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Adele, apologizing.

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Matt Sayles/Invision, via Associated Press

In a jaw-dropping live television moment at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Adele stopped a commemorative performance for the late George Michael mid-song with an f-bomb after realizing that her vocals were off key.

“I know it’s live TV — I’m sorry,” a frazzled Adele told the audience near the beginning of her rendition of Mr. Michael’s “Fastlove,” which had been reimagined as a dirgelike orchestral ballad.

Her subsequent curses were bleeped on the CBS broadcast, but Adele continued to apologize profusely.

“I can’t do it again like last year,” she said, in reference to her iffy performance at the 58th annual Grammy Awards last February, when a technical glitch also compromised her singing. “I’m sorry for swearing and I’m sorry for starting again. Can we please start it again?”

She continued: “I’m sorry, I can’t mess this up for him. I’m sorry. I can’t. I’m sorry for swearing — I’m really sorry. I’m sorry, Ken.” (Ken Ehrlich produces the Grammy Awards telecast.)

The second time through was smoother, though Adele was visibly shaken. Draped in a black gown, she pushed through “Fastlove,” a single from 1996, while seeming on the verge of tears (and not over Mr. Michael’s death).

The crowd gave her a standing ovation, and Twitter was mostly forgiving of the flub as well.

In a later acceptance speech for song of the year, Adele once again expressed regret about her choice of words. “First of all, I really do apologize for swearing,” she said. “George Michael, I love him, so it means a lot to me. I’m really sorry if I offended anyone anywhere.”

About two hours earlier, Adele had opened the show without incident, performing “Hello” from her album “25,” a nominee for album of the year. Her second appearance on the show had not been announced, so it seemed as if the singer had fully redeemed herself from last year’s less-than-perfect showing.

“The piano mics fell on to the piano strings, that’s what the guitar sound was. It made it sound out of tune,” she wrote on Twitter after her performance of “All I Ask” at the 2016 show, adding some of her trademark profanity.

Adele’s handling of the real-time George Michael crisis differed greatly from her fellow diva, Mariah Carey, whose recent New Year’s Eve performance in Times Square was a vocal disaster. While Ms. Carey opted to smile and pose her way through apparent technical difficulties, looking as unruffled as possible, Adele showed a more human side and let the expletives fly. That is, after all, why people love her: She couldn’t help it.

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