02/13/2012 AT 09:00 AM EST
It was an emotional night at the Grammy Awards, as the music world mourned the loss
of a once-bright star yet celebrated the emergence – or rather, re-emergence – of one of its most dazzling young talents.
Adele's domination of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards – she went six for six,
winning everything for which she was nominated, including song, record and album of the year – allowed the industry to think of the future, not just the past. And it was particularly resonant given the British singer's frightening trouble with her vocal chords
over the past year.
"Mum, I love you. I'm so sorry you're not here," the singer, 23, said through sobs in accepting the album of the year award at the end of the night, her tears signaling relief as much as joy.
Her album, 21
, was "inspired by something that is really normal and everyone's been through it, which is a rubbish relationship," she added. "And it's gone on to do things that ... I can't tell you how I feel about it. It's been the most life-changing year."
Adele also dazzled at the show with her performance
of "Rolling in the Deep," her first major public singing engagement since having throat surgery for a hemorrhaged vocal chord.
She won best new artist and best female pop vocal performance at the 2009 Grammys, but Sunday was her true coronation – a great story on a night when her industry most needed one.
So, what did you think of Adele's sweep? Did she deserve all those awards, or did the voters get caught up in her whole feel-good story, not just her music?