David Bowie wasn't the only major performer we lost last year, and the Grammys made sure to pay tribute to two others. First host James Corden spoke on the late George Michael, noting how the performer's music "had an honesty and openness that excluded no one" and that "he had an incredible ability to make you feel that whatever you were feeling, you weren't alone." Adele then took on Michael's "Fastlove," becoming frustrated about a third of the way through, at which point she apologized for swearing and for requesting a redo, saying, "I'm sorry, I can't mess this up for him." She started again, and from then on it was smooth sailing, her vocals accompanied by a melancholy orchestral arrangement as images of Michael projected on screens in the background.
"I would like to take you on a journey back in time to Minneapolis, 1985. The sky is purple, and the First Avenue Club is sold out, but you, you have tickets to the hottest show on the planet." That was Corden's lead-in to the next act, The Time, the funk band that closely collaborated with Prince, as they turned it up to 11 to pay their respects to the late singer, who died in April. After the group performed the high-energy "The Bird," Bruno Mars took the stage dressed like Prince—complete with white ruffled shirt and purple sequined jacket—to power through "Let's Go Crazy." The crowd especially seemed to appreciate his emulation of Prince's famous guitar solo.