(Reuters) Adele swept the Grammy Awards on Sunday, taking home statuettes for the top prizes – album, record and song of the year – in a shock, history-making victory over Beyonce on a night marked by political statements and emotional tributes.
Adele, 28, won all five Grammys for which she was nominated, including for her comeback album “25” and her soaring ballad “Hello.” She became the first person in Grammy history to win the top three awards twice, following her wins for her last album “21” in 2012.
Beyonce, 35, had gone into Sunday’s awards show with a leading nine nominations for her powerful “Lemonade” album about race, feminism, and betrayal. She had been hoping to win her first album of the year Grammy.
Adele, who now has a career total of 15 Grammys, seemed stunned, telling reporters backstage that she “felt like it was her (Beyonce’s) time to win.”
“My queen and my idol is Queen B. I adore you,” the British singer said to Beyonce, seated in the front row, as she accepted her award.
“I can’t possibly accept this award, and I’m very humble and very grateful. But my artist of my life is Beyonce. This album for me, the ‘Lemonade’ album, was so monumental,” she added.
Beyonce and Adele also had the most talked-about moments on the Grammys stage.
In her first public appearance since her announcement 12 days ago that she is expecting twins, Beyonce donned a sheer, glittering gold dress and halo crown to perform her ballads “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles.”
Singing seated on a chair and surrounded by petals, she also appeared in video projections wearing a gold-chain string bikini.
Moments later, Adele literally stopped the show after flubbing the start of a tribute to the late British pop star George Michael.
“I’m sorry. I know it’s live TV,” she said, cursing, stopping her slow ballad version of Michael’s “Fastlove” and asking to start again. “I can’t mess this up for him (Michael),” she said. She later apologized for causing any offense.
Later, Minneapolis band The Time and Bruno Mars performed an up-tempo tribute to Prince, celebrating his musical legacy.
As with other recent Hollywood award shows, artists wasted no time getting political.
Katy Perry wore a glittering armband saying “Persist” and her performance of “Chained to the Rhythm” featured banners showing the words “We the People”, the opening sentence of the U.S. Constitution.
Host James Corden, opening the show with an extended rap about the power of music, sang “Live it all up, because this is the best, and with President Trump, we don’t know what is next.”
The other big winner was late British singer David Bowie, whose final album “Blackstar” won all five of its nominations, including best alternative album. The British singer had never won in his lifetime for an individual album or song.
“Blackstar” was released two days before his death in January 2016 of cancer.
Other winners on Sunday included Chicago’s Chance the Rapper, who won three Grammys including best new artist while Twenty One Pilots won best pop duo/group performance for “Stressed Out.”
Drake and Kanye West, who each had eight nominations, were no shows, as well as Justin Bieber. Drake, who won two Grammys for single “Hotline Bling”, is on tour in England.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Mary Milliken and Bill Rigby)