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Sam Smith & Alicia Keys Perform for ‘In the Lonely Hour’ Anniversary

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At Greenwich Village’s much-beloved gay bar Julius’, a humble crowd of patrons milled around the decades-old establishment, enjoying refreshments and song stylings ranging from late ’70s disco hits to Lizzo and Dua Lipa. Phone numbers were exchanged, flirtations made, jokes laughed at. All in all, it’s a fairly typical night at the local pub. 

That is, until Sam Smith strutted through the bar.

Dressed in a Julius’ T-shirt with a studded belt, plaid skirt and a pair of platform heels, Smith graciously greeted their guests on Thursday evening (June 13), thanking them for joining in on this special occasion — a celebration of their debut studio album, In the Lonely Hour.

Released in late May 2014, Lonely Hour became a cultural phenomenon, boosting Smith from relative obscurity to near-instant star status in a matter of months. The album dominated the Billboard 200 (it debuted at No. 2 and remained on the listing for 372 weeks), spawned three Hot 100 top 10 singles (“Stay With Me,” “I’m Not the Only One” and “Lay Me Down”) and earned Smith four Grammys (for best new artist, record of the year, song of the year and best pop vocal album).

To commemorate their breakthrough’s latest milestone, Smith threw a full-blown karaoke party at Julius’ in honor of their inaugural LP. With performances ranging from Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” to Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” to Beyoncé’s “Texas Hold ‘Em,” participants worked the front of the bar, while drag icon Lady Bunny served as the evening’s emcee. “So far we’ve only got one entrant, and I know y’all don’t want me to get up there and sing,” Bunny chastised early on in the evening. “I don’t sing in the same room where Sam Smith sings!”

Bunny also served as the evening’s DJ, though she underestimated her own abilities after a patron’s rendition of “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. “I’m about as good at DJing as they are at singing,” she cracked with a laugh. But the New York icon proved herself wrong throughout a wide-ranging set, seamlessly weaving between modern hits and classic disco gems, carefully curating her performance to keep spirits high.

“I am obsessed with Lady Bunny,” Smith gushed to a party-goer at one point as they danced along to TLC’s “No Scrubs.”

By 11 p.m., Julius’ was jam-packed with just over a hundred fabulously dressed patrons. Stars such as Dylan Mulvaney and Kim Petras were spotted entering the bar and gleefully greeting Smith, while other patrons sipped on specialty cocktails such as the “Life Support” margarita or the “Good Thing” cosmopolitan.

Then, Bunny announced the evening’s performer, as Sam Smith made their way onto a makeshift stage at the back of the bar alongside R&B icon Alicia Keys. As the crowd screamed for the pair, Smith humbly thanked them for attending before turning to his duet partner. “Thank you to Alicia Keys. This is a dream come true,” they said.

“This is amazing,” she said back, smiling. “Can you believe we never did this before? Except for right now? That’s crazy!”

Launching into Smith’s heartbreak anthem “I’m Not the Only One,” the pair traded verses back in forth as the eager crowd chanted along to the song’s soulful chorus. By the time they reached the track’s tender finale, the two had combined forces with some otherworldly harmonization on the final “and I know, and I know, and I know, and I know” run, much to the audience’s delight.

Bunny put it best as the performance came to a close. “Look at this, the queens of New York,” she declared. “Give it up for them both!”

Watch a clip of Sam Smith and Alicia Keys performing “I’m Not the Only One” below:



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