A beautiful comeback.
At the 2017 Grammys on Sunday, February 12, Adele briefly flubbed and stopped her performance before going on to pay an emotional tribute to the one of music’s best, George Michael, who, at 53, died at his Oxfordshire, England, home on Christmas. Watch Adele honor the icon in the clip above!
The “Hello” singer, who opened the awards show earlier in the evening, began with the slowed-down, orchestral cover of the usually medium-tempo dance song “Fastlove, Pt. 1,” but then cursed and asked to restart, noting that she did not want to mess up her performance for Michael. (Reminder: At the 58th Grammy Awards, she experienced audio issues while singing “All I Ask” on stage.”)
“I’m sorry Ken,” the visibly embarrassed star said, referring to the show’s producer Ken Ehrlich. After recovering and starting again, she launched into a 5-minute, stunning tribute, in which videos highlighting Michael’s decades-long career played on screen. Adele began tearing up on stage and looked emotional when given a standing ovation following the performance.
“Adele chose to sing ‘Fastlove, Pt. 1’ herself,” reveals an Adele source. “That was her pick. She really wanted to perform that song.” (Keep track of all the show’s moments with Us Weekly‘s Live Blog!)
Flub aside, Michael would have likely been touched. “He would smile and be so proud that this artist is performing this song,” Grammys host James Corden said while introducing Adele.
As Us Weekly previously reported, Michael’s boyfriend of nearly two years, Fadi Fawaz, found the “Careless Whisper” singer “peacefully in bed,” the hairstylist tweeted on December 26.
Rising to fame as the frontman of 1980s duo Wham!, Michael, who sold more than 100 million records during his career, discarded his teen-idol image for a solo career driven by material both introspective and sexually charged. Privately, the openly gay, two-time Grammy winner was a dedicated philanthropist. After his death, numerous examples of his generosity came to light: He volunteered at a homeless shelter, paid $18,000 for a stranger’s IVF treatments, contributed to a counseling service for young adults, and supported the Terrence Higgins Trust to help fight HIV and AIDS. (His first love died in 1993 from an AIDS-related brain hemorrhage.)
Michael, who had recently become a recluse, had been planning a comeback for 2017. In a November 2 Facebook post, he revealed that he was working on a documentary about his career (on Showtime in March) and would reissue 1990’s Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. And he hoped to start a family, an insider told Us at the time of his passing: “He wanted to adopt or go through a surrogate.”
His music — streaming of Michael’s hits increased by more than 3,000 percent in just one day after his death — will continue to endure. As Michael once said, “I’ve achieved what every artist wants, which is that some of their work will outlive them.”
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