But then the awards rolled on to celebrate the best the industry has to offer and it was truly Adele's night to shine.
Bruce Springsteen set a lively tone for the 54th annual Grammy Awards.
But on this night for celebrating the best in music, there were heavy hearts.
"There is no way around this. We've had a death in our family."
Host LL Cool J began the evening with a prayer for Whitney Houston and then played a clip of her unforgettable Grammy performance
Later in the evening, Jennifer Hudson performed the same song in a tribute to the singer who died Saturday.
WhileHouston was on the minds of many, the awards show went on as planned.
Adele picked up the first prize of the night.
She made several more trips to the stage, including one to collect the trophy for Record of the Year and another for Album of the Year.
Adele also performed for the first time since undergoing vocal surgery last year.
Among the night's other big winners:
Lady Antebellum won best country album.
Chris Brown took home the prize for best in R&B.
Bon Iver was named best new artist.
And the Foo Fighters picked up five awards, including best rock performance.
(Elizabeth Corridan for CNN's Hollywood Minute)