Give Katy Perry credit for one thing: when muddling through her clumsy "when you were 21, you got shitfaced, but when Adele was 21, she wrote this AWESOME ALBUM
whose sales success I would love to emulate!" introduction, she at least tried. Because that's what Katy Perry does: try. Adele's marketing team would like you to believe that her success was entirely predicated on not trying, on producing effortless singing and emotion during the downtime most humans use to breathe or blink. A bare-stage, eleventh-hour performance of a breakup ballad, marinated in feeling and meaningful to all? No big deal.
That's pretty much what happened. To our mild surprise, Adele did not sing "Rolling in the Deep." Instead, she sang "Someone Like You," dressed in black, backed by a spotlight and a piano player who was not shown, accompanied by zero dancing and zero lasers. It sounded exactly like you'd expect if you've heard Adele's music, seen her perform or even just read tweets about her--which, speaking of, can we stop using Adele's music as a rhetorical bludgeon with which to scold other pop artists? Or making jokes about Adele's chair? Thank you. Adele's performance was excellent. We just wish she'd given us a tiny bit to differentiate it from the rest.