LOS ANGELES -- The 54th Grammy Awards will be remembered as a story of two women with towering, timeless voices -- Adele and Whitney Houston -- one representing youthful triumph and boundless possibility, the other a reminder of fresh tragedy and a life unraveled.
Adele, the 23-year-old British singer-songwriter, took home six awards including album, record and song of the year, a trophy bounty that puts a gold-plating on a commercial and critical success story that has dramatically defied the grim gravities of today's economically challenged recording industry.
Adele's other victory came when she stepped to the microphone and sang a robust version of her hit "Rolling in the Deep," which suggests that she is past the career scare of throat surgery that came just after Halloween and kept her mute through New Year's Day. It was her first public performance since the operation.
Adele's honors for her sophomore album, "21," were juxtaposed against the dazed grief and still-raw reactions to the death of Houston on Saturday. The 48-year-old singer was found in a bathtub in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and, while the determination of cause of death could take weeks, Houston's history of drug addiction is a likely starting point for the investigation.
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