Sam Smith and Kim Petras Just Put Themselves in the Running for Video of the Year With ‘Unholy’ Cabaret Visual – Rolling Stone
Girls, gays, theys: this one is for you. On Friday, Sam Smith and Kim Petras released the sexy, high-production, cinematic video for their song “Unholy,” and it features everything from strippers to burlesque dancers to drag queens.
The Floria Sigismondi-directed visual opens with a woman saying goodbye to her partner after he drops her off at a strange location. The woman then finds a condom-themed invitation to “The Body Shop.” Upon her arrival to said location, she’s escorted to “something unholy:” a clandestine sex club cabaret, where her man often escapes to.
“Lucky, lucky girl,/she got married to a boy like you,” Smith sings. “She’d kick you out if she ever, ever knew/’Bout all the shit you tell me that you do.”
As the song’s bass pounds, Smith, the cabaret’s seeming MC, puts on a sexy, choreography-filled show surrounded by androgynous dancers as RuPaul’s Drag Race faves Violet Chachki and Gottmik, the “bosses” of the cabaret, shine throughout.
Then, as strippers dance in slo-mo on poles, the video transitions to a new reality as Petras arrives in a heart-shaped ring onstage. “Mm, daddy, daddy, if you want it, drop the addy (yeah, yeah)/Give me love, give me Fendi, my Balenciaga daddy,” she sings, before dancing atop a prop car as she throws her diamond jewelry in a Madonna-reminiscent look.
The entire time, the woman’s partner, played by gay porn star Paddy O’Brian, slowly gets dragged onto the stage as he gets sexy in what he thinks is the crowd. The video ends with the woman at the start of the video arriving at the scene of her husband lying in front of a crashed prop car with the words “liar” “cheat” and “shit” in French graffitied on it. (All of this on the stage.)
Upon her arrival, she joins the cast to reveal she’s been part of the show all along. She removes her wig and trenchcoat and the curtain falls. Fin. Now that was a ride. And the visual is a definite contender for the best music video released this year.
“So excited for you to hear this it’s unreal!!!! I’ve never had so much fun making a record, so I hope you can all get weird and UNHOLY to it👅,” Smith wrote on Instagram ahead of the song dropping. “Thank you to the amazing @kimpetras for joining me on the song, loved witnessing your brilliance.”
The duo wrote and made the song in Jamaica during “one of the most glorious creative moments I’ve ever had,” Smith said in a statement, adding they “never had so much fun making a record.”
“It was so cathartic and freeing to experiment like this and throw out the rule book,” they wrote. “This song is about liberating oneself from the clutches of others’ secrets…”
When Smith first teased the song, it quickly garnered over 26 million views on TikTok.
Meanwhile, Petras called herself a “big fan” of Smith, praising their artistry and songwriting. “They really believed in me and encouraged me to be totally myself. I feel so honored that they chose me to be on this song,” Petras said in a statement.
This is Smith’s first release since 2020’s heart-breaking Love Goes, which featured songs like “Dancing with a Stranger” with Normani and “How Do You Sleep?” As for Petras, she released the ever-NSFW Slut Pop earlier this year.
The story was updated on Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. to include the track’s new video.