Not even a televised gaffe can hurt Adele now. During the live broadcast of the Brit Awards Feb. 21, the singer — frustrated that her acceptance speech was cut short — defiantly threw up her middle finger. In most cases, such a gesture would inspire a backlash. The next day, however, the Brit Awards ended up offering her an apology.
And who can blame them? The 23-year-old has proved to be the music industry’s most valuable asset in years. Coming off the Grammys — where she scored six awards — her already seven-times-platinum album, 21, had its biggest week yet, moving an astonishing 730,000 units in its 21st trip to the top of the Billboard 200; she also landed three singles in Billboard’s top 10. (Both feats were firsts for a solo female artist.)
But now, as she prepares to drop 21’s fourth single, the jaunty ”Rumour Has It,” the question remains: What will Adele do next? Tour? Return to the studio? Her label had no comment on the singer’s game plan. But Ryan Tedder, who produced and co-wrote ”Rumour,” tells EW, ”I hope she just does exactly what she’s doing and has always done wonderfully — write about her life in the most honest way possible.”
”I think this year will be a victory lap for her,” predicts Zach Hochkeppel, a senior VP of marketing at EMI who helped usher Norah Jones to a similar Grammy sweep in 2003. ”The album will continue to sell in a huge way, and she can basically do whatever she wants.” Just ask the folks at the Brit Awards.