By Annie Reuter
Adele’s tribute to George Michael on Sunday (Feb. 12) at the GRAMMY Awards was a memorable one despite an early glitch that caused her to start the song over. But the original plans for the performance were far different. At one point the tribute could have included Beyoncé and Rihanna.
George Michael’s manager, Michael Lippman, wanted the three artists as well as host James Corden to perform a mashup of Michael’s hits including “Freedom” and “One More Try,” GRAMMY executive producer Ken Ehrlich told Billboard,
That decision shifted when Lippman found out “how passionate Adele was,” Ehrlich says, “and that she had a vision for what she wanted to do with it.” Adele would go on to perform a ballad version of Michael’s 1996 hit “Fastlove” backed by an orchestra. It was a song she recalls hearing for the first time at the age of 10 and she instantly “heard the vulnerability in that song,” Ehrlich says.
Backstage following her emotional GRAMMY performance, Adele raved about Michael, adding that “it was an honor” to show her respects to the singer. Later that night, Adele won GRAMMYs for Record of the Year and Album of the Year.