With only 10 Grammy Awards handed out during Sunday’s live telecast and nine acceptance speeches given (Jay-Z and Kanye West weren’t there to accept their statuette for best rap performance), any semi-strong speaker had the potential to stand out during this year’s ceremony.
There were ultimately three who did: Adele, while tearfully accepting her sixth Grammy for album of the year; Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, who used his stage time to remind everyone of the value of musicianship; and Justin Vernon, frontman for Bon Iver, who got in some minor digs at Grammy organizers during his remarks.
So which one did it best? Let’s go to the YouTube clips, then make a call.
More Grammy coverage:
Adele for album of the year
The torch-singing sweetheart of the moment had already won five Grammys when the show arrived at what is generally considered the marquee award of the night: album of the year. While Adele had been composed during her previous acceptance speeches, the announcement that “21” was the big winner finally punched her in the emotional gut. Sobbing audibly into the microphone, she accepted the honor by acknowledging that her CD about a “rubbish relationship” has changed her life, then noted that she had “a bit of snot” running from her nose. It was gracious, emotional, a little messy and completely endearing.
Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters for best rock performance
Grohl noted that his fellow Fighters of Foo recorded the album “Wasting Light” in his garage, then made some remarks that were clearly directed at pop artists who opt to autotune rather than develop their musical talents.
“To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s most important,” he said, as members of the audience began to applaud. “Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do.”
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver for best new artist
After refusing to perform during the ceremony, Vernon read some prepared remarks that implied both gratitude as well as lingering skepticism about the Grammy enterprise.
“It’s also hard to accept [this award] because when I started to make songs, I did it for the inherent reward of making songs,” he said. “So I’m a little bit uncomfortable up here. But with that discomfort, I do have a sense of gratitude. And I want to say thank you to all the nominees, all the non-nominees that have never been here and never will be here.”
Some may have thought he wasn’t gracious enough. But he spoke honestly and from the heart, which is exactly what you want winners to do during a live awards show.
So which speech was best? Decide below.