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Sam Smith’s “Satanic” Grammy Performance Causes Stir

Awards shows have been hemorrhaging viewers for years. In an attempt to elevate the shows back into relevancy, the entertainment industry seems to be doubling down on the very elements that drove viewers away in the first place.  

Singers Sam Smith and Kim Petras got people talking about the Grammys with a blatantly Satan-inspired performance of their hit song “Unholy.” The duo went on to win the Grammy for Best Pop Duo.

During the performance, Smith wore devil horns, and dancers dressed in red garments surrounded him in a ritualistic circle. Flames and pyrotechnics ignited behind them. The decadent performance also featured Petras gyrating in a cage, encircled by dancers wearing leather outfits and wielding whips. The stage was colored by dark red lighting. 

The song itself, “Unholy,” contains lyrics about a husband who repeatedly leaves his wife and kids behind to indulge in extramarital sexual encounters:  

“Oh-ee-oh-ee-oh, he left his kids at

Ho-ee-oh-ee-ome, so he can get that

Mummy don’t know daddy’s getting hot

At the body shop, doing something unholy.”

As expected, the performance caused an immediate stir online (as was undeniably the point). Yet, like most attempts at boundary-pushing art, the spectacle is part of what is quickly becoming a tired trend. The Grammys performance was reminiscent of Lil Nas X’s music video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” which also embraced a Satanic aesthetic and focused on indulging sexual desires. That video was accompanied by the controversial release of a limited quantity of “Satan Shoes,” featuring Satan-themed branding and a drop of real blood.  

With or without the Devil cosplay, these types of performances represent an open rebellion against traditional Christian values and sexual ethics. Such rebellion is far from novel but inevitably becomes a talking point when executed on a public platform as big as the Grammys.

If there is any silver lining for Christians, it’s that such provocative displays have driven the awards ceremony to record-low viewership in recent years. While members of the entertainment industry continue to double-down on raunchy and degrading performances, it seems there is only a dwindling audience sticking around to watch it.

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