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Recommended: Conjuring Kesha on Discovery+

Like a campfire ghost story, Kesha's paranormal docuseries playfully jabs at our fears.
  • Kesha and Betty Who. (Photo: Discovery+)
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    Conjuring Kesha Season 1 | Discovery+
    Paranormal Docuseries (6 Episodes) | TV-MA

    What's Conjuring Kesha About?

    Along with her celebrity friends and a variety of "paranormal experts," pop star Kesha visits supposedly haunted locations to see if she can contact spirits.

    Who's involved?

    • Kesha is our genial host, introducing us to the history of each episode's haunted location and giving talking head interviews to explain how each mysterious noise or flickering light makes her feel. She comes to the show after hosting the podcast Kesha and the Creepies, which also dealt with her interest in the supernatural.
    • In each episode, a famous friend tags along to poke around dank basements or dark forests. Her companions include comedian Whitney Cummings, pop singer Betty Who, dance music icon Big Freedia, and supermodel Karen Elson.
    • Each installment also features some kind of expert, from psychics to demonologists to Bigfoot researchers.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    Though it nods toward spiritual enlightenment, Conjuring Kesha is mostly a good-time spookfest, with the creepy sound effects, jump scares, and ominous camera angles you'd expect. Kesha even carries a camcorder at certain moments, so the production can cut to her grainy footage for the maximum Blair Witch effect.

    Which is fine! There's a reason people giggle their way through ghost stories at campfires and slumber parties: It's fun to get creeped out, especially when there's no real danger. And to be clear: Despite Kesha and company's earnest declarations that they're terrified, it's obvious that every aspect of the show is manufactured entertainment. The places Kesha visits advertise haunted tours on their websites and often sell t-shirts with spooky writing. Kesha herself is always in high-fashion outfits and perfect make-up, and nobody wears shoes that are practical for running away from a poltergeist.

    Each of these details make the show more ludicrous and enjoyable. The only false notes come when producers insert teachable moments. In the first episode, for instance, a ghost in an abandoned prison reveals itself to be transgender, which leads to Whitney Cummings giving a tearful speech about how gender oppression is the only thing more terrifying than being locked in a haunted jail. In the second episode, a breezy tale about the phantom in an old theatre gets derailed for a conversation about the Native Americans who were forced off their land so the building could be erected in the 1800s.

    These are important issues that deserve disccussion, but their inclusion here feels forced and a tonal mismatch. Happily, they're only brief diversions, and the show spends most of its time in its lightly eerie wheelhouse.

    Pairs well with

    • Monsterland (Hulu), a decent horror anthology series with some truly exceptional episodes.
    • Lil Jon Wants to Do What?, HGTV's charming home repair show that highlight's the rapper's surprising passion for kitchen renos.
    • Evil Eye (Prime Video), a taut thriller about a woman who thinks her daughter's fiancee is evil.

  • Conjuring Kesha (Season 1)
    Two episodes premiere July 8 on Discovery+. New episode Fridays through August 5.
    Starring: Kesha, Whitney Cummings, Betty Who, Karen Elson, and Big Freedia.

    TOPICS: Conjuring Kesha, Discovery+, Betty Who, Big Freedia, Karen Elson, Kesha, Whitney Cummings