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Adele Upsets Beyoncé At 2017 Grammy Awards

Feb 13, 2017
Originally published on February 13, 2017 6:14 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

British singer Adele made Grammy history last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HELLO")

ADELE: (Singing) Hello. It's me. I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet, to go over...

GREENE: You're welcome for that earworm for your day. So Adele became the first artist ever to win best song, record and album of the year twice. She achieved the same feat five years ago.

Adele's sweep shut out Beyonce, who had been nominated for nine awards but only took home two. NPR's Mandalit del Barco was backstage at the Grammys.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: It was an emotional whirlwind of a night for Adele, who won in every category for which she was nominated. Over and over, she was onstage belting out heart-wrenching songs, picking up trophies and apologizing for dropping the F-bomb on live TV more than once. By the end, Adele was shedding tears for her idol, Beyonce.

(SOUNDBITE OF 59TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS)

ADELE: But I can't possibly accept this award. And I'm very humbled, and I'm very grateful and gracious. But my artist of my life is Beyonce. And this album for me, the "Lemonade" album, is just so monumental, Beyonce.

(APPLAUSE)

ADELE: It was so monumental.

DEL BARCO: Beyonce had been expected to win more than just two Grammys. Her song "Formation," from her album "Lemonade," was an anthem to black women. During the ceremony, she gave an elaborate performance. And she accepted the award for Best Urban Contemporary Album by reading a statement that said she wanted her children to look in the mirror...

(SOUNDBITE OF 59TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS)

BEYONCE: And see themselves and have no doubt that they're beautiful, intelligent and capable. This is something I want for every child of every race.

DEL BARCO: It was just one of several veiled and not-so-veiled political statements in the more than three-and-a-half-hour telecast. Host James Corden started off with a quick reference to the country's new commander in chief. Then Jennifer Lopez told the audience that artists' voices were needed more than ever.

(SOUNDBITE OF 59TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS)

JENNIFER LOPEZ: As Toni Morrison once said, this is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self pity, no need for silence and no room for fear. We do language. That is how civilizations heal.

DEL BARCO: Actress Laverne Cox referred to the transgender student whose landmark case is going to the Supreme Court.

(SOUNDBITE OF 59TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS)

LAVERNE COX: Everyone, please Google Gavin Grimm.

DEL BARCO: And Michael Jackson's grown-up daughter, Paris, gave a shout-out to the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters. But the most overt comments came during a performance by the hip-hop crew A Tribe Called Quest, with guests Anderson .Paak and Busta Rhymes.

(SOUNDBITE OF 59TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS)

BUSTA RHYMES: I want to thank President Agent Orange for his unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban.

DEL BARCO: He called out Trump's ban on immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries. As the rappers performed, a diverse group of people, some wearing hijabs, joined them onstage. The performers ended this way.

(SOUNDBITE OF 59TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS)

A TRIBE CALLED QUEST: Resist. Resist. Resist.

DEL BARCO: A young black artist also made Grammy history last night. After the Grammy organization relaxed its rules to allow nominations for music released only online, Chance the Rapper won three awards.

(SOUNDBITE OF 59TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS)

CHANCE THE RAPPER: I know a lot of times I talk about my independence, and people think it has something to do with - oh, I'm going to talk. You all can play the music if you want.

(LAUGHTER)

CHANCE THE RAPPER: I want to thank God for my team. I know people think that independence means you do it by yourself, but independence means freedom. I do it with these folks right here.

(CHEERING)

CHANCE THE RAPPER: Glory be to God. I claim the victory in the name of the Lord. Let's go.

DEL BARCO: Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Los Angeles.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NO PROBLEM")

CHANCE THE RAPPER: (Singing) You don't want no problem, want no problem with me. Just another day. Had to pick up all the mail. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.