The George Michael tribute at this year’s Grammys was handled by none other than Adele, who performed a radically stripped- and slowed-down version of Michael’s 1996 ode to cruising, “Fastlove” (a fitting tribute in every way, given Michael’s unabashed love of gay sex). Well, actually, Adele performed it, then stopped, and then performed it again.
After a shaky first verse, she interrupted herself during the chorus, saying, “I know it’s live TV, I’m sorry.” The sound was then cut as she cursed, only to come back on her saying, “I can’t do it again like last year.” Remember last year’s performance of “All I Ask” was besieged with technical problems, resulting in a subpar performance from a woman who is widely recognized as one of the greatest voices in contemporary pop.
“I’m sorry, I can’t mess this up for him, I’m sorry, I can’t,” she said to rapturous applause. After apologizing approximately 5,000 more times, the ever-so-polite Adele said, “Fuck,” off mic and then launched back into her slow-burning take on Michael’s mid-tempo bop. The result was a much stronger performance all around—so strong in fact that Adele cried at the end. Making people cry: It’s what Adele does. Even to herself.