Backed by a full orchestra, Adele’s performance got off to a rocky start as the singer stopped a quarter of the way into the Older track, swore, apologized and began again. On her second go, Adele delivered “Fastlove” with stunning command, building to a chilling belt over a striking new arrangement that featured an ominous piano melody and a growing swell of strings.
Along with her tribute to Michael, Adele opened the Grammys with a performance of “Hello.” She also completed a clean sweep, winning all five awards she was nominated for: Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for 25, and Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Hello.”
— Devotion (@_Devotions_) February 13, 2017
Michael died suddenly last December. The cause was reported as heart failure, though an initial autopsy was ruled inconclusive. Michael took home two Grammy awards during his monumental solo career, winning Album of the Year for his 1989 album Faith and Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for his 1987 hit with Aretha Franklin, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).”
Earlier this week, Elton John praised Michael on his Beats 1 show, saying, “Not only was he a good friend, but he was probably one of the most brilliant songwriters this country’s ever produced, and certainly one of the best vocalists ever,” John said. “One of the best in the world.”
Watch Adele perform a steely, emotional “Hello” at the 2017 Grammy Awards.