The Atlantic

Adele, Beyoncé, and the Grammys' Fear of Progress

The 25 singer broke her trophy in two for Lemonade, the latest black visionary work sidelined in favor of a white traditionalist one.
Source: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Set aside Adele splitting her Grammy like Solomon; forget, for a moment, all the pre-ceremony analysis about the awards’ fraught history with race and taste and tradition. Based solely on the performances last night, viewers would need to be arguing about Adele vs. Beyoncé—it’s hard to think of a more meaningful distinction in popular music than the one between them.

Adele performed twice on darkened stages where the focus could be on nothing other than her singing. For her George Michael tribute, she flubbed some notes and started again, because otherwise what would the point have been? Beyoncé meanwhile offered a floral golden swirl of

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