The soul singer Adele triumphed on her return to the music stage, collecting six Grammys after winning every category in which she was nominated, including album of the year for 21 and best record for Rolling In the Deep.
There were tributes to Whitney Houston, who died suddenly on Saturday, and who was remembered by fellow artists in acceptance speeches and songs. Jennifer Hudson sang her signature hit I Will Always Love You, and the Grammy host LL Cool J offered a prayer for Houston’s family, friends and fans.
“Although she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed by her musical spirit,” he said.
But it was Adele who stole the show.
The 23-year-old underwent surgery on her vocal cords late last year and had been resting her voice on doctor’s orders until US music’s biggest night. For the first time since then, the singer took the stage to belt out Rolling In the Deep and finished to a standing ovation.
Adele claimed three of the top awardsÃ¢â‚¬â€album, record and song of the yearÃ¢â‚¬â€and added best pop solo performance, pop vocal and short video to her stack of trophies.
Tearing up as she collected the album prize, Adele talked about 21 and its heartfelt songs dreamed up after a failed love affair.
“This record is inspired by something that is really normal and everyone’s been through it, just a rubbish relationship, and it’s gone on to do things I can’t tell you how I feel about it, it’s been the most life-changing year.”
TheÃ‚Â album has sold more than six million copies in the US and broken many sales records, including spending 19 weeks at No 1 on the Billboard album chart.
Foo Fighters were the other big winners, picking up five Grammys including best rock performance for Walk.
“This is a great honour because this record was a special record for our band. Rather than go to the best studio Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ we made this one in my garage with some microphones and a tape machine,” said the frontman, Dave Grohl. “It shows that the human element of making music is what’s most important.”
Other winners included Taylor Swift, who picked up Grammys for solo performance and country song with Mean, which she performed to a standing ovation.
She had been expected to take best country album, too, but Lady Antebellum took that prize for Own the Night.
Another surprise came when Bon Iver took the Grammy for best new artist ahead of Nicki Minaj, who had been widely expected to win.
Skrillex won two Grammys for best dance recording and top dance/electronica album with Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.
Jay-Z and Kanye West won best rap performance with their song Otis, from the album Watch the Throne, but they failed to show up to claim their prize. Chris Brown won the Grammy for best R&B album with Fame.
West entered the night with seven nominations, more than any other artist, but came away with the Grammy for Otis and another for best rap album with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Rousing performances were given by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Chris Brown, Coldplay and Rihanna, Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson.
Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt sang a duet of A Sunday Kind of Love, by the late Etta James.
Minaj gave fans a performance toward the show’s final act, and Sir Paul McCartney ended in a guitar-heavy number with Springsteen, Grohl and others. Ã¢â‚¬â€Guardian.co.uk