Music's biggest night of the year rejoiced in the triumphs of its stars - Adele's resurgence, in particular - even as it mourned the painful and unexpected death of Whitney Houston. The absence of Houston, who died the day before the Grammys, was felt throughout the show. The ceremony honored her with a prayer led by host LL Cool J and an emotional tribute of her number-one hit "I Will Always Love You," sung by Jennifer Hudson.
Bruce Springsteen opened the show with a politically charged, yet disappointing, performance of his new single "We Take Care of Our Own." He was quickly followed by Bruno Mars, whose good looks and energetic dancing provided a decent show.
The performances continued with Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt's beautiful rendition of "A Sunday Kind of Love" to honor the late Etta James, who passed away earlier this year.
As the awards began - although very few of the actual Grammys are actually presented during the broadcast nowadays - Adele captured a quick win for Best Pop Solo Performance for her smash hit "Someone Like You." While people certainly have a range of views on Adele's music, the Grammy board apparently does not: She was the clear queen of the night, sweeping all six of the categories in which she was nominated. The soulful singer also performed "Rolling in the Deep," which won Record of the Year. While there had been speculation surrounding her ability to sing in her first live performance after vocal chord surgery last November, Adele sounded amazing. The only thing which could have improved the performance would have been the addition of "Someone Like You" to her lineup.
While Adele cleaned up the pop music side, the Foo Fighters dominated in the rock categories, scooping up five golden record players. They performed their recent hit "Walk" in a passionate display which had the crowd head-banging along with front-man Dave Grohl. Following their own performance, they joined deadmau5 for an interesting showcase of rock and thr electro-dance genre.
Perpetual awards show darling Taylor Swift sweetly sang her way to two more Grammys for "Mean," which received Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. Swift, as usual, was absolutely fabulous on the Grammy stage, clearly having as much fun performing as the crowd was having watching her. She cleverly altered the lyrics of the award-winning song to include, "Someday I'll be singing this at the Grammys," and the crowd loved it. Swift clearly deserved her two awards, and the crowd gave her a standing ovation at the end of her performance.
Even with few surprises, the Grammys were an enjoyable few hours celebrating music at its best. In the closing number, heavy-hitters Grohl, Springsteen, Joe Walsh and Paul McCartney showed the rock world how it's really done with an instrumental, festival-style jam session. Collaborations featuring such legendary talents are what makes the Grammys worth tuning into year after year - and the 40 million people who tuned in Sunday night seem to agree.