Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Adele addresses the audience after receiving her fifth trophy during the 54th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, February 12, 2012.
Music's biggest night was about the powerful (and recuperated) voice of British songstress Adele and the lost voice of Whitney Houston. The sudden death of the pop star on Saturday threatened to overshadow a celebratory occasion. Presenters and performers were mostly able to pivot between bittersweet emotions. Host and hip-hop originator L.L. Cool J led off the show with a prayer for Houston. Perhaps the most fitting tribute would be Adele's domination of the night – a newcomer blessed with vocals as pitch-perfect and stirring as Houston's.
Adele's debut album "21," with critical and commercial hits "Rolling in the Deep" and "Somebody Like You," won six Grammy Awards, including best song, record, and album of the year. The Foo Fighters made a big showing with five awards. Kanye West was uncharacteristically speechless as a no-show to pick up his four Grammy Awards.
Performance highlights included Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Rihanna alongside Coldplay's Chris Martin, and Katy Perry. Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys sang a tribute in memoriam of music icon Etta James. Jennifer Hudson sang "I Will Always Love You," one of Whitney Houston's most enduring ballads. Absent was any remembrance of Soul Train founder, Don Cornelius.
Was it an oversight by the Grammy producers? What were your favorite moments of the night? How will you remember Whitney Houston?
Monica Herrera, Associate Editor, Rolling Stone magazine