The performance started with Mendes playing the song solo on a grand piano that looked like it had fire and smoke coming from it, even though it was probably dry ice. Eventually, Cyrus’ silhouette appeared on the stage, he grabbed a guitar and joined her as she proceeded to make the song her own, holding the last note of “In my bloooood.” With light on both of them, they were both dressed similarly, like twins, but even as she sang Mendes’ lines about feeling anxious, she was the picture of confidence.
Mendes is up for two Grammys this year. His self-titled record was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album and his song “In My Blood” was recognized as a potential Song of the Year. Before the broadcast, though, Mendes lost the album nod to Ariana Grande who won for Sweetener.
“In My Blood,” a song about depression, has proven to be a special song for Mendes. In a Rolling Stone cover story, he told a story about how after he’d suffered a panic attack, he found solace in reading tweets from people who’d been moved by the song, such as a woman who’d played it for her daughter in a hospital. “I broke down in my hotel room,” he said. “I started crying, and I was just like, ‘This is why you talk about shit that actually is real.’ I was like, ‘God, don’t ever fucking question the feeling of writing the truth again.'”
Cyrus has only ever been nominated for one Grammy. In 2014, she was up for Best Pop Vocal Album for Bangerz but lost to Sam Smith, who won for his In the Lonely Hour.
Her most recent single was “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart,” a collaboration with Mark Ronson that will appear on his upcoming album; they also covered John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” around Christmastime. Last month, she sang a show-stopping rendition of Temple of the Dog’s “Say Hello 2 Heaven” at a tribute concert to the band’s late singer, Chris Cornell, in Los Angeles. “I fucking wanted to sing this song tonight,” she said. “We love you, Chris. Thank you for bringing us all together like you always have.”