The five records vying for Album of the Year couldn't have been more different, leaving Grammy voters with a tough decision to make. From the soulful heartbreak of Adele's 21, the power rock of the Foo Fighters' Wasting Away and the retro reggae-pop of Bruno Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans to the anthemic four-on-the-floor dance-stompers of Lady Gaga's Born This Way and the sexy R&B beats of Rihanna's Loud, each and every record brought something new to the table.
But in the end, there could only be one — and the winner wasn't exactly a surprise. As expected Adele's 21 took home the Album of the Year trophy, putting the cap on an excellent night that saw the British superstar earn a minutes-long standing ovation for her performance of "Rolling in the Deep" and sweep through many of the major categories, winning Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Solo Performance for "Someone Like You," and Song of the Year and Record of the Year for "Rolling in the Deep."
Music legend Diana Ross presented Adele with the award, and the pop powerhouse first thanked her mother, declaring, "Mum, girl did good." Adele could not contain her excitement and became emotional during her acceptance speech. With an ear-to-ear smile and tears in her eyes, she thanked her record company, producers and band.
"This record is inspired by something that is really normal and everyone's been through it, [that's] a rubbish relationship," Adele told the audience. "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."
The singer then earned a laugh from the audience when she had to stop mid-speech to wipe her running nose.
Much of 21 was inspired by Adele's failed relationship with a man 10 years her senior. Following the success of her moody, ballad-heavy debut, the singer hoped to make a more-upbeat and contemporary-sounding record, but the sessions went nowhere, resulting in just one completed track, "Take It All." The song was written after a fight with her boyfriend, and when Adele played him the song, it instigated a heated argument that ended their relationship. Heartbroken but musically reinvigorated, Adele immediately hit the studio and began channeling her heartbreak into lyrics, working with veteran producers Ryan Tedder (Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson), Paul Epworth (Florence and the Machine, Cee Lo Green) and music legend Rick Rubin to help her carve out the album's sound.
Expect Adele's stellar performance and Grammy sweep to inspire a major sales surge for her already massive album, which is currently in its 19th week at #1 and is well on its way to becoming the first diamond album in eight years