Adele went into this past Sunday’s Grammy Awards with ridiculously high expectations. She wasn’t actually nominated for any awards this time around, but every single CBS promo hyped her return to the Grammy stage to perform a song from her new album 25 as if it was the second coming of Christ.
So when she ended up delivering an uncharacteristically disappointing performance of the song “All I Ask,” plagued with sound problems that prompted a general uneasiness, it was all the more tragic for her loyal fans. An appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Thursday afternoon gave her a chance to redeem herself.
And redeem herself she did. Not only did she open Ellen with a flawless reprise of “All I Ask” that built to the proper crescendo, but she also gave the audience “When We Were Young,” the song that recently replaced “Hello” as the most-played song on pop radio.
It was the first time Adele had performed the song since the Grammy Awards debacle. That night, she tweeted an explanation for why she sounded off key, saying “Shit happens” and adding that she was treating herself to an In-N-Out burger as a consolation.
While the Grammy soundcheck went well, Adele said she heard the problem “straight away” during the live show and wanted to grab the mic out of the piano but “froze” in the moment on stage. “I’m always a bit pitchy anyway,” she added with a bit of forced humility. “I’m flat, I’m sharp, I’m just emotional.”
Adele said she was “embarrassed” when she woke up the next morning, and people saying that they “still love” her didn’t help her feel any better. She said she “cried pretty much all day” following the performance, something she said she may have done even if it had gone well. If a similar sound issue were to happen again during a live TV performance, Adele said she would stop the song and start over.
“Oh, well, sometimes it feels good to cry,” DeGeneres told her. “Plus you had to have all that emotion pent up and everything. So that’s why it’s so great you got to do that again right away. Because, you know, get back on the horse, as they say.”
Her spirits were sufficiently lifted by the time DeGeneres asked her to record her outgoing voicemail message to the tune of “Hello.” Without missing a beat, Adele sang, “Hello, it’s me, I was wondering if after all these years you’d leave a message at the beep. Hello, can you hear me? I’m in California dreaming about the message that you’ll leave. Hello from Ellen!” When she’d finished, she smiled and admitted, “That wasn’t bad.”
DeGeneres agreed, asking, “You know how many people are going to be calling me now?”