Written by: Katie Garren
Sunday night’s Grammy ceremony was dominated by two big stories: Adele’s incredible talent and Whitney Houston’s sad passing Saturday afternoon. From the very beginning of the night, it was clear to the audience that this would not be the typical awards show, with host LL Cool J saying, “There is no way around this. We’ve had a death in our family, and so at least for me, the only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman we love, for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston.” He then led a prayer in her honor, before telling the audience that the night was still going to be a party. As it turned out, its was Adele’s party they were celebrating.
Adele took home every award for which she was nominated. Her six awards included Artist of the Year, Record of the Year (for her song, “Rolling in the Deep”) and Album of the Year (for her album 21). In her acceptance speech for Album of the Year, Adele broke down in tears. She told the audience, “This record is inspired by something that’s really normal and everyone’s been through it, just a rubbish relationship. And it’s gone on to do things I can’t tell you how I feel about it. It’s been the most life-changing year.” Earlier in the ceremony, Adele had performed on stage for the first time since having surgery on her vocal chords earlier this year. She alluded to this surgery after winning the Grammy for best pop solo performance saying, “And seeing as it’s a vocal performance, I need to thank my doctors, I suppose, who brought my voice back.” Her performance was met with an extended standing ovation.
The passing of music icon Whitney Houston put a damper on the typical awards show atmosphere. Herself a Grammy winner, Houston was set to perform at a pre-Grammy party the day she died. On short notice, the producers of the Grammys scrambled to find an appropriate was to pay tribute to the late singer. Many performers throughout the night paid tribute to Houston in their songs. Stevie Wonder said during his performance, “I just want to say to Whitney up in heaven: We all love you, Whitney Houston.” The real, Grammy-sponsored tribute came during the traditional remembrance slideshow when Jennifer Hudson took the stage and sang a powerful rendition of Houston’s cover version of Dolly Parton’s song “I Will Always Love You.” At the end of the song, Hudson sang out, “Whitney, we will always love you,” in a fitting tribute to a fallen icon.