While so much of our time has been spent analyzing the performances of Jennifer Lawrence and presence of Ben Affleck’s beard, Adele has been more than a pleasant surprise this awards season. Or, to borrow a phrase from Anne Hathaway, the cherry on top of vegan ice cream (cringe). She’s already picked up an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, compared herself to Beyoncé, met Beyoncé, but tonight’s James Bond tribute wasn’t all about her.
Rather than take part in 50 years of suave spies in classic suits, producers left duties with Halle Berry (a Bond girl now and forever) and the great Shirley Bassey. The latter brought the house down with her rousing rendition of “Goldfinger” from the 1964 Bond film of the same name, as if to suggest to all those who came after her that she remains the gold standard.
The 76-year-old Welsh singer wore a gold dress fit for the adoration she’d ultimately receive, growling through her seductive tune in a way that put the sheer force of her voice on display. She also captivated the attention of a crowd whose faces had likely gone numb from politely smiling through host Seth MacFarlane’s divisive brand of humor, demanding a standing ovation before it was required–as seen in the subsequent movie musical celebration. But would she outdo the woman who’s been able to turn us into gleeful (and at times, sobbing) messes whenever she takes the stage?
“Skyfall” is a cool ballad that’s all about innuendo, less emotionally charged than the material we’re used to from the singer. Adele appeared steely and confident, equally as sultry as her predecessor. There was no shortage of glamour, but her dark, shimmering gown perhaps matched a little too well with the curtains behind her. (Still, we needed those silver sparkly heels like yesterday.) Swaying to the music and moving her hips whenever appropriate–who says she doesn’t dance?–there was a lightness to her presence; this might be the closest thing we have to a Adele jamming out to her bedroom to a live recording of “Irreplaceable.” And then there were those final notes, the expected, call-your-parents-because-Adele-is-taking-you-home roars that we know and love, complete with a fleeting sassy finger wave to hold us over until her next album.
The crowd applauded and she smiled, but it seemed as if there was some element of those patented life-changing powers missing from this performance; when the camera panned the crowd, Jamie Foxx looked as if he had just woken up from a nap. Perhaps she didn’t want to outdo a classic, or maybe it’s just not possible. Team Bassey.
Time will tell whether or not Adele will continue to charm red carpets, or fade away into a happy life as a mum to her newborn son, forever watching Queen B videos on YouTube. We feel strongly about her chances at the former–she is halfway to an EGOT, after all.
But just as you likely have a favorite Bond star from the last 50 years, you probably have a musical preference from tonight’s show. So who rocked their special Bond moment harder? Vote below!
[Photos: Getty Images]