Disturbed’s David Draiman on Sam Smith’s Grammys performance: “It’s taking the pop stars to be rock stars these days”

"It was the perfect double-edged sword. I applaud them"

Disturbed frontman David Draiman has praised Sam Smith for taking it for the “next level” with their Grammys 2023 performance.

Smith took to the stage with Kim Petras at the 65th Annual Awards in Los Angeles, California last Sunday (February 5) for a live airing of the pair’s collaborative single Unholy’.

Introducing Smith and Petras, Madonna asked if the audience were “ready for a little controversy”. The duo then delivered a fiery performance, which featured red lighting, pyrotechnics and dancers in metal cages. Smith, meanwhile, donned a hat with red devil horns.


The joint appearance soon caught the attention of conspiracy theorists who believed Smith had been “taken over by demons” at the Grammys.

Republican senator Ted Cruz, meanwhile, is among the numerous right-wing figures to have weighed in. He reposted several strongly-worded quote tweets branding the performance as satanic. “This is… evil,” Cruz wrote on his retweet of a post by conservative commentator Liz Wheeler.

During a recent interview with Baltimore radio station 98 Rock (via Blabbermouth), Draiman said of the live outing and subsequent backlash: “It’s taking the pop stars to be rock stars these days.

“I said it on Twitter after I went ahead and saw [Smith and Petras’] performance, too. It’s, like, nobody can complain that rock is too edgy or pushes the envelope too far for mass broadcasts anymore. You can’t. Sorry.”

Draiman continued: “They definitely took it to the next level; Sam Smith and everybody took it to the next level.”


The singer-songwriter went on to further praise the Grammys’ ‘Unholy’ performance, saying it was “exactly what you need to do” as a live musician to garner a reaction. “That’s what everybody is talking about,” he added.

“[Smith] pushed the envelope. [They] did this [extends middle finger] to the camera for everybody, and knew exactly how to push everybody’s button to make them recognise and piss the people off that [they] wanted to piss off, and make the people that [they] wanted happy, happy. It was the perfect double-edged sword. I applaud [them].”

The Church Of Satan recently responded to the criticism from conspiracy theorists regarding Smith and Petras’ ‘Unholy’ outing.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk (CREDIT: Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Elsewhere, Elon Musk said the performance had “end of days vibes” but added: “If that’s satan, we have nothing to worry about.”

During her speech ahead of Smith and Petras taking to the stage, Madonna said: “Here’s what I’ve learned after four decades in music. If they call you shocking, scandalous, troublesome, problematic, provocative or dangerous, you are definitely onto something.

“I’m here to give thanks to all the rebels out there, forging a new path and taking the heat for all of it. All you troublemakers out there need to know that your fearlessness does not go unnoticed. You are seen, you are heard and, most of all, you are appreciated.”

Sam Smith and Kim Petras went home with the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Grammy for ‘Unholy’ at last weekend’s ceremony. The latter artist, who is the first transgender woman to win that award, paid tribute to the late SOPHIE during her acceptance speech.

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