happens.
        “I’m bringing booty back, go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that” – while the use of the word bitch is problematic, I don’t see how this line is shaming skinny people.
        Amd while hearing hurtful comments is hard, I don’t think skinny people feel the institutional shaming fat people do. I don’t want to turn this into “who has it worse”, but fat people have it worse.

      • Erinn says:

        Locke – simple. If you don’t want to turn it into ‘who has it worse’ don’t immediately follow it with ‘but x has it worse’.

        This isn’t about who has it worse. People who ‘have it worse’ don’t get a free pass to put others down to ‘right’ the imbalance.

        She made a boat ton of money off a song where she needs to tell people who are thin that the boys REALLY want the girls with the ‘boom boom’ and ‘all the right junk in all the right place’ and all the while proclaiming that it’s about empowerment when she’s still tying her entire worth into what men think.

        It’s a crap song, with a crap message, and her subsequent interviews haven’t given me anything better to go off of as for her character.

        So I think the criticism is fair, and I’m not basing it off of a single line in a song, but rather everything she’s put forth regarding her image.

    • Susan says:

      I’m old….disclaimer….
      I just miss the days when young females weren’t so focused on being ‘sexy.’ If she really wants to be ‘body positive’ then how about just singing normal songs about crushes and love and breakups and being who she is? To me that would send more of an ‘it doesn’t matter what your size is’ message.

      But again IM OLD. I KNOW.

  8. LA says:

    I wish another label would buy her out of her contract :(

    • manda says:

      YES! I can’t believe that a deal can’t be made, there is money to make, and money being lost. It just doesn’t make sense! (Except for that fact that Dr Luke has made it clear that he’s going to be a douche and he’s not going to not be one)

  9. Frosty says:

    In a related vein of industry rapists getting a free pass, Elijah Wood in the Telegraph claiming child abuse is rampant in Hollywood

    • rosie says:

      I’m so glad you brought up the Elijah Wood story about child abuse in Hollywood. It is so brave of him to speak out, but it is not getting much coverage. I hope there will be a post about the story on Celebitchy soon

      • Frosty says:

        @Rosie – I’m feeling hopeful that attitudes are starting to change — from Stephen Collins, Cosby, Woody Allen — Victims are speaking out more and more and blogs I think are an especially important venue, since the mainstream press seem complicit in maintaining the status quo of silence

  10. Skins says:

    Didn’t see the point in having Kesha out there singing some 50 year old Bob Dylan song. Kind of killed the momentum of the show for me

    • bluhare says:

      Right. Because poetry and lyricism are so old school.

      • smcollins says:

        @bluehare THANK YOU! I mean he’s only one of the most iconic, influential artists of the last 50+ years, but whatever…🙄

      • bluhare says:

        Bob Dylan is one of the best songwriter/lyricists of his generation. Took me a while to appreciate him, but I do now.

      • Colette says:

        I don’t know why people think because someone is iconic everyone wants to hear their music.Merle Haggard,Hank Williams,Johnnie Cash,etc are iconic but I don’t like their music.@Skins said Dylan’s song”killed the momentum of the show for ME”

      • bluhare says:

        I was responding to the “some 50 year old Bob Dylan song” statement. Very patronising and certainly a momentum killer for ME here this morning.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      Yeah, that was a real let down after the musical and lyrical virtuosos such as Fifth Harmony and Nick Jonas.

    • Boxy Lady says:

      A birthday tribute, maybe? Bob Dylan turns 75 tomorrow.

      • SusanneToo says:

        You beat me to it. I bought his first album in May ’62 just before I graduated from HS. I’ll still be listening to Dylan when all of today’s stars are in the “whatever happened to” category.

    • pf says:

      Someone already beat me to it, but it’s his 75th birthday this week. So it’s not just a random choice. Happy Birthday, Bob!

  11. Snowflake says:

    Poor kesha, I believe her. How horrible, she has to still work for that creep who sexually assaulted her.

  12. Neelyo says:

    Ariana Grande looks simultaneously too young for the dress and matronly. Quite a feat.

    On an unrelated note, I keep thinking Brokeback Mountain Awards when I see BBMAs.

    • Lucky says:

      God I love that movie,I really am waiting for another mainstream movie that’s also a great love story but these days we only get either superhero movies or witty comedies and saccharine sweet Lifetime Tv movies.
      Sorry completely unrelated I know but I recently watched the movie and it got me thinking.

  13. Frosty says:

    Double comment, sorry

  14. Alex says:

    Now THIS is an appropriate tribute. Kesha performed in the spirit of Dylan and her vocals were great.
    I saw someone say on twitter that this proved she didn’t need all that synthesizing that Dr. Luke forced her image into. I totally agree. She can do so much more.

    • Livvers says:

      I only know one, maybe two of her hits? I had no idea she had a voice with character!

    • Donna says:

      Agreed. I was never a fan of her other “studio magic” work, but this was incredibly beautiful and showed how truly talented she is. I hope this helps her get away from that rapey jerk.

  15. Falula says:

    Free Kesha!!

    Laverne’s makeup is on point. I agree she’s a little overdone but looks fantastic.

  16. Jade says:

    Heard a bit of Adele in that Kesha performance, but beautiful on her own nonetheless. So refreshing to see this side of her. Free Kesha!

  17. Layla says:

    Kesha was AMAZING. Chills! F that Dr. Luke asshat.

  18. Zuzus girl says:

    I thought her vocals were beautiful, strong yet vulnerable. Very appropriate for a Dylan tribute. I feel for this poor woman.

  19. Mew says:

    Wow, she certainly has come a long way from the trainwreck she used to be. She’s a new woman! You go girl!

  20. anna says:

    kesha’s face changed so much, it makes me sad. she has the standardized l.a. face now, the same lips and nose they all have, from kylie jenner to iggy azealia.

    • me says:

      The lips were the most noticeable. Her performance was the best of the night imo. Her voice is amazing.

  21. tealily says:

    That was lovely. I’ve never heard her sing before. Love love love the red carpet outfit. The performance outfit, less so. And again… what’s up with the hair?

    • Imqrious2 says:

      The bleached, platinum hair is the new trend for summer. It looks so awful and fried. Feh! 😊

  22. Beckysuz says:

    I loved(!!) Kesha’s performance! I had no idea she had such a lovely voice. Her lips were a bit distracting but the performance was great. Glad to see her doing what she loves.

    And Laverne might be overdressed but she looks damn good so who cares?:)

  23. Otaku Fairy says:

    Up until that performance, the only songs I’ve ever heard from Kesha were her auto-tuned pop songs that get played at parties, so I always assumed she was the typical pop star who couldn’t sing. Did NOT know she had a voice like this.

    I really like Keke Palmer’s look. The only things I would change are the shoes and maybe the bangs need to be longer or flatter.

  24. hogtowngooner says:

    Wow that was really beautiful. Simple, soulful and elegant. She just delivered the song in every sense of the word.

  25. elns says:

    I can’t get on the Meghan TRAIN… ha see what I did there? Not her music, not her style, the sequence and big hair should be magnetizing for me but no.
    I do like a catchy Ariana Grande Latte song or 2. She’s kind of pretty in a big eyed small bodied way but it’s the Ponytail. She has become defined by that thing. I think she likes how it makes the angles in her face look, which is nice, but it’s so one tricky pony … tail (ha! I’m on a roll today) that I almost feel sorry for her stylist people. I bet when she mixes it up she allows for the half up/half down ponytail. LOL.

    Kesha’s plight is just sadness itself.

    I don’t care what anyone says. I think Laverne looks the bestest here :)

  26. Teebee says:

    That performance brought tears to my eyes. I hope this is the beginning of a new dawn for her as she slowly disentangles herself from those that control her now. Everyone knows, and they showed their support by standing. She might not be free in the legal sense, but she freed something inside her in that performance, and it can never be caged again. Keep fighting, Kesha.

  27. iheartgossip says:

    At first I thought she was Rebel Wilson. It took guts for her to get up and perform!!

  28. kri says:

    Go Kesha. Let her go, Dr.Loser.

  29. Jayna says:

    One of my favorite albums of all time. Classic. The song is one of my favorites.

    Kesha did a beautiful rendition of it, making it her own, but staying true to the song. Nobody touches Dylan on this song, but Kesha did a beautiful cover of it, very emotional in an understated way and soul-stirring rendition. You could see the audience was completely transfixed listening to her perform that song.

  30. MSat says:

    I don’t know why she didn’t just do music like this in the first place. I really hated her music and persona when she first came out, and had no idea she could actually sing. Those first singles, she just sort of sing-talked with a crapload of auto-tune over her. It was horrible. I mean, she’s not a super great vocalist in this clip, but she does all right.

    If she’d gone this more authentic route instead of teaming up with Dr Luke, her career would be in a whole different place right now. That guy seems like a real piece of trash.