Adele stopped her tribute to George Michael part way through for a do over, but would go on to top all winners with five awards, including Record Of The Year for “Hello” and Album Of The Year for 25.
David Bowie, who died just days before releasing his album Blackstar on Jan. 8, 2016, won four GRAMMYs, including Best Alternative Music Album. Greg Kurstin, Adele’s producer and songwriting partner, also won four, including Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical.
Chance The Rapper earned three GRAMMYs, including Best New Artist. And Tom Elmhirst, an engineer/mixer on Adele’s record, also won three.
In winning Album Of The Year, Adele became the second solo female act to win the category twice, following Taylor Swift’s second win last year.
In addition to exciting solo turns by Adele (“Hello”), a visibly pregnant Beyoncé (an empowerment medley of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles”), and Ed Sheeran (“Shape Of You”), the telecast provided a wide variety of performances and special moments.
With a flashback to the 1980s and Minneapolis’ First Avenue Club, the Time and Bruno Mars paid a heartfelt and funky tribute to Prince, who died on April 21, 2016, with Mars performing a blistering “Let’s Go Crazy.”
Adele lovingly paid tribute to George Michael, who died on Christmas day last year, with a dramatic reading of “Fastlove.” So loving, she emotionally stopped the song when she felt she had made a mistake. “I can’t mess this up for him,” she said before completing the touching performance. Adele suffered mic issues at last year’s GRAMMYs, and once again proved you can turn errors into gold when your talent and intensions are unassailable.
Despite mic issues this year for James Hetfield, Metallica and Lady Gaga proved the notion of genres is illusory by coming together with abandon for the band’s “Moth Into Flame.” And Gaga triumphantly returned to the stage after shaming those who body-shamed her after her Super Bowl LI performance.
Demi Lovato, Tori Kelly, Little Big Town, and Andra Day came together to honor the Bee Gees in anticipation of the upcoming special “Stayin’ Alive: A GRAMMY Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees,” which will air on CBS in the spring. The performance was a reminder of the brother acts’ longevity as well the stunning popularity they enjoyed in the late ’70s in particular. The last surviving brother, Barry Gibb, looked on in approval.
A platinum blond Katy Perry broke a long hiatus with her first-ever live TV performance of her new single “Chained To The Rhythm.”
Other unique moments included the Weeknd teaming with musical robots Daft Punk, Best New Artist nominee Kelsea Ballerini joining Record Of The Year nominee Lukas Graham, and Best New Artist nominee Maren Morris in a soulful pairing with Alicia Keys.
A deeper look at the evening’s awards revealed a couple living-legend R&B artists and an equally revered metal act won their first-ever awards: Bobby Rush won Best Traditional Blues Album for Porcupine Meat (whether accurate or not, Rush claimed the album was his 374th, but his first GRAMMY), Stax Records great William Bell won Best Americana Album for This Is Where I Live, and Megadeth took Best Metal Performance for Dystopia, their 12th GRAMMY-nominated work.
There were a few political moments on the show, with host James Corden alluding to President Trump in his opening rap and A Tribe Called Quest and Anderson .Paak ending their performance with the chant “resist.” But for the most part, the show tended toward empowerment, whether it was Beyoncé’s ode to the power of motherhood, or, of course, the unstoppable power of music.