Los Angeles - British soul diva Adele made a storming comeback at the Grammys on Sunday, performing live for the first time in months as she won a string of the US music industry's top awards.
The 23-year-old, who cancelled all her shows in October to undergo throat surgery, was given a standing ovation after singing Rolling in the Deep to a star-studded audience at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.
The tune won the best song Grammy, which was her fourth win for the night. Adele won six Grammy Awards in total.
Adele took to the stage with producer Paul Epworth, who she called "the best producer in the world", before launching into the worldwide hit from her breakthrough second album 21.
Her solo voice soared out of the darkness into the opening lyric, before a thumping drum kicked in, followed by a choir for the chorus. She earned a raucous standing ovation from the crowd and mouthed "Thank you" at the end.
After surgery silenced her for months, Adele - with her trademark bouffant hair, generous figure, liberal swearing and raucous Cockney laugh - was clearly thrilled to be back.
Speaking before Sunday's show, Adele said it was "an absolute honour to be included in such a night" and "very exciting, and of course nerve-racking".
Four months ago, the singer-songwriter had announced, "heartbroken", that she was cancelling her sold-out US tour due to a haemorrhage she likened to a "black eye" on her vocal cord.
"Singing is literally my life," she wrote on her blog. "It's my hobby, my love, my freedom and now my job. I have absolutely no choice but to recuperate properly and fully, or I risk damaging my voice forever."
She is now the first living artist since The Beatles in 1964 to have had two top five hits in the British singles and albums charts simultaneously.
21 topped the 2011 year-end charts in Britain, the US Billboard 200, and lists in other countries including Canada, Australia, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Refuses to conform
Despite her success, Adele remains unaffected and close to her roots. She has been unflappable in the face of a controversy over her weight, after haute couture designer Karl Lagerfeld suggested that she's "a little too fat". He later backtracked on the comments.
The British singer's reply, to US television in an interview airing this weekend, is that she refuses to conform to the industry's standard of what a pop music diva should look like.
"I've never seen magazine covers... music videos and been like 'I need to look like that to be a success,'" the British singer said in an interview for CBS' 60 Minutes news programme.
"I don't want to be some skinny Minnie... I don't want people confusing what it is that I am about," she said.
"I'm just writing love songs. I'm not trying to be pop. I'm not trying to be jazz. I'm not trying to be anything. I'm just writing love songs and everyone loves a love song."
Watch Adele's performance at the Grammys here:
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