To probably few people’s surprise, Adele owned the 54th Grammy Awards. The once heart-broken songstress swept the ceremony with her album 21 – a perfect six for six in categories she was nominated for. What makes her feat even more impressive is that the Brit took home the three most prestigious awards of the night: Record, Song, and Album of the Year.
The trophies alone could have been enough, but there was more to this narrative, which actually kicked off before the ceremony. In a special segment on “60 Minutes,” reporter Anderson Cooper traveled to Adele’s home overseas for a 15 minute piece on the artist and her rapid rise to international fame. The report commenced shooting in the fall of 2011, prior to the surgery performed on the singer to remove a polyp from her vocal cord. The final parts were filmed earlier this year.
During her sit-down with Cooper, Adele admitted to experiencing “paralyzing stage fright,” which at times included “projectile vomiting.” While she dismissed the notion that she would be nervous about her voice at The Grammy’s, the noted that she would be concerned with if others thought her voice sounded okay. Adele, who clearly has little-to-no filter during the interview, said that she would “sh*t myself” beforehand.
There were no reports of any accidents before or during her live performance of “Rolling in the Deep,” but the singer started off a bit shaky, and wasn’t able to fully hit the higher notes in the track. Adele told Cooper that when she first experienced her throat problems, she completely lost the upper range in her voice. But, by the end of the song, Adele sounded like 2011’s best-selling artist. If nothing else, she gave her U.S. fans something to look forward to, as her American arena tour will kick off later this year.
While The Grammy’s may have been Adele’s night, the show did not belong to her alone. Many minds and hearts were focused on the death of Whitney Houston. The actress, singer, and mother was found dead in her Beverly Hilton hotel room Saturday evening. Houston was 48 years old. An autopsy was completed Sunday, but the coroner’s office is holding back results pending both the death investigation and the toxicology results.
With the six-time Grammy Award winner’s passing, producers were left scrambling with 24 hours to pay tribute to the fallen star. Show host LL Cool J followed opening act Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band with a prayer. Later in the evening, the Academy commissioned Jennifer Hudson to cover Houston’s version of, “I Will Always Love You.” The song was originally released in the 70’s by country singer Dolly Parton – but was then covered by Houston for the soundtrack to “The Bodyguard.” While Hudson’s rendition received a standing ovation and positive reviews, it also served as a solemn reminder that there will only be one Whitney Houston.
In one of many bizarre twists on the evening, the Houston tribute was followed by a medley of electronic dance music, which featured Chris Brown. This was Brown’s first invite to The Grammy’s since 2009. Back in ’09, Brown and then-girlfriend Rihanna were scheduled to perform at the show, but a physical altercation on the eve of the event forced both to cancel. Chris Breezy returned this year and picked up a Grammy for “Best R&B Album.” Earlier in the evening, the crooner performed his new single, “Turn Up the Music,” and then “Beautiful People.” Later, he joined David Guetta and Lil Wayne for “I Can Only Imagine.”
Other interesting moments from Sunday’s show: Bon Iver wins “Best New Artist,” and takes his sweet time during his acceptance speech; Nicki Minaj’s bizarre exorcism-themed performance; the Foo Fighters score five trophies, and after accepting “Best Rock Performance,” would not leave the stage. The delay forced the show announcer to introduce the next presenter, Ryan Seacrest, twice.