Kesha Joins Zedd at Coachella for Surprise Appearance

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella

Kesha performs onstage with record producer Zedd during day 2 of the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Club on April 16, 2016 in Indio, Calif.

These days the Coachella rumor mill operates with as much urgency as the presidential news cycle, so keeping special guests and collaborations a surprise is an almost impossible task. As a result, by Saturday (April 17) afternoon, word had already spread that embattled singer Kesha might make her return to the stage at Coachella with superstar DJ Zedd.

Regardless, the moment was no less powerful when the singer, clad in all black, joined Zedd onstage at the Outdoor Theater to perform the title track from his True Colors album. The massive throng, which stretched out to the middle of the field on both sides, cheered wildly as the Free Kesha movement made it to Coachella.

Bringing Kesha to the stage was the climax to an action-packed set that began at 9:31 p.m. with smoke shooting from the stage as soon as the lights went down. The effects and production kept up a phenomenal pace throughout the set. Within the first 10 minutes Zedd had already shot off smoke, a confetti gun and flames for songs like the opening “Beautiful Now” and his remix of “Rude” from Magic!.

He followed the “Rude” remix with a massive drop that left the DJ and crowd bouncing together as one. The crowd now fully engaged, Zedd got them to sing Hayley Williams’ refrain in the duo’s “Stay The Night" collaboration. 

All of that was a prelude though to the dramatic entrance of Kesha. Even with Kanye West and Seal making guest appearances over the first two days, Kesha’s long-awaited return to the stage was arguably the largest cameo of the weekend; certainly it will be the most talked about. And those who have publicly supported her in her legal battle with Dr. Luke can only hope her Coachella spot was the beginning of her return to the public eye for music rather than court battles. 

Coachella 2016