Adele, Beyoncé and the few other highlights from the Grammy Awards

The 59th annual Grammy Awards can be summed up in two words, Adele and Beyoncé. The rest of the show is what happened in between the two powerhouse women.

Bruno Mars was the only act to compete for the spotlight with the two female superstars

Adele took home five awards on Sunday night and gave two stripped-back performance. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

The 59th annual Grammy Awards can be summed up in two words: Adele and Beyoncé. The memorable moments when the two powerhouse women weren't on stage were relatively few.

Sure, James Corden was a competent and goofy host who started a big edition of Carpool Karaoke to Sweet Caroline, Lady Gaga rocked out with Metallica, A Tribe Called Quest called Donald Trump "President Agent Orange," while Chance the Rapper upset Drake for best rap album. And there were the odd moments like two guys accepting an award without pants and Rihanna watching the show while sipping from a diamond-studded flask.

But it was the two single-named ladies who really stole the show.

Adele opened the night alone on stage with a stripped-back version of her hit Hello. After having technical issues last year, Adele was able to belt out the tune flawlessly to kick off the show.

Adele opened the Grammys by performing her hit Hello. (Matt Sayles/Invision/Associated Press)

Her tribute to George Michael, who died Christmas Day, didn't get off to a perfect start.

It wasn't clear if it was a technical issue, or if she flubbed a few notes, but the British songstress stopped, swore, apologized for swearing and restarted.

"I can't mess this up for him," she said.

Any delay was quickly forgiven.

She transformed Michael's 1996 hit Fastlove from a disco-tinged dance track to a melancholy memorial.

Several in the crowd, including Rihanna, could be seen wiping away tears.

Adele also took home awards in all five categories in which she was nominated, including the "big three" of song, record and album of the year.

If her award haul and double performance wasn't enough, she tried to decline the album of the year honour and give it to Beyoncé.

"My queen and my idol is Queen B. I adore you," Adele said to Beyoncé as she accepted her award. "The Lemonade album was so monumental," she added.

Adele also complimented Beyoncé while accepting record of the year; both times Beyoncé could be seen with tears in her eyes.

A golden performance

Beyoncé, pregnant with twins, didn't do a big dance number for this year's Grammys performance, opting for something low-key. She spent a lot of her time on stage in a chair. (Matt Sayles/Invision/Associated Press)

Beyoncé only walked away with two awards among her nine nominations, but her performance is likely the one people will keep talking about.

It helps to be known as "Queen Bey" when you're be draped in gold on the Grammys stage.

Beyoncé's performance lacked a big dance number, but her apparent tribute to motherhood didn't lack for impact. She recently announced she's pregnant with twins and her growing belly featured prominently while she sang.

She opened with a visually striking pre-recorded dance routine and a spoken-word praise for motherhood. When the singer appeared on stage, she performed Love Drought in an opulent costume complete with crown, chokers and golden beads. She went on to perform Sandcastles¸ another cut off her hit album Lemonade.

The understated performance resulted in a standing ovation from the crowd, including her husband Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy.

A few minutes later, she gave her acceptance speech for best urban contemporary album and said she wanted Lemonade to be inclusive and reflective of a world for all children to grow up in.

During her acceptance speech, Beyoncé said she wanted her Lemonade album to send an inclusive message. (Matt Sayles/Invision/Associated Press)

"My intention for the film and album is to create a body of work that would give voice to our pain, our struggles, our doubts, and our history, to confront issues that make us uncomfortable. It's important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so they can grow in a world, where they look in the mirror, first with their own families as well as in the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys and see themselves," said Beyoncé, reading from a golden card.

"This is something that I want for every child of every race, and I feel that it's vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes."

Royal tribute

Bruno Mars tribute to Prince was one of the few highlights that didn't involve Adele or Beyoncé. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

The only highlight of the night that didn't involve Beyoncé or Adele was the tribute to Prince, who died of an accidental drug overdose on April 21.

The funky, upbeat, danceable performances were a stark contrast to the staid remembrance of Michael earlier in the broadcast.

It opened with The Time, the party band that Prince helped shepherd to fame from their hometown of Minneapolis, Minn. The band, led by Morris Day, performed Jungle Love and The Bird, encouraging the audience to get out of their chairs and dance.

For the youngsters, Bruno Mars went into full tribute mode, adorned in a sparkly purple jacket and ruffled shirt, with Prince's symbol projected as a backdrop. Mars continued the party performing Let's Go Crazy, finishing with an approximation of that song's epic guitar solo. 

Join our post-Grammy Facebook Live on Monday at 11 a.m. ET.  The CBC's Deana Sumanac-Johnson will pose your questions to our expert panel: CBC Radio host Nana Aba Duncan and Exclaim! senior editor Stephen Carlick. Go to facebook.com/cbcnews.


Nicole Riva is a multi-platform writer and social media presenter for CBC News based in Toronto.

With files from the Associated Press and Reuters