Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ fiery Grammys performance of their hit song “Unholy” was a bit too hot for Ted Cruz. Several conservative figures stormed social media in the aftermath of the performance to detest Smith and Petras for bringing a “satanic ritual” to screens across America. The playful and relatively tame “Unholy” performance featured Smith wearing a hat with devil horns, Petras singing from inside a cage and background dancers wearing red outfits and holding whips.
“This…is…evil,” senator Ted Cruz wrote on social media while sharing a post from conservative political commentator Liz Wheeler, who similarly reacted: “Don’t fight the culture wars, they say. Meanwhile demons are teaching your kids to worship Satan. I could throw up.”
“It’s not surprising to see a satanic ritual at the Grammys,” tweeted right-wing political commentator Matt Walsh. “Satanism is the worship of the self. Much of modern pop music is satanic in this sense. Leftism is satanism. The only change is that now they’re being more explicit about it.”
Walsh added, “Theological satanism is not very common but the worship of the self — what we might call secular satanism — is the predominant religion in our culture and most of the art we produce is meant to preach this gospel.”
“I know we on the right probably use the word satanic too often but this performance from Sam Smith is literally a tribute to Satan,” wrote Human Events editor Ben Kew.
While many conservatives were melting down over Smith and Petras’ performance, the majority of Grammy viewers were celebrating the duo’s historic evening. “Unholy” won the Grammy for best pop duo/group performance, making Petras the first openly transgender woman to win in the category.
“I just want to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open before me so I could be here tonight,” Petras said in her acceptance speech. When asked about the fiery performance backstage at the Grammys, 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,” Petras 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 hell-keeper Kim.”
The “Unholy” win marked Petras’ first Grammy Award.