After winning Album of the Year in 2012 with 21, Adele’s Grammy-winning ways continued as 25 won Album of the Year and claimed victory for Best Pop Vocal Album. Even in victory, however, Adele’s acceptance speeches praised the singer she defeated in each major category.
“The Lemonade album was so monumental and so well-thought-out and so beautiful and soul-bearing, and we all got to see another side of you that you don’t usually let us see, we appreciate that. All us artists here adore you,” Adele told Beyoncé after winning Album of the Year. “You are our light.”
Following a 2016 Grammy performance marred by technical difficulties, Adele opened the 59th annual ceremony with a resounding, perfectly executed rendition of her “Hello.” The song, a nominee in three categories, won all three golden gramophones, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year and a pre-show victory in Best Pop Solo Performance, again besting Beyoncé.
“My dream and idol is Queen B, and I adore you, and you move my soul, as you have done for the past 17 years,” Adele told Beyoncé from the stage as she accepted Record of the Year.
Adele became the first artist ever to sweep Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year at a single Grammys twice.
Beyoncé, staging her first live appearance since announcing she was pregnant with twins, crafted a hallucinatory, epic medley of “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles,” marking one of the night’s most powerful performance.
The singer, who scored a league-leading nine nominations for Lemonade – including nods in the three major categories, Best Rock Song, Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Solo Pop Performance – ended the evening with two awards: Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video (“Formation”).
“My intention for the Lemonade album was to create a body of work that would give a voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness and our history. To confront issues that make us uncomfortable,” Beyoncé said after accepting Best Urban Contemporary Album.
Chance the Rapper was another big winner on the night, nabbing the evening’s first award of Best New Artist. In winning, he became the first black hip-hop artist to win the award since Lauryn Hill in 1999 and rolled from there, picking up Best Rap Album (Coloring Book) and Best Rap Performance (“No Problem”).
Like the 2016 Grammys – which featured separate tributes for David Bowie, Glenn Frey and Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister – the 2017 ceremony was similarly heavy on tributes to the music legends who died in the past year: Adele remembered George Michael‘s legacy with an understated rendition of Michael’s “Fastlove” that was initially riddled by errors, forcing the singer to demand a restart before landing a flawless, tearful second attempt.
Sturgill Simpson performed “All Around You” alongside the Dap-Kings to honor Sharon Jones, and John Legend and Cyntha Erivo sang the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” during the In Memoriam segment.
The Grammys continued its tributes with Prince, which featured Morris Day & The Time’s festive “Jungle Love” and “The Bird” followed by Minneapolis Sound acolyte Bruno Mars, who donned Prince’s Purple Rain attire to deliver a thrilling take on “Let’s Go Crazy.” The 24K Magic singer also played his “That’s What I Like” earlier in the show.
Major and sometimes surprising collaborations, each a enthusiastic attempt to create a “Grammy moment,” ruled the night, with four of the five Best New Artist nominees participating: Country star Maren Morris teamed with Alicia Keys on a fiery “Once,” and Anderson .Paak joined A Tribe Called Quest for a medley; Solange paid tribute to the late Phife Dawg prior to the politicised performance, which featured Busta Rhymes calling Donald Trump “President Agent Orange” and criticising the Muslim ban. “Resist! Resist! Resist!,” Q-Tip yelled after the medley as a group of invited immigrants appeared onstage.
Kelsea Ballerini and Lukas Graham combined for a “Peter Pan” and “7 Years” mash-up, while Chance the Rapper and gospel stars Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann partnered for “How Great” and “All We Got” at the tail end of the show. Demi Lovato, Tori Kelly, Andra Day and Little Big Town celebrated the Bee Gees with an all-star medley.
Other unique collaborations included Lady Gaga singing – due to a faulty mic – directly alongside a resilient James Hetfield and Metallica on the band’s “Moth Into Flame,” the Weeknd securing Daft Punk’s first live appearance in three years to perform a Starboy medley and Katy Perry debuting her new single “Chained to the Rhythm” with Skip Marley after Little Big Town introduced her with an a cappella take on her “Teenage Dream.”
Only 10 awards made it onto the Grammy broadcast, meaning the majority of the heavy trophy lifting came pre-show. Most notably, David Bowie posthumously won his first Grammys since a 1985 Best Video, Short Form victory as his swan song Blackstar won Best Rock Performance (“Blackstar”), Best Alternative Music Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical; a fourth Grammy, for Best Rock Song, would follow during the broadcast. Artist Jonathan Barnbrook also earned the Best Recording Package for his Blackstar work.
The Chainsmokers scored their first Grammy in the Best Dance Recording category for “Don’t Let Me Down,” and they were excited about it on Twitter. Other pre-show winners included Solange (Best R&B Performance for “Cranes in the Sky”), Cage the Elephant (Best Rock Album, Tell Me I’m Pretty), Megadeth (Best Metal Performance for “Dystopia,” and the heavy metal act’s first Grammy in 12 nominations) and Sturgill Simpson, the unlikely Album of the Year nominee, who won Best Country Album for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.
Drake, who didn’t attend the Grammys despite eight nominations, won a pair of pre-show Grammys for “Hotline Bling”: Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance.
Justin Bieber, nominated for four awards, was shut out, as was a flask-toting Rihanna and Kanye West.
Other notable winners: Justin Timberlake (Best Song Written for Visual Media for “Can’t Stop the Feeling), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Best Score Soundtrack and composer John Williams’ 23rd win), Patton Oswalt (Best Comedy Album for Talking for Clapping) and Miles Ahead (Best Soundtrack Written for Visual Media).