Kesha delivers powerful Grammy performance in nod to #MeToo

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By Tim Stelloh  with NBC News
Image: Kesha at Grammy Awards
Kesha, center, performs 'Praying' as, from left, Bebe Rexha, Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Andra Day and Julia Michaels provide backup vocals.   -   Copyright  Matt Sayles Inivsion/AP

Kesha delivered an emotionally gripping performance of her song "Praying" at the Grammy Awards on Sunday in a nod to the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.

The performance came after fans reacted angrily to the song's loss to Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" in the best pop solo performance category.

Kesha wrote "Praying" amid lawsuits against her former producer, Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald), whom she has accused of sexual and emotional abuse.

Kesha sued Gottwald — who has denied the allegations — in New York State Supreme Court in 2014. A judge threw out the case two years ago.

When "Praying" was released in July, it was the singer's first single since 2014. When the song lost to "Shape of You" on Sunday, observers berated the show, pointing out, among other things, that Sheeran wasn't even there to accept the award.

During the performance of "Praying," Kesha was surrounded by other female singers dressed in white — a symbol of "hope, peace, sympathy and resistance," according to Atlantic Records Chairwoman Julie Greenwald.

After the song, the women collapsed into a group hug as Kesha appeared to wipe tears from her face.