Adele and Beyoncé are headed for a rematch. At the 59th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, 2017, the two singers went head-to-head in four categories, including the Big Three (album, record and song of the year). Adele won all four of these contests.
In the nominations for the 65th annual Grammy Awards, which were announced on Tuesday (Nov. 15), Bey and Adele are again competing in each of the Big Three categories. Adele’s 30 is vying with Bey’s Renaissance for album of the year. Adele’s “Easy on Me” is competing with Bey’s “Break My Soul” for both record and song of the year.
This isn’t the first time two artists have competed multiple times for album of the year as lead artists. Two pairs of all-time greats went head-to-head for album of the year three times.
With the number of album of the year nominees having jumped from five to eight in 2018 and then from eight to 10 in 2021, we’ll likely see more such recurring matchups. But it will be hard to top the rivalry between Adele and Beyoncé, who are both world-class artists as well as, by all accounts, friends and mutual admirers.
In her 2017 acceptance speech for the final award of the night, album of the year, a highly emotional Adele all but handed the Grammy to Beyoncé, who was standing in the front row with her husband, Jay-Z, as the audience rose to its feet to celebrate Adele’s win. Adele’s speech stands as one of the most selfless and gracious in awards show history.
After some introductory thanks, Adele addressed the issue of competing with a friend and an artist she greatly admires. “I can’t possibly accept this award and I’m very humbled and I’m very grateful and gracious, but my artist of my life is Beyoncé and this album to me – the Lemonade album – was so monumental.”
Addressing the singer directly, she continued: “Beyoncé, it was just so monumental and so well thought-out and so beautiful and soul-baring and we all got to see another side to you that you don’t always let us see, and we appreciate that. And all us artists here, we fu—ing adore you. You are our light. And the way that you make me and my friends feel – the way you make my Black friends feel – is empowering. And you make them stand up for themselves and I love you. I always have and I always will.”
Beyoncé didn’t go home empty-handed that night. She won two Grammys – best urban contemporary album for Lemonade and best music video for “Formation.” And she has won seven more Grammys since that night.
Take a look at all artists who have, as lead artists, competed against each other for album of the year two or more times. We start with the pairs who competed three times, followed by the pairs who vied twice.