Adele Curses, Orders Do-Over of George Michael Tribute at Grammys: 'I Can't Mess This Up For Him'

A touching tribute to a fallen pop star got off to a rocky start.

Adele was supposed to honor the late pop superstar George Michael during Sunday’s Grammy Awards ceremony with a slowed-down rendition of Michael’s 1996 hit “Fastlove.” But a few lines into the performance, the “Hello” songstress cut it short, saying, “I know it’s live TV,” followed by a long bleep. She continued: “I’m sorry for swearing, and I’m sorry for starting again, but can we please start it again? I’m sorry! I can’t mess this up for him!”

The song started up again, and Adele recovered, bringing her typical powerhouse vocals to Michael’s song. As she sung, she was backed up by a live orchestra, with images of Michael during his performing days projected behind her. After the performance, Adele looked visibly disappointed and shrugged, but the Grammys audience cheered her on.

Later, when accepting the Grammy for Song of the Year for “Hello,” Adele offered another apology: “First of all, I really do apologize for swearing. I mean, it’s George Michael. I love him. He means a lot to me. So I’m really sorry if I offended anyone anywhere.”

Michael, who passed away December 25 at the age of 53, sold tens of millions of records worldwide as a member of Wham! and as a solo artist. He was a Grammy winner as well, taking home two awards on eight nominations, including the Album of the Year award in 1989 for his solo debut, Faith.

Watch the video above to see Adele’s botched George Michael tribute, then hit the comments and give us your take on the do-over.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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22 Comments
  1. As someone who has suffered from and treated social phobia, I feel for Adele, but admire her courage to hang in there, restart the tribute to George Michael, and finish the song under far less than desirable circumstances. She is a human being, vulnerable yet courageous. I am glad that the crowd supported her and gave her the ovation she deserves for her heroic performance. Good on ya Adele, you are amazing … HOOAH!

  2. juless says:

    she is the best!!!!!

  3. Robert45 says:

    As a fan of George Michaels since the Wham days and before people attack me I appreciate that she was trying to do her best but that version of the song totally missed the point of who George was and what that song is about. Someone else should have sung that or she should have chosen a slower song to do him justice.

    • Roni says:

      I completely agree with you, Robert. To me, it was the absolute wrong tone for the tribute to George. It should have been a joyous celebration of his music and life (like they did for for Prince), but instead it felt like a funeral. They turned a great, positive, sexy pop song into a mournful dirge. I was very disappointed.

      • Cactus Rose says:

        I totally agree. At first, I didn’t even recognize the song! I was so looking forward to a tribute to him that rocked! His music brought joy to the world, not thoughts of sadness like this rendition did. She really missed the mark and blew the chance to pay any kind of tribute.

    • Temperance says:

      I thought it was very moving, and an interesting take. Yes, I would have preferred an uptempo number because I agree that George would have liked to be remembered as upbeat. But you have to acknowledge that he was a master (and fan) of the slow, melancholy song as well.

  4. Treads says:

    The problem is that she picked the wrong song. The song originally is an upbeat dance tune and trying to slow it down didn’t work. Adele is not a dance tune singer. She probably would’ve been the better if she had saying father figure. That’s more in her wheelhouse

  5. Ron says:

    Adele is nothing short of an extremely talented, phenomenal woman. Her performance was perfect! I have absolute respect for her and that she cared so much about this performance that she actually stopped and started over. I felt so, so bad for her because you could visibly see the disappointment on her face, pretty much in tears. She has nothing to feel bad about. Very few people could’ve gotten up there and performed like she did and recover as well as she did. Nothing but love, admiration, and respect for Adele here.

  6. Donna says:

    Misleading headline. She didn’t order it; she respectfully asked. Love her. It was so Adele. She finished amazingly.

  7. Sara says:

    As a George Michael fan, I loved it. I believe I read that she was a big fan of his, so I’m sure she was super nervous about doing it justice. Pure respect to her for being determined to get it right and starting over. It was a beautiful tribute.

  8. OhMy says:

    She is a great singer, but has difficulty singing live. But, she does have a great voice.

  9. marialinda04 says:

    I agree with Ron. Adele is a class act and she sang the song with such love and admiration for George Michael! I still don’t know what she did that was wrong. But the do over was absolutely beautiful.

  10. Michael says:

    some people are more concerned with the “show”, the “costumer” there looks, Adele was concerned about honoring her friend and doing it right. She is a true artist…..LOVE HER

  11. keenen says:

    Wrong song for a George Michael tribute.

  12. awnb95 says:

    Good singing once she got past the snafu, but that was painfully slow for such an upbeat song.

  13. Rose says:

    I respect her for being so courageous and stopping halfway live so that she could do George Michael justice which is what us fans want! He deserved that! And I loved her version of Fast Love, she could have gone for one of his ballads but I think this shows that she wanted this moment to be special and memorable!

  14. Sally says:

    This was more than just a “do over.” What you saw was a professional showing people that when something isn’t going right you can stop, reassess and then start over. The world won’t stop when you admit a mistake. People will admire your desire to have something go right even if it’s a little embarrassing. Kudos to Adele !!

  15. Angela white says:

    I am writing about the hate and racism the Grammys Use portray… We will not be watching the Grammys anymore until they quit there raciest ways!!! The whole world watched how they did Beyoncé!!!!! Beyoncé should have gotten Album of the Year!!!! Over Adell. When I arrived at work this Monday morning, it was the talk of the office how Beyoncé should have won from all cultures and races!!! I guess because her songs talks about her Mother is from Alabama Father from Lousiana and she likes Black men with big nostro’s, she did not win!!!!! It is a dam shame!! IMe and co-workers has decided to never watch the Grammys again!!! Until they realize that the PUBLIC is full of diversity now!!! White music and Artist”s are Not the only music anymore!!!!! Every race loves Blacl Music but the Grammys!! Adell did not create Album of the year!!!! She even knew that!!!! It is a shame!!! I don’t know who is sitting on the Grammys Judge bench that don’t like Black music that everyone likes…. It is time for them to be exposed and go retire!!!! Every Year they show just how racist they are!!! We will never watch again!!!!!

  16. Temperance says:

    I adore Adele… she’s totally authentic, and there isn’t anything in this world I appreciate more than kindness and authenticity. She has both in spades.

  17. Tina says:

    Love Adele!!!! Very touching even though i didnt see where it was messed up.