Perhaps the only thing more predictable to happen at the Grammys this year than the judges once again snubbing Beyoncé for Album of the Year was the inevitable freakout from conservatives over Sam Smith and Kim Petras performing their hit song “Unholy.”

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The song seems to be about a man who’s cheating on the mother of his children, but the Grammy Awards performance involved some fire, a hat with horns, and the color red, so of course the Christian right is calling it “Satanic.”

“I know we on the right probably use the word satanic too often but this peformance [sic] from Sam Smith is literally a tribute to Satan,” wrote former Breitbart writer Ben Kew.

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Artists using imagery that vaguely invokes Satan or the concept of Hell is extremely common, and has happened before at many public performances at awards shows and important sports games and so on. So far, none of them have appeared to result in the world falling to the Prince of Darkness, though it’s likely that some far-right Christians have differing opinions on that.

Then again, if the world has already fallen, what’s one more tribute to Satan at the Grammys?

The show by Smith and Petras involved some background pyrotechnics with Smith initially dancing surrounded by gyrating girls from The Ring before Petras appears in a cage flanked by women with whips with more demon girls on top of the bars. Smith then dons a top hat with horns, cementing the certainty that people like Charlie Kirk would do the Satanic Panic thing, calling it a “spiritual war.”

Senator Ted Cruz quote tweeted a Liz Wheeler post claiming that “demons are teaching your kids to worship Satan,” not mentioning that the Grammys are not exactly designed to be for children, with the senator calling the performance “evil.”

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To make things all the more terrifying for conservatives perpetually oppressed by things like decorative hats, the act was immediately followed by a “brought to you by Pfizer” message, so now we have a healthy dose of anti-vaxxer fearmongering in the mix.

“Sam Smith’s satanic performance at the Grammy’s ended with a Pfizer commercial,” wrote conservative influencer Robby Starbuck. “You can’t get it more on the nose than that. Pfizer and Hollywood deserve each other.”

It’s actually quite appropriate when you check the song lyrics and realize that what’s going on there is a lot more likely to involve STDs than Satan, but conservatives are against healthcare addressing that problem, too, so it’s all the same in the end.

This kind of performative outrage from conservatives happens at least a few times a year, so we can all rest assured that they’ll have forgotten about this by the next time Lil Nas X does anything. The last time they were ringing the Satan alarm was when someone dug up a photo of Kylie Jenner doing a partnered promotion for her makeup line and a horror film that showed her appearing to be covered in blood.

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*First Published: February 6, 2023, 11:20 am