The 54th Annual Grammy Awards were as memorable as ever, with a somber cloud hanging over the entire ceremony in the wake of the sudden death of superstar vocalist Whitney Houston the day before the big show. Several artists paid tribute to the late singer, including Jennifer Hudson performing an emotional and subdued rendition of Houston's hit "I Will Always Love You." LL Cool J also said a prayer in memory of Houston.
“Heavenly father, we thank you for sharing our sister Whitney with us,” LL said. “Today our thoughts are with her mother her daughter and all of her loved ones. Although she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed to have been touched by her beautiful spirit and to have the legacy of her music to cherish and share forever.”
Kanye West took home three major awards, including Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Collaboration (with Rihanna, Fergie, Elly Jackson and Elton John for "All of the Lights") and his acclaimed album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy won Best Rap Album.
Young Money was well-represented, even though no one took home any awards. Lil Wayne performed a rave-style tribute to dance music alongside Chris Brown, David Guetta, Deadmau5 and Foo Fighters' frontman Dave Grohl; and Drake introduced his labelmate Nicki Minaj. Nicki then gave what had to be the night's most talked-about performance, a bizarre exorcism-themed rendition of her single "Roman Holiday."
But the night's biggest winner was British soul singer Adele, who took home seven Grammys for her album 21 and for her smash single "Rolling In the Deep."