Viewers of the 65th Annual Grammy Awards slammed a performance on Sunday by Sam Smith and Kim Petras as “demonic” over its satanic theme.
The duo, who won the 2023 Grammy award for best pop duo/group performance for “Unholy,” was surrounded by red lights with a fire backdrop.
Smith wore a hat with horns and was encircled by dancers that used “props that had allusions to BDSM themes,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The song “praises Balenciaga,” social media influencer Ian Miles Cheong noted in a tweet that contained a screenshot of the song’s lyrics.
In the song Sam Smith is singing in the clip above, Unholy, he praises Balenciaga. pic.twitter.com/F3gVhNakRj
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) February 6, 2023
Petras, who is a biological male, said after the controversial performance, “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 then slowly realizing it doesn’t want me to be a part of it,” Petras continued. “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, you know, as a trans person, I’m kind of already not wanted in religion.”
The performance faced backlash online where many viewers thought that it went way too far.
“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,” writer Ben Kew tweeted.
Political commentator Liz Wheeler tweeted, “Don’t fight the culture wars, they say. Meanwhile demons are teaching your kids to worship Satan. I could throw up.”
Commentator Robby Starbuck added, “People like Sam Smith who love to mock Christianity and use Satanic themes always think they’re super edgy artists by doing it. In reality it’s not edgy. It’s boring, vile, rehashed shock tactics that Hollywood seals clap for because they’re evil & stupid.”