Adele wasn't about to let history repeat itself.
At the 2016 Grammys, she suffered technical difficulties while singing "All I Ask." At the time, Adele's microphone fell onto the piano keys. Producers switched to a backup sound system, which caused a momentary audio drop. "We had the most complicated show on television," Academy President Neil Portnow said last year. "Period. End of story." Portnow praised the singer for being a "professional" and said Adele did a "great job" in spite of the mishap. "We certainly don't like when those things happen," he said, "but those things happen sometimes."
Try explaining that to Adele, who said she "cried pretty much all day" after the televised disaster.
"It threw the whole thing off," she later told Ellen DeGeneres. "Next time I have any sound issues, I am going to start over. [I'll say,] 'Sorry, that's not working for me.' Otherwise, bye! In fairness, I would have cried if it went really well. If it was a standout performance, I would have cried as well. I always cry. I was so embarrassed...It can't get much worse than the Grammys."
Surely things couldn't go wrong again, right?
James Corden set the somber scene. "On Christmas day, the world woke up to the tragic news that George Michael had sadly passed away. George was an artist like no other—a true original, one of the finest male vocalists of his generation," the host said. "His music had an honesty and openness that excluded no one. In times of sorrow or joy, his music was a partner and friend."
"He had an incredible ability to make you feel that whatever you were feeling, you weren't alone. If he's here tonight, somewhere looking in on us, I know he'd smile and be so proud tonight that this artist is performing this song," Corden said, "To George—who we love and will always miss—this is for you. Here with a new arrangement of his song 'Fastlove,' it's Adele."
All eyes were on Adele as she paid tribute to the music legend.
But, about a minute into Michael's 1996 classic, Adele stopped the music. "I know it's live TV. I can't do it again like last year," the singer said. "I'm sorry for swearing and I'm sorry for starting again. Can we please start it again? I'm sorry, I can't mess this up for him. I'm sorry. I can't."
"I'm sorry for swearing," she added. "I'm really sorry."
Adele restarted her performance, and when it was over, she received a standing ovation. With tears in her eyes, the British singer mouthed "thank you" several times before exiting the stage.
Metallica suffered technical issues moments after Adele. According to an eyewitness, James Hetfield "chucked his guitar" to his tech and looked "very mad" about his band's sound issues.
The Recording Academy has not commented on Adele or Metallica's technical issues. The organization did, however, encourage Adele to keep singing: "You got this, girl! #GRAMMYS."