LIVE BLOG: Brit Awards 2016!

Last year’s Brit Awards saw Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith take home two awards each, with a controversial performance from Kanye West that saw grime stars like Stormzy, JME and Skepta on stage with the self-proclaimed “greatest living rockstar on the planet” – and even inspired the Skepta anthem Shutdown.

One award that has been claimed already was revealed at the Brits nomination ceremony: the Critic’s Choice award this year goes to one-man-band phenomenon Jack Garratt. Garratt, whose debut album Phase was released on Friday, also won this year’s BBC Sound of… Poll, previously won by artists like Years & Years, Ellie Goulding and Adele. Watch his performance of song Worry at the nomination party (I also recommend listening to The Love You’re Given – one of the most played songs on my iPod in the last year):

The Brits have come under fire, however, for ignoring musicians from ethnic minorities – only four nominations out of 48 for British artists have ethnic minorities – counting Little Mix twice. Especially in a year when Stormzy took grime to the top 10 (with the campaign to get his song Shut Up to Christmas number 1), Skepta appeared on Jools Holland and Craig David reappeared from the abyss. Speaking to Channel 4 News, Krept & Konan called the Brits out of touch: “The year we’ve had last year with grime and UK hip-hop has been crazy, we’ve gone international… I don’t feel like they’ve caught up yet.” Wolf Alice, nominated for British Breakthrough Act, tweeted this:

Dizzee Rascal performing in 2005. Photo from Wiki Commons

Dizzee Rascal performing in 2005. Photo from Wiki Commons

A major section of the Brit Awards is the performances. In the past, there have been phenomenal collaborations – the one everyone remembers is Dizzee Rascal and Florence & The Machine performing a mash-up called You’ve Got The Dirtee Love in 2010, which has almost 15 million listens on Spotify. There was also a collaboration between Disclosure and Lorde, which ended in the singer featuring on Disclosure’s second album Caracal. And who can forget the Mark Ronson medley with Adele (covering Coldplay), Daniel Merriweather (covering The Smiths) and Amy Winehouse (doing her version of Valerie)? With performances tonight from the like of Justin Bieber (which absolute banger will he sing?), Jess Glynne and Adele, the lack of collaborations last year will probably mean that we won’t see any this year – but it’s still certain to be a brilliant night.  Of course, everyone cares about what people are wearing – seems both JGs (Jess Glynne and Jack Garratt) missed the memo, as they’re turned up in the same outfit!

Little Mix, however, seem to be absolutely slaying with their red carpet outfits, and so are their mums – their performance of their single Black Magic later should be interesting!

And plenty of Directioners are unhappy that neither Harry Styles or Niall Horan have shown up to the Awards… Some went to extreme lengths to make it feel like they were really there.


20:01 – Here we go! The start of the Brit Awards… Ant and Dec presenting for the second year, the Marmite of presenting were bound to return – but thankfully they say it’s their last one.

20:03 – The start of the Awards, with an incredible circular stage at the O2 in London, has plenty of red-clad dancers and a lot of bass.

20:06 – Coldplay kick off the ceremony in floral fashion, performing Hymn For The Weekend. Perhaps Chris Martin will storm a table the same way Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes did to them at the NME Awards last week? Only time will tell…

20:08 – No table storming yet, but there’s confetti.

20:10 – The shortlist for British Video of the Year – but I’d put money on either Ed Sheeran or One Direction coming away with the prize. Don’t forget, you can vote for this category via Twitter. Only one tweet per account…

20:12 – One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne are out to present the first award – Best British Female. Louis became a dad recently, and still managed to get to the Awards!

20:13 – The award goes to Adele. Amy Winehouse’s father Mitch even said he’d rather Adele get the award than his daughter. This is Adele’s fifth Brit, and the first of four she has been nominated for tonight. She publicly supported Kesha in her acceptance speech.

20:20 – Have Ant and Dec just #Shutdown the O2?

20:21 – Bring on the Biebs. Performing his hit Love Yourself with none other than Brit-nominated co-heartthrob James Bay! That was kept under wraps!

20:23 – Now we’re onto Sorry, and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say this is a certified BANGER. Could even fry a few bangers on all that pyro… While Justin Bieber sounded a little flat in places, he still managed to put on a good show – with two songs that appeal to far more people than his previous material.

20:26 – DON’T TAKE THE BATTERIES OUT OF YOUR SMOKE ALARM. Okay, now for recently-engaged Kylie Minogue, presenting British Male Solo Artist.

20:28 – James Bay (Bae) has won! He won Critic’s Choice last year and, like Adele, is up for four awards tonight after an incredible 2015. He seems pretty speechless, and thanks the world and his wife – what’s he going to say if/when he wins more?!

20:30 – Ant and Dec say hello to Nick Grimshaw, Alan Carr and Simon Pegg, for some reason related to time-filling. It doesn’t make much sense when only one of them is sort-of related to music!

20:36 – Two people I have never heard of are up to present the award for International Group. It seems like a pretty strong category.

20:38 – And the winner is Australian band Tame Impala, whose latest single is a perfect summer tune. They seem to have no idea what they’re doing… Oops.

20:39 – A random PVC and mesh lady (somehow attached to Brit designer Pam Hogg) appears just before trouser-suit lover Jess Glynne performs Ain’t Got Far To Go in a very brightly lit stage. This is followed by Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself in very quick succession and smooth transition. Respect for the hair – it’s a love or hate situation.

20:43 – Now we’re onto an emotionally charged Hold My Hand, complete with backing dancers dressed in white. The North London girl has the qualities of a future popstar, but doubts remain as to whether she will be a one-album wonder.

20:45 – The next award is for British Single – another strong category, with James Bay and Adele pipped against each other.

20:47 – The winner is Adele, of course… Everyone is on their feet, and she even got a peck on the cheek from Justin Bieber! She says she wasn’t expecting it, “thank you darlings”.

20:55 – British Group is being presented by Simon Pegg. Another strong category – Coldplay vs Blur vs Year & Years.

20:56 – Coldplay win – Chris Martin thanks everyone for “being so nice when we played”. But, like Tame Impala, he doesn’t know where to look, and they dedicate their award to refugees in camps around the world.

20:58 – Time for James Bay’s performance, playing his breakthrough hit Hold Back The River, which has almost 200 million plays on Spotify. His voice is enough to give you chills and delivers a flawless act, complete with fireworks and a piano finale.

21:03 – Major Lazer are up to present International Male, starting their onstage with “wagwarn”… This category is so strong and it could be any of the nominees that win.

21:05 – Biebs wins it, especially with the anthemic latest album Purpose from the global superstar – this one really is deserved. He gives a philosophical speech, and thanks his fans – and Scooter… Scooter? I’ve got to ask, Justin, what do you mean?

21:13 – Simon Cowell has accidentally gate-crashed the link into Rihanna’s performance! Rihanna, who turned up to the awards in an amazing Armani lilac dress, delivers a very sensual performance that includes her new single Work, which features Drake.

21:16 – The woman can really sing. And dance. And wiggle her derriere. She’s the whole package.


21:17 – A lot of sexual chemistry on stage. But that was pure brilliance – roll on Rihanna’s tour.

21:18 – Nick Grimshaw and Cheryl (no surname) are up to present British Breakthrough Act. It’s been voted for by the listeners of BBC Radio 1. Another strong category!

21:20 – And the winner is… Catfish And The Bottlemen! They say they are very humbled and keep their acceptance short.

21:22 – Major Tim Peake is a special guest – presenting the award for Global Success. What a legend! He’s even wearing a tux.

21:22 – Yes, Adele is winning another award. She won the award the year after Sam Smith. It must be a thing that James Bond soundtrack singers win a Brit.

21:24 – Audio is muted because she’s swearing. But they missed a swear and it got broadcast… Amid a lot of crying from the international singer. She hopes Major Tim Peake is “not too hungry”.

21:26 – X Factor winners Little Mix perform hit Black Magic. Photos of the performance were leaked earlier this evening, but the entire performance wasn’t quite anticipated. A lot of mobs, and a sugar skull… But outfits that look a lot like a cross between Liberty X and Pussycat Dolls.

21:28 – Are they lip syncing that chorus? The entire sound changed… What I thought was a solid performance before has suddenly decreased a little. There’s even a pretty pointless tribal drum segment that didn’t even flow with the song…

21:32 – Your last chance in the Twitter vote for British Video. The One Direction tag is currently the most popular, judging by it as second top trend in the UK.

21:35 – Fleur East and Craig David are up to present International Female. When the baseline drops, you know what to do…

21:38 – The award goes to Björk… Who wasn’t there to collect the award. But what is she wearing in her acceptance video?! If you’re asking who she is, she sang “It’s oh so quiet”…

BOWIE21:40 – An emotional tribute now to David Bowie – who cannot be described with words. Annie Lennox is up to give a speech. She says “things will never be quite the same again”. She calls him a “cutting-edge artistic genius” before getting choked up. Bowie died from a battle with cancer in January – shaking the entire music world to its core.

21:42 – “He drew us away from our suburban lives”, Annie Lennox defines him as a rockstar. “He was truly unique” is met by applause and cheering.

21:43 – He is posthumously awarded the Brits Icon award – and Gary Oldman is invited to the stage to collect the award. When Bowie won British Male Solo Artist in 2014, Kate Moss collected the award in his absence, dressed in one of the Ziggy Stardust outfits.

21:45 – “He was the very definition of that singular word, icon”, says Oldman, who says he is honoured to accept the award. He continues to give an incredibly heartfelt talk about music and its connection to emotion and experience throughout the last forty years.

21:48 – David faced his illness with enormous courage and customary humour, says Oldman. “Even in dire circumstances, when he wrote to tell me the bad news that he had cancer, he added the good news that he had his cheekbones back.”

21:50 – We love you, and we thank you. The crowd are on their feet, as Lorde leads the tribute to Bowie. There can’t be a dry eye as Space Oddity starts with a screenplay of Bowie himself, going into a full medley of his greatest hits. Lorde’s vocals and the haunting atmosphere are enough to give you chills as she sings Life On Mars.

21:53 – Words can’t really describe this performance – so simplistic, so effective and so tear-jerking. It is so much better than the Gaga car-crash tribute at the Grammys. Lorde is emotional, an image of Bowie in his later years is up on screen, and the crowd are rightfully on their feet.

22:00 – Ant is in a dress. Repeat. Ant is in a dress.

22:00 – Alan Carr and Leanne La Havas present British Artist Video – voted for by the public (mostly Directioners) this evening on Twitter.

22:01 – No surprise for the winner. Two of the boys – Liam and Louis – were here to present an award. Drag Me Down was, to be fair to them, an absolute anthem last year. Louis says “this award is for you” – addressing and thanking the fans for the award. It’s a shame the award seems to be like a popularity contest rather than won on artistic merit.

22:03 – The Weeknd is performing a sensual performance of The Hills. He seems to be still wearing his coat. He gives a simplistic performance and it works, especially with the tempo of the song. It does, however, seem a bit short and finishes abruptly.

22:07 – Mark Ronson is presenting British Album, but he does swear a bit… I think he might be drunk.

22:09 – Adele has totally cleared up at the Brits – her fourth award this evening is with Album of the Year. In between collecting awards, she even managed to change her dress into a shiny number.

22:10 – She’s apologised for swearing and “the ugly cry face” before thanking the fans. She also thanks Mark Ronson, who worked with her on the record and was responsible for staring to break the artist into what she’s become. Mostly, she thanks her boyfriend and her son.

22:11 – Ant and Dec interview Jack Garratt, who won Critic’s Choice and is sat next to last year’s winner James Bay. He is tipped for great things!

22:15 – Adele is set to close the show. Fingers crossed she doesn’t fall over like Madonna did last year…

22:18 – She performs When We Were Young, and it’s expected to be as spine-tingling as her debut of Someone Like You at the Brits in 2011. It starts very low-key and quiet, but builds up perfectly to her surrounded by a band and images of herself, Bowie-style.

22:22 – Adele looks in her element, and so happy to have nailed a long note. Even with a slow song that is slightly more up-tempo than we’re used to for an Adele number, she has a serious amount of sass. She finishes with a massive smile on her face.

22:25 – That’s it from me for the live-blogging tonight. It’s been pretty fun – plenty of awards, many of which ended up going to Adele… A lot of celebration – both of success and life, and a great deal of emotion. I really do hope you’ve enjoyed the Brit Awards as much as I did… Roll on 2017!

Jessica Allen

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