Sean Evans has a plum job over at Complex’s First We Feast. For his show Hot Ones, he gets to sit down with celebrities and ask them questions while watching them at some of the hottest sauces on the planet. Before the pandemic, he was doing that live, watching the sweat break out on their brows, and their faces flush red with blood. The pandemic hasn’t ended things, just taken them virtual, and for his latest guest, he had Sam Smith.
It’s important to note that this description is a bit of a conflation. Evans eats the hot wings alongside his guests, all the while maintaining the pace of a pretty heavily researched interview. It’s honestly great stuff. In Smith’s interview for example, Evans asked about what it’s like making music after you become famous given that Smith is a four-time Grammy Award winner who has a new album out tomorrow.
“When you know people are listening, it can definitely affect what you make in the studio so you have to work really hard to block out the nose, not look left and right,” Smith responded. ”There’s a pressure to make songs that will appeal to many people. A song that I want to make is always going to be just personal about me and my experiences and sometimes that isn’t relatable. But recently I’m really learning when not to cross that line,” they continued later.
One of the singer’s tracks that both Smith and their studio liked the end was "Too Good at Goodbyes." Though the performer wasn’t a fan originally, they recorded it at the label’s request. Once they began to perform it live though, touring it, it slowly became one of their favorites to sing. But it’s not just opinions of their label and fans that they find themself listening to, there’s also Sir Elton John’s opinions, as the two have become friends.
“He’s been this wonderful figure,” Smith said of the performer. “When I’ve done a really bad song he will call me up and tell me ‘This song is awful Sam, you need to do better than that.’ He called me up on my second album and he didn’t like my second album title. He’s really really honest with me.” That’s honestly all you can ask for in an icon.
On the wings front, Smith was intimidated pretty quickly.
“Is this number 4?” they said after a sample that was probably only about halfway through the segment. “I’m scared, I’m scared.” Those fears were materialized in an eye-watering, hacking cough episode later on in the clip, after Smith tried the Da Bomb Beyond Insanity sauce.
“Awe that was horrible,” they said through coughs and downing any beverage they could get their hands on. “That can’t get worse.” There were a few more breaths before “Oh my god, my nipples.”
Of the sauces, Smith favored Shaquanda’s West Indian Curry. But the Beyond Insanity? “If you see this right now do not put this in your mouth! It’s horrible.”