When LL Cool J took the stage to host the 54th Grammy Awards last night, he immediately cleared the air and set the tone for a show that was mostly full of reflective moments, with a few bursts of celebrating the healing powers of music.

“There is no way around this,” said the host, who appeared to have tear-stained cheeks. “We’ve had a death in our family.”

He then led the crowd in a prayer to remember Whitney Houston, who died on Saturday. Later in the show, Jennifer Hudson belted out a crushing version of “I Will Always Love You” for which Houston won the Record of the Year award in 1994. Hudson’s rendition was full of sadness and beauty, much like Houston’s all too short life. The tribute was especially touching, given that Houston — who had six Grammy Awards to her name — had presented Hudson with her first Grammy award just three years earlier.

Speaking of goosebump-inducing performances and Record of the Year awards, when Adele sang “Rolling in the Deep,” her first performance since having vocal surgery in November, she brought the whole crowd to its feet.

The British singer won every single award she was nominated for this year, including the big three, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

“Thank you so much, this is ridiculous,” Adele said upon winning the Record of the Year award. In accepting other awards, she was humble and quick to deflect attention to her co-writers. And when she won the final award, she burst into tears, and had a hilarious moment where she acknowledged “a little bit of snot.”

Elsewhere in the show, some of the evening’s performances seemed inappropriately over-the-top, such as Chris Brown’s two appearances, and Nicki Minaj’s elaborate rap opera of “The Exorcism of Roman.” Foo Fighters turned in passionate, yet purposefully understated performances of “Walk” and “Rope,” the former of which won the Grammy for Best Rock Song. Dave Grohl and company quietly won five awards, including Best Rock Album.

THE COMPLETE LIST OF THE WINNERS

  • Record of the year: Adele – Rolling In The Deep
  • Album of the year: Adele – 21
  • Song of the year: Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth (songwriters) – Rolling In The Deep
  • New artist: Bon Iver
  • Pop solo performance: Adele – Someone Like You
  • Rock album: Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
  • Pop duo: Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse – Body and Soul
  • Pop vocal album: Adele – 21
  • Rap album: Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  • Pop instrumental album: Booker T Jones – The Road From Memphis
  • Dance recording: Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
  • Dance/electronica album: Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
  • Traditional pop vocal album: Tony Bennett & Various Artists – Duets II
  • Rock performance: Foo Fighters – Walk
  • Hard rock/metal performance: Foo Fighters – White Limo
  • Rock song: Foo Fighters (songwriters) – Walk
  • Alternative music album: Bon Iver – Bon Iver
  • R&B performance: Corinne Bailey Rae – Is This Love
  • Traditional R&B performance: Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona – Fool for You
  • R&B song: Cee Lo Green, Melanie Hallim, Jack Splash (songwriters) – Fool for You
  • R&B album: Chris Brown – FAME
  • Rap performance: Jay-Z & Kanye West – Otis
  • Rap/sung collaboration: Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie – All of the Lights
  • Rap song: Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter & Kanye West (songwriters) – All of the Lights
  • Country solo performance: Taylor Swift – Mean
  • Country duo/group performance: The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
  • Country song: Taylor Swift (songwriter) – Mean
  • Country album: Lady Antebellum – Own The Night
  • New age album: Pat Metheny – What's It All About
  • Improvised jazz solo: Chick Corea – 500 Miles High
  • Jazz vocal album: Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists – The Mosaic Project
  • Jazz instrumental album: Corea, Clarke & White – Forever
  • Large jazz ensemble album: Christian McBride Big Band – The Good Feeling
  • Gospel/contemporary Christian music performance: Le'Andria Johnson – Jesus
  • Gospel song: Kirk Franklin (songwriter) – Hello Fear
  • Contemporary Christian music song: Laura Story (songwriter) – Blessings
  • Gospel album: Kirk Franklin – Hello Fear
  • Contemporary Christian music album: Chris Tomlin – And If Our God Is for Us…
  • Latin pop, rock or urban album: Mana – Drama y Luz
  • Regional Mexican or Tejano album: Pepe Aguilar – Bicentenario
  • Banda or Norteno album: Los Tigres Del Norte – Los Tigres Del Norte and Friends
  • Tropical Latin album: Cachao – The Last Mambo
  • Americana album: Levon Helm – Ramble at the Ryman
  • Bluegrass album: Alison Krauss & Union Station – Paper Airplane
  • Blues album: Tedeschi Trucks Band – Revelator
  • Folk album: The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
  • Regional roots music album: Rebirth Brass Band – Rebirth of New Orleans
  • Reggae album: Stephen Marley – Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life
  • World music album: Tinariwen – Tassili
  • Children's album: Various Artists – All About Bullies ... Big and Small
  • Spoken word album: Betty White – If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't)
  • Comedy album: Louis CK – Hilarious
  • Musical theatre album: The Book of Mormon
  • Short-form music video: Adele – Rolling in the Deep
  • Long-form music video: Foo Fighters – Foo Fighters: Back and Forth