Maximum Performance

R. Kelly (Yes, R. Kelly) Joins Phoenix Onstage at Coachella

Lyndsey Parker
Maximum Performance

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photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Saturday at Southern California's Coachella music festival was a day of surprise collaborations, including Solange Knowles lending guest vocals to British indie band the xx's cover of Aaliyah's "Hot Like Fire," and an unbilled John Legend joining Italian DJ Benny Benassi in the dance tent for a performance of their brand-new joint single, "Dance the Pain Away." But there was no Saturday surprise collaboration as truly surprising as the one that took place on the Main Stage during French alt-pop band Phoenix's headlining set, when they were joined by…R&B lothario R. Kelly.

Yes, that R. Kelly. This actually happened.

Gossip had circulated earlier in the day that Phoenix would actually team up Saturday night with fellow Parisians Daft Punk, whose jumbotron-screened album preview trailer was the talk of Coachella Friday. (This was just one of several guest-appearance rumors that ultimately proved unfounded; others rumors included Prince joining Janelle Monae and Snoop Dogg guesting with Major Lazer, neither of which happened. Who starts this gossip, anyway?) However, when a single glittery microphone was brought onstage at the start Phoenix's show, it was clear that there'd be a different sort of cameo this evening.

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Phoenix's Thomas Mars and R. Kelly hug it out [photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images]

And, towards the very end of a stellar set that included Phoenix hits like "Lisztomania," "Too Young," and new single "Entertainment," that sparkly magic mic was rocked by none other than R. Kelly, who came out singing the familiar refrain of his 2003 partystarting smash, "Ignition." Then Phoenix joined in to mash it up with their breakthrough single, "1901." It was utterly, head-scratchingly random, and it shouldn't have worked…but it did work, quite brilliantly, creating what shall henceforth be known as "Ignition (1901 Remix)."

It was the freakin' weekend, indeed, and all Coachella spectators had them some fun watching this.

For more Coachella reportage, check out Yahoo! Music's 2013 Summer Music Guide.

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