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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Grammys 2012: Adele's '21' wins album of the year

Soul traditionalist Adele triumphed over pop stars, a veteran rock act and an up-and-coming songwriter/producer to win the most prestigious Grammy prize, album of the year, for her "21." It was her sixth award out of six nominations, a clean sweep. The heavy front-runner, Adele shocked no one in taking the top honor at the 54th Grammy Awards.

Her "21" was championed by critics and embraced by fans, as it was the top-selling album of 2011 and hasn't left the top 10 on the U.S. pop charts since its release last February.

Adele, who was named best new artist at the 2009 ceremony, underwent vocal surgery in November and was forced to cancel her U.S. tour. Tonight's Grammys marked her return to the stage, and her album of the year win signaled that Grammy voters will opt for songcraft, raw emotion and a dazzling voice over pop trends or guitar slingers. She bested the performance-art pop of Lady Gaga, singles machine Rihanna, pop/R&B handyman Bruno Mars and alt-rock survivors Foo Fighters.

The style-over-substance singer was the heavy favorite heading into the awards. Her "21" was the top-selling album of 2011, with a final tally of 5.82 million copies moved during the year. Meanwhile, her hit single "Rolling in the Deep" was the year's bestselling cut with 5.81 million copies. Both numbers are taken from Nielsen SoundScan's year-end data. Critics also flocked to the artist, as the album came in at No. 6 in the Village Voice’s annual Pazz and Jop poll of the nation’s critics.

Adele fits in nicely with a number of prior album of the year winners. Though dramatic indie rock act Arcade Fire took the honors last year for its album "The Suburbs" and country-pop upstart Taylor Swift won in 2010 for her "Fearless," recent winners have included a number of roots-leaning acts. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss took top honors in 2009 for "Raising Sand," Herbie Hancock upset Kanye West in 2008 with his "River: The Joni Letters" and the Dixie Chicks took the prize in 2007 with "Taking the Long Way." 

Adele's biggest challenger in the field was likely Mars, who honed his chops producing and writing for other artists and was nominated for his solo debut, "Doo-Wops & Hooligans." Among the songs Mars has had a hand in co-writing or producing are Cee-Lo's "Forget You," B.o.B.'s "Nothin' on You" and Travie McCoy's "Billionaire," among many others (he's a part of hot production team the Smeezingtons). Mars' "Just the Way You Are" won male pop vocal performance at the 2011 Grammys.

Where do broken hearts go, indeed.

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards had already started off in singular fashion, with LL Cool J offering up a prayer for the late, beyond-great Whitney Houston following Bruce Springsteen's show-opening performance.

But the most wrenching, yet paradoxically uplifting, moment of the night belonged to Jennifer Hudson, who overnight was tasked with presiding over the musical tribute to Houston, who died just yesterday afternoon.

Right after the in-memoriam tribute montage ended with Houston's photo, Hudson broke into "I Will Always Love You," the Dolly Parton original that became one of the biggest songs of all time when Houston covered it on The Bodyguard soundtrack—which won Album of the Year in 1994.

Hudson took the applause in stride, fanning herself to ward off the tears that had been threatening to break through since she uttered her first note. But her voice remained strong and the song, which topped the iTunes Top 10 yesterday (for the first time in the online music store's history), provided a fitting emotional release.

It was a fairly short homage, but, then again, there was no such plan in place approximately 27 hours ago.

She brought the house down with an emotional rendering of the song to a darkly lit house.

These are the full mainstream list of winners.

Album of the Year: 21, Adele
Record of the Year: "Rolling in the Deep," Adele
New Artist: Bon Iver
Country Album: Own the Night, Lady Antebellum
Song of the Year: "Rolling in the Deep," Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth, songwriters
R&B Album: F.A.M.E., Chris Brown
Rock Performance: "Walk," Foo Fighters
Rap Performance: "Otis," Jay-Z and Kanye West
Pop Solo Performance: "Someone Like You," Adele
Pop Vocal Album: 21, Adele
Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Duets Ii, Tony Bennett and Various Artists
Pop Duo/Group Performance: "Body and Soul," Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse
Short Form Music Video: "Rolling in the Deep," Adele
Long Form Music Video: "Foo Fighters: Back and Forth," Foo Fighters
Rap/Sung Collaboration: "All of the Lights," Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie
Rap Song: "All of the Lights," Jeff Bhasker, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter and Kanye West
Rap Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
R&B Performance: "Is This Love," Corinne Bailey Rae
Traditional R&B Performance: "Fool for You," Cee Lo Green and Melanie Fiona
R&B Song: "Fool for You," Cee Lo Green and Jack Splash
Pop Instrumental Album: The Road From Memphis, Booker T. Jones
Country Solo Performance: "Mean," Taylor Swift
Country Duo/Group Performance: "Barton Hollow," The Civil Wars
Country Song: "Mean," Taylor Swift
Folk Album: Barton Hollow, The Civil Wars
Hard Rock/Metal Performance: "White Limo," Foo Fighters
Rock Song: "Walk," Foo Fighters, Songwriters (Foo Fighters)
Rock Album: Wasting Light, Foo Fighters
Alternative Music Album: Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Paul Epworth

Adele and Jennifer Hudson nailed the performance of the night. To pick which is my favourite is so damn hard! I really can't decide. But just on the sad part of the Grammys tonight. It is either I missed something or they just left Etta James out from the tribute. This is just sad. But the night was just mind blowing! And to the amazing friend of mine. Bon Iver! You deserve it! Even I still find your speech is so funny but yes, we love you and at last your hard work paid off. Congratulations to you!

After that show-closer, some of you will be the modern version of speechless -- unable to type. But we hope not for long. What category held the most surprises for you? Which performance will you be talking about tomorrow? And thanks again for helping celebrate the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards!


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Where Broken Heart Goes

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Live to love and love to live. The motto that I held on my entire life. Just a regular guy who loves what I am passionate in life. A song writer and producer. Living life on the move. From Malaysia to The States, New Zealand to Singapore. With the companion of great people in life. In and out from the music industry. Taking everything one step at a time. 
Eric believe what Eric says~ Cuz Eric is God~