Adele concert special: How it won over critics, viewers

As the singer's album '25' continues to have massive sales, Adele's NBC concert special was well received. The singer will embark on a North American tour later this year.

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Adele performs 'Skyfall' at the 2013 Oscars.

A concert special featuring “Hello” singer Adele aired on NBC on Dec. 14 and seems to have been a success with critics and viewers.

“Adele Live in New York City” was taped last month and featured the singer performing the James Bond theme “Skyfall,” hits from her 2011 album “21,” and newer songs from her smash hit album “25.”

The music special follows NBC airing concerts with artists such as Miley Cyrus and Ed Sheeran. 

Variety critic Cynthia Littleton wrote that Adele “soar[ed] and charm[ed]” during the program and that the TV special included “a run of songs that explained why she’s such a force in pop music.” 

Billboard writer Adelle Platon found it to be “triumphant … hearty vocals … Adele kept it together effortlessly.”

Ratings for the special were far beyond those for the specials with artists like Sheeran and Cyrus.

Adele is coming off the massive success of the album “25,” which quickly broke records when it came out in late November, including the record for most albums sold in a week. The band NSYNC had held the record for years and had originally achieved it in a world that was still only beginning to feel the effects of file-sharing services like Napster.

Adele’s album “21” became a hit, becoming the best-selling album of both 2011 and 2012, according to Billboard, and so it was expected that “25” would be big as well. 

But the sales numbers for Adele’s work are truly unusual in today’s music industry. The album has sold more than 5 million copies in America since it was released on Nov. 20. “25” is the eleventh album since 2005 to sell 5 million copies, and for the other albums, that’s for their entire sales, not just for the first three weeks.

(The last person to sell 5 million copies of an album in a year? That would be Adele, with “21.”)

What accounts for these numbers? The popularity of Adele’s music across generations and music genre fans no doubt contributes. The other albums that have sold more than 5 million copies since 2005 also demonstrate genre-crossing appeal. Taylor Swift’s works, two of which have sold 5 million, certainly qualify, as does the Josh Groban album, “Noel,” which also hit the milestone – holiday music is often popular. Musicians like Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood whose albums sold that number were coming off fame from the Fox reality competition “American Idol,” a show with wide popularity at the time. 

Adele’s topics of heartbreak on “21” no doubt appealed to many and proved universal. 

In addition, demand for new work from Adele after the success of her 2011 album also no doubt accounts for the success. 

Tickets for Adele’s upcoming tour will go on sale on Dec. 17 and it’s likely there will be massive demand for them as well.

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