David Bowie, who died in January 2016 of liver cancer, finally received vindication by sweeping his five nominated categories.
But Adele collected an armful of Grammys by the end of the night, also taking every one of her five cateogies including the big three: Album of the year (“25”) and song and record of the year (“Hello”). She is the first artist to win those top three categories twice.
A sobbing Adele appeared to feel guilty for besting Beyonce for album of the year.
“The artist of my life is Beyonce. The ‘Lemonade’ album is so monumental and so well-thought-out and so soul baring,” Adele said as a teary-eyed Beyonce graciously beamed. “All us artists here, we ******* adore you, you are our light.”
“Hello” also won best pop solo performance, while “25” nabbed best pop vocal album.
Backstage, Adele made a rare appearance and reiterated her affection for Beyonce.
"The Grammys mean a lot to me. It's THE award show and I feel very lucky to have achieved (the feat of winning the top three awards). But my album of the year was 'Lemonade' and a piece of me did die inside. I voted for her. (But) I am incredibly humbled by this. America has always been very kind to me," she said, adding with a laugh, "I don't know why!"
“Blackstar,” the final album on Bowie’s resume — released two days prior to his death — garnered best rock song and best alternative album among his posthumous accolades. Bowie’s only previous Grammy came in 1985 for the “Jazzin’ for Blue Jean” video.
Viewers of the Sunday night ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles saw plenty of this year’s leading ladies. Beyoncé led the nominations with nine and went home with two.
Adele, who joined the blonde bandwagon with Katy Perry, opened the show with her slow-burn monster hit, “Hello,” and mock-wiped her brow at the song’s end in reference to the audio blip that marred her 2016 Grammy performance.
The British songbird was also tapped to perform the tribute to George Michael, a haunting rendition of “Fastlove,” which provided her with another agonizing Grammy moment when she stopped midway through the song — she was clearly in the wrong key — and told the orchestra to start the song over.
“I can’t mess this up for him,” she said, ending the song in tears, even as the audience gave her a standing ovation.
While backstage after the show, Adele said she was "devastated" by the do-over and said her earliest memory of Michael was seeing the "Fastlove" video.
"I was blown away by how ******* hot he was," she said.
Beyoncé, still wearing the gold-beaded outfit she donned during her laborious, yet colorful, performance of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles,” read her acceptance speech when “Lemonade” was named best urban contemporary album (she also won for best music video for “Formation”).
“Thank you for everyone who worked so hard to capture the profundity of deep Southern culture,” she said. “It’s important to create a body of work that will give voice to our pain.”
A sincere Chance the Rapper made Grammy history with his two wins from his “Coloring Book” release; it’s the first time a streaming-only album has been eligible.
Before landing his win for best new artist, Chance, who was nominated for seven awards and won three, picked up an early trophy for best rap performance (“No Problem”), which features Lil Wayne and Atlanta’s 2 Chainz. The win earned the College Park native his first Grammy after four previous nominations.
After five tedious years of LL Cool J steering the 3 ½-hour Grammy production, late-night TV host James Corden proved a fizzy replacement — adding pratfalls, a starry “Carpool Karaoke” with Neil Diamond, Jennifer Lopez, Faith Hill and others, and a light dash of politics to the night.
A medley featuring A Tribe Called Quest and Anderson.Paak expressed the most pointed political moment when Q-Tip ended the performance which was also a tribute to Phife Dawg - by chanting “Resist! Resist! Resist!”
Twenty One Pilots’ Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun opted for humor by accepting their first Grammy for best pop duo/group performance for “Stressed Out” in their underwear, which is how they said they watched a previous Grammy ceremony at home in Ohio.
The show touted as “music’s biggest night” is renowned for spotlighting performances and idiosyncratic pairings and this year yielded mixed results.
Ed Sheeran soared by accentuating the simplicity of “Shape of You”; Lukas Graham veered off-key during a mash-up of “Peter Pan” and “7 Years” with Kelsea Ballerini; and a quite pregnant Beyoncé, introduced by her mother Tina Knowles, eventually showed up after a ponderous video introduction. Donning a metallic headpiece possibly tossed away after the last Cher tour, she whisper-sung “Love Drought” and the more elegant “Sandcastles.”
Maren Morris, the winner for best country solo performance (“My Church”), wore an unusually slinky outfit and slayed her duet with Alicia Keys on “Once,” while Sharon Jones received a warm mention before the horn section of her Dap-Kings backed Sturgil Simpson on “All Around You.”
But not much compared to Lady Gaga’s riff-tastic, stage-diving romp with Metallica, which not even a faulty microphone could tame as the team roared through “Moth Into Flame.”
Well, perhaps the zippy Prince tribute showcasing Morris Day and the Time and Bruno Mars, a natural showman in purple sequins as he gyrated through “Let’s Go Crazy.”
Stax mainstay William Bell, long an Atlanta resident, scored his inaugural Grammy for “This is Where I Live” (best Americana album) during the 3 ½-hour pre-show.
While accepting his award, the 77-year-old musician, who performed “Born Under a Bad Sign” with Gary Clark Jr. on the live telecast, seemed genuinely surprised at winning.
“I am glad to be here after all these years and still viable in the industry,” Bell said. “I’m back at Stax (Records) after 40 years … it’s always good to come home.”
The Grammys are voted on by the members of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. The eligibility period for the 2017 ceremony was Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2016.