Grammy fave Adele’s 25 beat fan favorite Beyoncé’s Lemonade for Album of the Year…but even the British singer knew Lemonade was the defining album of 2016, and she used her speech to praise Bey.
Through tears, Adele reflected on being at the Grammys while pregnant—Beyoncé’s current circumstance, in case you live under a rock—and said that she “couldn’t accept” the award without giving due credit to Lemonade.
Here are her full remarks:
And then she took her award apart, Mean Girls style:
Adele, good for you for refusing to be competitive and petty, for speaking from the heart, for being humble, and for being completely right. Lemonade IS the album of the year. I know it, you know it, Beyoncé knows it, and even Adele knows it. Backstage, Adele even told reporters that she voted for Beyoncé. “I spoke to her before,” the singer said. “I felt so honored and privileged to be nominated beside her. She’s so humble and gracious. My Album of the Year is Lemonade. I was 11 years old when I was at school and my girlfriends and I were practicing a song for an assembly, and I think it was recommendation to do a Spice Girls song, but my friends played me Beyonce’s “No, No, No.” I remember hearing her voice so specifically…I fell in love immediately with her. I was 11, and I’m 28. How I felt when I heard “No, No, No” was how I felt when I heard Lemonade last year. For her to make such relevant music for that long of a period, I felt the need…it was her time to win. What the f-ck does she have to do to win Album of the Year? It was another side of her. Obviously, the visual is very new and the Grammys are very traditional, but this year I thought would be the year they go with the tide. Of course, I’m very grateful to have won it, but I love her. I felt she was more than worthy, and that’s pretty much it.”
That 25 beat Lemonade is also an example of an issue that has plagued the Grammys: The award show has long been criticized for being out of touch. 25 is a fantastic album and well-deserving of accolades, but it didn’t really represent much of a departure from Adele’s earlier, much-awarded work. This is something recording artist Frank Ocean touched on in an open letter to the Grammys, where he also mentioned Taylor Swift’s 1989 beating Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly for the same award last year, which had some critics crying racial bias.
Look, we don’t know how the Recording Academy members make their decisions, and Beyoncé won’t stop being Beyoncé because of Grammys lost or won. Lemonade was a game-changing album, and its legacy will speak for itself. C’mon, Grammys. What a wicked way to treat a girl that blessed you with this sacred performance.