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Early into her live rendition of Michael’s “Fastlove,” off his 1996 album Older, she began off-key and stopped the performance, vowing to not see a repeat of her 2016 Grammys mishap with “All I Ask.”
“I know it’s live TV, I’m sorry,” she interrupted before a series of expletives were then bleeped for viewers watching at home. “I can’t do it again like last year. I’m sorry for swearing and sorry for starting again, can we please start it again? I’m sorry, I can’t mess this up for him. I’m sorry.”
Grammys host James Corden, who launched his now-hit “Carpool Karaoke” series with Michael, had introduced Adele’s performance, dedicating her arrangement of the song to his late friend.
“George was an artist like no other, a true original,” said Corden. “One of the finest male vocalists of his generation. His music had an honesty and openness that excluded no one. In times of sorrow or joy, his music was a partner and friend. He had an incredible ability to make you feel that whatever you were feeling, you weren’t alone. And I know that if he’s here tonight, somewhere, looking in on us, he would smile and be so proud that this artist is performing this song.”
He added, “To George, who we love and will always miss, this is for you.”
The “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex” singer died at the age of 53 on Dec. 25, 2016.
To celebrate her 27th birthday, Adele dressed up as ‘80s-era Michael, someone she pointed to as her idol. On Twitter, she shared a photo of herself in costume with the caption, “Thank you for the birthday wishes I had a wonderful time! I was my hero x #gottahavefaith.”
After Amy Winehouse’s death in 2011, Michael reached out to Adele, wanting to perform a duet in honor of the late artist at a charity event, but Adele said at the time she was too distraught to perform.
Post-Grammys, Adele explained to reporters that she stopped the first attempt because she had been working so hard on the tribute.
“I was devastated by that, and my rehearsal — I did have a shaky rehearsal today,” she said of having to start over. “But I have been working very hard on this tribute for him, every day.”
She continued, “My earliest memory was ‘Fastlove.’ When that video came out, I was blown away by how f—ing hot he was. I was young, about 10, and I heard the vulnerability of that song.”
She also said it was Michael’s family who requested she do the tribute.
“They didn’t want a tribute at first,” she said of his family, “but then they came back and were very specific that it be me.”
Over the course of Michael’s career — which included the group Wham! he formed with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981 and his solo career from 1987 on — he sold over 100 million records worldwide. He won two Grammys, album of the year for Faith in 1989 and best R&B performance by a duo or group for “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” in 1988, and was nominated for a total of seven Grammys throughout his life.
Many celebrities watching were quick to praise Adele for standing her ground during the tribute.
Michael’s longtime boyfriend Fadi Fawaz, who discovered Michael’s body the day he died, took to Twitter to say, “Adele is a Beauty even though I got my heart broken watching him.”
See some of the reactions below and click here to read more.
Adele is a Beauty even though I got my heart broken watching him. https://t.co/bX1GITGaPA
— Fadi Fawaz (@fadifawaz) February 13, 2017
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) February 13, 2017
Major major @Adele respects. Shit happens when you actually sing live. She was incredible.
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) February 13, 2017
Your realness made that moment even more special. That took so much guts, George would have been so proud. @Adele
— SKRILLEX (@Skrillex) February 13, 2017
I love @Adele
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) February 13, 2017
Adele, what a badass. She cares so much. Who could be bummed about a singer singing live? All my respect. George Michael must be psyched.
— hayley from Paramore (@yelyahwilliams) February 13, 2017
Adele just got a do-over. Can’t America?
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) February 13, 2017
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