Speaking with reporters in the press room at the show, the 28-year-old singer acknowledged that despite her tedious preparation for her performance, it didn’t go as planned. Just seconds into her emotional take on Michael’s 1996 hit “Fastlove,” Adele stopped abruptly and asked to start over.
“I was devastated by that, and my rehearsal — I did have a shaky rehearsal today,” she admited. “But I have been working very hard on this tribute for him, every day.”
As she said onstage, Adele was determined to deliver the performance Michael, who died on Christmas Day last year, deserved.
The singer, who took home five Grammy awards on Sunday, told reporters that her first memory of being Michael’s fan was being “blown away by how f—ing hot he was.”
“I found him to be one of the truest icons,” she shared.
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After restarting, Adele sailed through her rendition of the music icon’s song — a reversal from her appearance at last year’s Grammys, when technical difficulties marred a performance of her tune “All I Ask.” While singing her hit song then, the audio cut out briefly and a sound like a guitar tuning interrupted the performance.
“She was super nervous going into tonight,” a production source exclusively told PEOPLE. “She cleared out the stadium for her rehearsal, but it went really well.”
“I really do apologize for swearing,” Adele said later on Sunday’s ceremony as she accepted the win for song of the year, adding, “George Michael, I love him. He means a lot to me, so I’m really sorry if I offended anyone anywhere.”