Petras earlier said she was the first transgender woman to win in the category of best pop duo/group performance.
Kim Petras and Sam Smith, who won the 2023 Grammy award for best pop duo/group performance for “Unholy,” performed the song at Sunday’s show.
Madonna introduced the performance with a monologue about what she’s learned about rebellion and being a troublemaker after her four decades in the music industry, noting that an artist is doing something right if they’re being called provocative.
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.”
Petras also thanked her mother for the vital role she played in her personal journey.
“I grew up next to a highway in nowhere-Germany, and my mother believed that I was a girl,” Petras said. “And I wouldn’t be here without her and her support.”
The “brrr” singer reflected on the significance of her win backstage.
“All these years are going through my head of people saying I would be a niche artist and my music would only be played in gay clubs,” Petras said. “I hope kids who saw this, who feel they don’t belong and don’t have a place in society, feel inspired that you can be yourself and get rewarded for your talent.
Petras’ “Unholy” collaborator Smith, who identifies as nonbinary, recently caused a stir with their other song “I’m Not Here to Make Friends.” A music video for the song includes scantily clad dancers gyrating on beds and under streams of water.
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