Sam Smith collaborator Kim Petras makes Grammys history with transgender win

The duo took to the stage together at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
The duo took to the stage together at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

Sam Smith handed the floor to collaborator Kim Petras as the duo celebrated her becoming the first transgender woman to win best pop duo/group performance at the Grammys.

Their chart-topping collaboration Unholy claimed the gong on Sunday night with German vocalist Petras thanking other trans performers who came before her.

“Sam, I love you so much and this song has been such an incredible journey for me,” she said after they took to the stage.

65th Annual Grammy Awards – Show
Kim Petras accepts the award for best pop duo/group performance alongside Sam Smith (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

“Sam graciously wanted me to accept this award because I am the first transgender woman to win this award,” she added, prompting a standing ovation from parts of the audience.

Petras also thanked the “transgender legends” who had “kicked open the doors”.

She also mentioned Madonna, saying “I don’t think I could be here without Madonna”, and her mother, as she accepted the gong at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

The pair later took to the stage to perform Unholy live, following an introduction from Madonna herself, who hailed the “the rebels out there” while brandishing a whip.

Sam Smith performs Unholy at the 65th annual Grammy Awards
Sam Smith performs Unholy at the 65th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Smith wore a top hat featuring devil horns while Petras performed in a cage and both sported crimson outfits.

Earlier in the night the duo drew attention on the red carpet in matching red ensembles.

Smith wore a floor-length scarlet coat with oversized collar which they paired with a top hat and cane, while Petras opted for a mini-dress and matching red heels.

They were also accompanied by Gottmik and Violet Chachki, from RuPaul’s Drag Race, who appeared in their music video.

65th Annual Grammy Awards – Arrivals
Sam Smith and Kim Petras on the red carpet (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

It crowns a successful week for Smith after the singer, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, scored their third number one with Gloria.

They previously said the album “feels like a coming of age” and helped them “through some dark times”.

Gloria has attracted mixed reviews with the NME giving it four stars and hailing it as “the most surprising, satisfying and vital work of their career”, while The Times offered only two and argued that Smith too often resorts to “cliche” to tell their story.

The Stay With Me singer also prompted an online backlash this week after releasing the risque music video for recent single I’m Not Here To Make Friends, in which they wore a corset and nipple tassels while performing a suggestive routine with scantily-clad dancers.

The video has been criticised by some as oversexualised, while fans of the singer have said they are a victim of double standards due to them being queer and larger in size.