Adele Sweeps the Grammy Awards; Jennifer Hudson Delivers Stirring Tribute to Whitney Houston Adele swept the 54th Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night taking home six trophies including album of the year for 21 and record of the year and song of the year for "Rolling in the Deep."
She broke down in tears accepting the album trophy explaining that 21 was inspired by something very normal -- "a rubbish relationship." "It's gone on to do things -- I can't tell you how I feel about it. It's been a life changing year." She then joked about rubbing away a bit of snot as she continued her speech.
Gwyneth Paltrow introduced Adele's triumphant return to the stage. She looked a little nervous while delivering a powerful performance of "Rolling in the Deep," but there's no doubt Adele's voice survived her vocal cord surgery beautifully. The crowd gave her an extended and rousing standing ovation.
Of course, the death of Whitney Houston impacted the Grammy broadcast heavily. Jennifer Hudson delivered a very tasteful and emotional performance of "I Will Always Love You" late in the show, ending it by singing "Whitney, we will always love you." It was obvious Jennifer was working hard to keep her composure as she sang.
Show host LL Cool J shared a heartfelt prayer in memory of Whitney Houston at the top of the awards broadcast saying, "We've had a death in our family. So at least for me, the only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman who we loved, for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston." He added, "Although she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed to have been touched by her beautiful spirit."
A clip of Whitney performing "I Will Always Love You" at the Grammy Awards in 1993 followed the prayer. LL then moved the focus to celebrating the music of the night saying, "Whitney, we will always love you. And tonight, we will remember you the best way we know how, with a song."
Bruce Springsteen kicked this year's Grammys off performing his new single, "We Take Care of Our Own," backed up by his E Street Band and a string section.
Bruno Mars rocked a gold coat and bowtie for a high-energy performance of "Runaway Baby" from his album Doo-Wops & Hooligans. He got the industry crowd on their feet channeling James Brown and saying, "Tonight, we celebrate music." We celebrate the beautiful Miss Whitney Houston, so get up off your rich asses and let's have some fun!"
Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt paid tribute to the other diva the music world lost recently -- Etta James -- with a performance of "Sunday Kind of Love."
Jack Black introduced the Foo Fighters' outdoor performance of "Walk" after the band won four Grammys in the pre-telecast. That song won the band their fifth trophy for best rock performance later in the night. Dave Grohl gave an earnest speech about making music from the heart with real instruments but was cut off by the electronic sounds of LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem."
Chris Brown showed off his dance moves atop a colorful staircase while performing a medley of his brand-new single "Turn Up the Music" and "Beautiful People." The former song is the lead single from Chris's upcoming album, Fortune. It was his first performance since missing the Grammy show three years ago following his physical altercation with then-girlfriend Rihanna, and a few fans on Twitter took issue with him lip-synching the entire performance. Chris also picked up the best R&B album Grammy for F.A.M.E.
Chris returned later in the show with David Guetta and Lil Wayne for "I Can Only Imagine" during the dance music portion of the night. Foo Fighters also came back to team up with Deadmau5 for a remix of "Rope."
Rihanna rocked a new, shaggy blonde hairstyle performing "We Found Love" backed up a troupe of dancers. She then took the energy down performing "Princess of China" acoustically with Coldplay's Chris Martin. The rest of the band joined Chris to perform the Coldplay hit "Paradise" with the stage decked out in the neon graffiti motif from their album Mylo Xyloto.
Katy Perry faked out audiences by having someone else pose as her for a dimly lit performance of "E.T." The real Katy emerged sporting blue hair and singing her new single "Part of Me," which will be included on her expanded Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, due out next month. Katy's staging was among the most impressive of the night with flames erupting all around ice sculptures. Twitter was abuzz with people thinking "Part of Me" contained a pointed message to Katy's ex Russell Brand.
Nicki Minaj continued promoting her alter ego "Roman" delivering her new single "Roman Holiday." The performance featured a lot of Catholic iconography and a woman gyrating on an altar in front of a young altar boy. Nicki also worked a demented version of "O Come All Ye Faithful" into the song as she levitated over the stage. To say the least, it was a far cry from "Super Bass."
Fergie and Marc Anthony presented the best rap performance Grammy to the absent Kanye West and Jay-Z for "Otis." Reba McEntire introduced Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean's performance of their Grammy nominated hit "Don't You Wanna Stay." Kelly looked quite stunning in a black dress with silver accents and a plunging neckline.
Country stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert presented the best country album trophy to Lady Antebellum for their latest project, Own the Night. It was the group's only nomination of the evening after they dominated last year's ceremony.
The Beach Boys' tribute portion kicked off with Maroon 5 performing "Surfer Girl." Foster the People took over with a breezy delivery of "Wouldn't It Be Nice," though lead singer Mark Foster looked a little scared on camera. The Beach Boys themselves, including Brian Wilson, then reunited onstage to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a performance of "Good Vibrations."
Stevie Wonder paid tribute to Whitney Houston with a few remarks and played a bit of the Beatles "Love Me Do" before introducing Sir Paul McCartney. Joe Walsh and Diana Krall joined McCartney as he sang "My Valentine" from his new album, Kisses on the Bottom.
Indie darlings and two-time Grammy winners The Civil Wars sang a snippet of their song "Barton Hollow" before introducing Taylor Swift's down home performance of "Mean." That song won Taylor two trophies in the pre-telecast ceremony for best country song and best country solo performance.
Taylor returned to introduce The Band Perry and Blake Shelton's tribute to Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Glen Campbell. The sibling trio kicked things off with Campbell's classic "Gentle on My Mind" while Blake delivered his version of "Southern Nights." Glen closed out the segment singing his signature hit "Rhinestone Cowboy" for his final Grammy performance. He's currently on his farewell tour after announcing his Alzheimer's disease diagnosis last year.
Carrie Underwood introduced her duet partner winner Tony Bennett to perform "It Had to Be You" from his Duets II project. That album won Tony his 16th Grammy in the pre-telecast for best traditional pop vocal album. Carrie and Tony presented Best New Artist to Bon Iver, who didn't know quite what to make of his win. He awkwardly thanked everyone who was nominated and everyone who wasn't nominated. Of note, Bon Iver declined a performance slot on this year's Grammy broadcast.
Paul McCartney returned to close the show with some tracks from Beatles' iconic Abbey Road album - "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight" and "You Never Give Me Your Money." Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh and Dave Grohl then joined Sir Paul onstage for an all star jam session appropriately ending the entire show with "The End."
- Whitney Houston
- Jennifer Hudson