The tribute was a surprise second Grammy performance for the powerhouse singer; she had kicked off the night’s festivities earlier in the broadcast. Backgrounded by an orchestra and a photo reel of George Michael, she started off performing a re-orchestrated, soaring version of the tune. But partway through, she messed up, stopped singing, swore and apologized to the audience and to the Grammys for needing to try again.
“I can’t mess this up for him,” she said. At the end, she received a standing ovation from a tearful audience. Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, John Legend, and more of her fellow artists were all clearly moved by her heartfelt performance.
This isn’t Adele’s first Grammys snafu: last year, she was noticeably off-key while singing “All I Ask” due to technical issues, which she later addressed.