To introduce Sam Smith and Kim Petras‘ Grammy-winning “Unholy,” which earlier on Sunday (Feb. 5) took the Grammy for best pop duo/group performance, Madonna gave a stand-out speech about being daring, provocative, controversial and dangerous in music, deeming it all to be a sign that an artist is doing something important – if not “a bit unholy.”
Smith and Petras then performed a red-hot rendition of their Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Unholy.” Smith opened the set — stunning in latex thigh-high platforms — on the circular center stage, surrounded by dancers who looked fresh off the set of The Ring. They then turned it over to Petras for her verse, which she performed on the main stage in a cage as flames burned brightly behind her.
When the cameras returned to Smith, they were donning a red top hat with horns, which, in addition to the whips and latex, played into and poked fun at the naysayers. (Host Trevor Noah later joked on a fake phone call to his mother, “No, that was not the devil.”)
“Unholy” became each artist’s first Hot 100 chart topper. Petras made even more history on Grammys night, becoming the first transgender woman to win the award for pop duo/group performance. During her speech, she thanked Madonna for “fighting for LGBTQ rights,” her mother “who believed me that I was a girl” and the late artist-producer SOPHIE, a dear friend.
“[SOPHIE] told me this would happen and always believed in me,” Petras said during her acceptance speech. “Thank you so much for your inspiration, Sophie. I adore you, and your inspiration will forever be in my music.”