It may not be nominated for any awards at the 77th British Academy Film Awards, considering it’s 22 years old, but the biggest British film-music sensation of 2023 will nonetheless be present at the Feb. 18 BAFTAs, as Sophie Ellis-Bextor will perform her resurgent hit “Murder on the Dancefloor” at the ceremony.
The BAFTAs will be broadcast by BBC One from London’s Royal Festival Hall, with David Tennant on tap to host.
“Murder,” of course, has enjoyed an unexpected second life on the pop charts following its appearance in Emerald Fennell’s film Saltburn. At the close of the film, Barry Keoghan’s protagonist dances naked through the halls of the titular estate while Ellis-Bextor’s 2001 song plays.
After the film’s theatrical release, the song began its gradual climb back into public discourse, and by the time Saltburn hit streaming services (and its associated memes hit TikTok), it had become a bonafide sensation. It reached No. 2 on the UK and Irish pop charts (equaling its early-‘00s chart peak from on the former), and topped the Dance/Electronic Songs chart in the U.S., where it also broke into the Billboard 100 for the first time ever.
Speaking to NME about the song’s brand-new popularity in the U.S., Ellis-Bextor said: “To them it’s a new song, and that’s bonkers. It didn’t do anything there the first time around, and I’m fine with that. If I’ve learned anything along the way it’s that you’ve got to go where the momentum is. The glamour of being big in America would have meant a lot of time away, and I’d rather go where there are already things happening. I had an absolute ball with the first record in Latin America, South East Asia and all these places – but if this ends up being something that takes me there now then let’s see what happens.”
Striking while the iron is hot, label Polydor has announced a new 7-inch vinyl release of the single, due out on Feb. 16. As for Ellis-Bextor, she already had a number of spring tour dates planned, including gigs opening for Nile Rodgers & Chic.
Saltburn, for its part, is nominated for five awards at the BAFTAs, including Outstanding British Film, Best Actor (for Keoghan), Best Actress (Rosamund Pike), Best Supporting Actor (Jacob Elordi) and Best Score (Anthony Willis). The film was entirely shut out of the Academy Awards nominations, meaning it’s unlikely we will see Ellis-Bextor mount an encore performance at the Oscars. Their loss.