The much-anticipated Grammys battle between Adele and Beyoncé appeared to be kind of a mismatch. Who came out on top? Hello, Adele.
The British singer, whose “25” was the top-selling album in 2015 and 2016, won album of the year, record of the year, best pop vocal album, best pop solo performance and song of the year for “Hello,” which she called her favorite song she has ever done.
Though Beyoncé led the night with nine nominations, she only came away with two wins — best urban contemporary album for “Lemonade” and best music video for “Formation.” However, her well-publicized pregnancy with twins did not keep her from a dramatic, high-art performance of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles” — a mixture of video imagery, live dancers and stunning visuals that normally would have been the most talked-about moment of the night.
But then came Adele’s poignant tribute to the late George Michael. She was overcome with emotion and cursed as she turned his song “Fastlove” into a ballad and was forced to start the song again. “I’m sorry, I can’t mess this up for him,” Adele said, on the verge of tears, creating an unforgettable moment.
One of the night’s biggest winners was a sentimental favorite. The late David Bowie picked up five awards, the first musical Grammys of his legendary career, with his final album “Blackstar,” released only days before his death last year. (Bowie did win a Grammy in 1984 for his “David Bowie” video.)
Donny McCaslin, who played saxophone on “Blackstar” and accepted several of the awards, said that Bowie enjoyed working on the record, telling him, “I haven’t had this much fun since my heart attack.”
“He was the real deal,” McCaslin said, accepting the award for best alternative music album. “He made us feel at ease. His songs were amazing. He was just one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met in my life.”“Blackstar” also won best rock song, best rock performance, best engineered nonclassical album and best packaging
The night’s biggest protest was led by Uniondale native Busta Rhymes, who joined A Tribe Called Quest for a medley of their hits. Rhymes referred to “President Agent Orange” as they launched into their protest song “We the People” with the chorus of “All you black folks, you must go/All you Mexicans, you must go,” a call they feel represents the new administration.
LOCAL HEROES Long Island’s nominees didn’t take home any trophies, though De La Soul did get some camera time for their best rap album nomination. Amy Schumer was beaten out by Carol Burnett for best spoken word album, and by Patton Oswalt for best comedy album. And Southold’s Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could saw best children’s album go to Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.
MORE THAN A CHANCE Chance the Rapper picked up three awards, including best new artist, best rap album and best rap solo performance for his album “Coloring Book” and the hit “No Problem.”
PURPLE REIGN The tribute to Prince featured a reunion of The Time, showing how well “the Minneapolis Sound” from the “Purple Rain” days has held up. Then Bruno Mars returned for a rousingly faithful version of “Let’s Go Crazy” that got the celebrity-filled crowd to its feet.
SHOWTIME Like most awards shows, the Grammys have become less about awards and more about performances for TV ratings. The Grammys handed out 75 of the 84 awards before the telecast, leaving the bulk of the three-and-a-half-hour show to performances, often from artists performing material that won’t be eligible until next year’s ceremony. Ed Sheeran showed off his new single “Shape of You,” building the layers of the song by himself onstage. Bruno Mars delivered a straightforward version of “That’s What I Like” to continue his ‘80s R&B revival. And Katy Perry debuted her new single “Chained to the Rhythm.”
‘BLING’ RULES Drake’s “Hotline Bling” showed that Grammy voters were out to reward sales and radio success more than critical acclaim, as it won best rap/sung performance and best rap song over Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar’s “Freedom,” Kanye West’s “Famous” and “Ultralight Beam,” and best new artist winner Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem.”
PILOTS PROJECT Before they accepted the best pop group performance for “Stressed Out,” Twenty One Pilots took off their pants, keeping a promise they made when they were watching the Grammys ceremony at home in Columbus, Ohio, in their underwear that they would accept the award in their boxer-briefs. “Anyone from anywhere can do anything,” said singer/keyboardist Tyler Joseph, hoisting the award over his head.