The late David Bowie won two awards in an evening of big moments.
The 37th Brit Awards took place yesterday evening at the O2 Arena in London. A huge night in the music calendar, the awards always provide some big moments and this year was no difference. Hosted by the annoyingly cheerful Dermot O’Leary and Emma Willis, the ceremony was opened by Little Mix with a powerful, robotic styled performance of hit single Shout Out To My Ex, a performance which was designed and executed so flawlessly that it highlighted the group’s position at the top of the music industry.
The first award of the evening went to Emeli Sande, who surprisingly won Best Female Solo Artist. The award was a surprise in our opinion given that the new album is somewhat disappointing but in general the category and nominations were poor. Sande later performed a brilliant rendition of Hurt.
Following an incredible 2016, The 1975 deservedly won Best British Group, a category which was possibly the hardest to choose from given that the other nominees were Radiohead, Biffy Clyro, Bastille and Little Mix. Singer Marr Healy used his acceptance speech to speak out on the need for artists to be different and move away from the norm. He also touched on the importance of albums as a whole for artists and for the band themselves. The Manchester four piece performed The Sound as the show, which included digital placards containing depreciating social media messages about the band which was humorous.
Zane Lowe presented British Male Solo Artist to Lazarus actor Michael C Hall on behalf of the late David Bowie. In Hall’s speech he humorously declared that “If David Bowie could be here tonight, he probably wouldn’t be here tonight”, a reference to the late singer’s refusal to stick to conventions and public appearances. We can’t disagree with the incredible influence that David Bowie had on society as a whole but we can’t help but feel sorry for Skepta, who in 2016 won the Mercury Music Prize, played the Glastonbury main stage and brought Grime up into the mainstream.
The British Breakthrough Act award which was voted by listener’s of Radio 1 and presented by Rita Ora and the despicably annoying Nick Grimshaw, went to Rag’n’Bone Man who won the Brit’s Critics Choice Award earlier on this year. He is a hugely talented artist but it is a questionable decision within a category that included Mercury Prize winner Skepta and Stockport’s huge breakthrough band Blossoms.
Best British Single went to Little Mix with their first ever BRiT Award for Shout Out To My Ex, a song which became the group’s fourth Number One single and stayed in that position for five weeks. Adele was awarded The Global Success award which celebrated the singers incredible worldwide success over 2016 following on from album 25.
In bizarre fashion, probably due to the lack of ability from the award organisers to efficiently plan the events timing, we were given the winners of International Male, International Female and International Group all in one go. Drake, winner of International Male, sent a video message which included a shoutout to Skepta and Boy Better Know. Unfortunately there was no time to properly congratulate Best International Female who was Beyonce, and Best International Group, who was A Tribe Called Quest.
The overtly pointless award for Best British Video, an award which ignores the whole point of the ceremony, which is the music, started with an unnecessarily random “Waaaaassssssup BRIT’s” from Nicole Scherziger, who presented the award with Simon Cowell. Cowell incidentally spent an age to announce that One Direction had won the award for their video of History, and then decided to interupt Louis Tomlinson’s speech, so overall, it was a true display of what a pointless award it really is.
What followed, was the complete opposite. Ed Sheeran took to the stage and gave everyone in the room and those watching on TV a complete masterclass on how to perform live. Sheeran opened with Castle on the Hill before launching into the addictevly catchy Shape of You in which he was then joined by Grime star Stomzy in a remix that will live long in BRIT’s history.
The big award for Album of the Year was awarded to David Bowie’s Blackstar. It was a poignant moment in the ceremony which celebrated an album that was deemed Bowie’s parting gift to the world. Bowie’s son Duncan Jones collected the award on his father’s behalf and gave an emotional speech on what must have been a moving evening for the family.
Performance wise, we were treated to a variety of world leading artists. Bruno Mars gave a slick performance of That’s What I Like, which highlighted the extraordinary live show he manages to give every day. Katy Perry gave a peculiar performance of the brilliant Chained to the Rhythm, which saw the American singer looking lost whilst dancing amongst a sea of bouncing houses before Skip Marley came on to perform his powerful verse.
Grime king Skepta performed an intensely energetic version of Shutdown. The performance, that just featured Skepta bouncing around the stage, was a huge statement of how the genre has risen in the last year.
A short but sweet tribute to all the people in the music industry that we lost in 2016, including David Bowie and Prince, concluded in a special tribute to George Michael, in which Coldplay frontman Chris Martin played A Different Corner alongside a recording of Michael himself. The performance was emotional and incredibly special for all watching, many of which understood the impact the late singer had on the world during his career.
We were treated to a huge, special collaboration between Coldplay and The Chainsmokers, who debuted new song Something Just Like This.
Robbie Williams, who claimed The BRIT’s Icon award at a special ceremony before the show, was closed the ceremony with a collection of recent hits. His performance was unfortunately marred with technical difficulties which was a real shame given his incredible live shows.
Overall it was a great show for performances but some awards really left us baffled in how they were decided. More importantly, the neglect of grime music in the awards was a big mistake by the organisers, given the dominance the genre had in 2016. Who knows what we will have in 2018 but given the incredible music that’s already been released, we can’t wait.