Sam Smith just outdid their recent “Saturday Night Live” performance with “Unholy” collaborator Kim Petras in a horror movie-inspired performance of the smash hit. Smith started the song in red leather, surround a fleet of dancers that evoked Samara from “The Ring,” before cutting to Petras dancing in a cage, flanked by some dominatrices wearing satanic headgear. Smith also donned a satanic top hat, as huge flames heated up the stage.
Smith and Petras won the Grammy for best pop duo/group performance earlier in the evening, and Petras gave an emotional speech.
“Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award because I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” she said, to cheers and many of the musicians in the crowd giving her a standing ovation. “I just wan to thank all of the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open before me so I could be here tonight. Sophie, my friend who passed away two years ago, who told me this would happen and always believed in me. Thank you so much for you inspiration, Sophie. I adore you, and your inspiration will forever be in my music.”
When asked about the fiery performance backstage, Petras said it was inspired by not feeling accepted by religion.
“I think a lot of people, honestly, have kind of labeled what I stand for and what Sam stands for as religiously not cool, and I personally grew up wondering about religion and wanting to be a part of it but slowly realizing it didn’t want me to be a part of it,” she said. “So it’s a take on not being able to choose religion. And not being able to live the way that people might want you to live, because as a trans person I’m already not kind of wanted in religion. So we were doing a take on that and I was kind of hellkeeper Kim.”
In 2015, Smith won four Grammys, including best new artist, pop vocal album for “In the Lonely Hour,” record of the year and song of the year for “Stay With Me.”
While Petras hid underneath Smith’s fluffy pink dress during part of the duo’s “SNL” performance two weeks ago, the two came on stage together to perform their massive hit. As two queer musicians, the duo has set a historical precedent for the LGBTQ community, after reaching No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for their collaboration.
Smith’s performance Sunday night follows their debut performance at the 2015 ceremony when they sang their Grammy-winning song, “Stay With Me” from their debut album “In the Lonely Hour.”
Although this is Smith’s seventh nomination, Petras has scored her first nod after releasing two studio albums and four EPs, including her latest EP “Slut Pop.” The two were nominated among ABBA for “Don’t Shut Me Down,” Camila Cabello featuring Ed Sheeran for “Bam Bam,” Coldplay and BTS for “My Universe” and Post Malone and Doja Cat for “I Like You (A Happier Song)” for best pop duo/group performance.