Sam Smith, Kim Petras Teleport To Hell For ‘Unholy’ Grammys Performance

The duo sang their award-winning hit after making history for the LGBTQ+ community

Sam Smith and Kim Petras are getting hot and making history for the trans and nonbinary community at the 2023 Grammy Awards.

Both pop singers took the Grammys stage on Sunday (February 5) for a devilish duet of “Unholy,” their sultry, Grammy-winning collaboration about a messy extramarital affair. The performance kicked off with an introduction from none other than Madonna, who complimented Smith and Petras for “forging a new path and taking the heat for all of it.” That’s high praise coming from one of pop music’s most revered provocateurs.

With Madge’s blessing established, the cameras cut to Smith, who donned a ruby-red latex jumpsuit, unbuttoned shirt, and stiletto-heeled boots for the occasion. Red-robed worshippers encircled the singer and thrust their bodies as Smith belted “Unholy”’s TikTok-famous chorus.

Sam Smith performs wearing a devilish red outfit at the 2023 Grammys with Kim Petras.

We then caught our first glimpse of a scantily clad Petras, who sang her verse from inside a giant cage. As if that weren’t scandalous enough, she was surrounded by an entourage of corseted dominatrixes, Drag Race stars Violet Chachki and Gottmik, and backed by jaw-dropping, hell-inspired pyrotechnics. (So that’s what Smith and Petras meant by “Daddy’s getting hot”!)

Midway through the number, Smith also accessorized with a rhinestone-studded cane and devil-horned top hat. The satanic imagery was a fitting send-off for a performance that surely made some religious (or anti-LGBTQ+) viewers clutch their pearls.

Earlier in the evening, “Unholy” won Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, beating out the likes of Camila Cabello and Ed Sheeran (“Bam Bam”), Post Malone and Doja Cat (“I Like You”), and ABBA (“Don’t Shut Me Down”). While accepting the Grammy, Smith passed the mic to Petras, who noted the deeply personal significance of their historic win.

“Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award because I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” she began to rapturous applause. “I just want to thank all of the incredible trans legends before me who made this possible.”

Petras shouted out her mother, who supported her when she first came out as trans, and Madonna, one of her early inspirations. She also thanked her late friend Sophie, a visionary hyperpop artist and producer who died tragically two years ago. “Sophie told me this would happen,” she said, tearing up. “Thank you, Sophie.”

Smith is hardly a stranger to the Grammys stage. The British singer took home four Grammys in 2015 after the worldwide success of their debut album, In the Lonely Hour. (We’ll see if Gloria, their just-released fourth album, reaches similar acclaim.) That year, they also became the first openly gay artist in Grammys history to win Best New Artist.

Petras made her Grammys debut this year, although the German-born artist has been releasing certified bops for years. The “Future Starts Now” singer gave us bubblegum-pop realness at the MTV Video Music Awards late last year. 

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