Inside Sam Smith’s Intimate Karaoke Party with Alicia Keys and Kim Petras

“We’re here to celebrate the new album,” drag legend Lady Bunny tells a crowd assembled at Julius, New York’s oldest continuously operating gay bar. “The old album!” someone quickly shouts. The crowd had assembled for an intimate karaoke-themed soiree to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Sam Smith’s debut album, In The Lonely Hour. Smith is making the rounds in a plaid kilt and platform boots that makes them just about the tallest person in the bar. Rumored boyfriend, the designer Christian Cowan, is in that viral Loewe sparkly blue shirt.

Only a few volunteers have the courage to actually perform. One person is a bit nervous about having to sing in front of Smith. (Though we’d be more worried about having to sing in front of the acid-tongued Lady Bunny, but she’s surprisingly nice.) “Clap for them, it’s not like they’re getting paid,” she tells the crowd. Well, mostly nice. “We’re going to take a little DJ break,” she adds. “Unfortunately, I’m the DJ and my DJing is about as good as the singing you just heard.”

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Influencer Dylan Mulvaney walks in wearing a sparkly Alice + Olivia mini-dress. Later in the night, Kim Petras, Smith’s duet partner on “Unholy,” appears in full Miu Miu. Uptop she’s dressed like a chic sophomore pulling an all-nighter during finals week, wearing glasses, a hoodie, and carrying a logo plaque Miu Miu handbag. Down below, she’s only wearing the brand’s statement Speedo-cut bikini bottoms. Appropriate for an artist whose last project was titled Slut Pop Miami.

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Brendan Cook for BFA
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Brendan Cook for BFA

We were hoping Smith themself would pop on the mic for a bit of karaoke. Perhaps a singalong classic like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” or something a bit more au-currant like Charli XCX’s “360.” It turns out they had something more special planned.

After a bit of crowd-control work on Bunny’s part, Alicia Keys appears in a black crop top and cargo jeans. She finds her way behind the piano and duets with Smith on “I’m Not The Only One.” Suddenly, the tiny bar is a sea of phone screens switched to camera mode. Ten years later, Smith isn’t so lonely anymore.

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Brendan Cook for BFA
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Brendan Cook for BFA

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