With seasoned presenting pros Ant and Dec at the helm and only 12 awards to get through one would think that there would be a distinct lack of drama at the Brit Awards 2016. Well you’d be mostly right.
The evening kicked off with Ant and Dec leading us through the backstage area of the Brits telling us it was bigger and that everyone had ‘upped their game’ this year, leaving me thinking of (and wishing I was watching) Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number to the 2013 Tony Awards. Perhaps not the best or most original start and then things got a little odd. As we descended into a packed O2 Arena to really start the show off it seemed it had been invaded by the back-up dancers from Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ wearing Roman Centurion helmets. I assume a nod to the awards which had been specially designed for the night, they certainly mentioned them enough.
The musical performances which really make up so much of the show were a real mixed-bag. Coldplay performed well and in their usual fashion (wisely choosing to keep the stage for themselves this time, with) Jess Glynne, James Bay and The Weeknd also impressing. Justin Beiber surprised by performing a stripped rendition of ‘Love Yourself’ with James Bay, beside a campfire no less. Subtlety was quickly dispensed with as Justin launched into ‘Sorry’, and flames exploded all over the stage to the point it became hard to see the dancers. I did fear for their safety at one point.
Also, hotly anticipated after her last minute withdrawal from the Grammys, Rihanna performed ‘Consideration’ and ‘Work’, with a special appearance from Drake whose main purpose seemed to be to help her re-enact Miley Cyrus’2013 VMAs escapade. Adele was her usually classy self as she closed he show with ‘When We Were Young’, but for me it was Little Mix who won the best performance award. With a full production that felt more like an opening number than the one we had been given, the girls threw themselves into a high voltage performance of ‘Black Magic’ that will certainly
Other stand out moments from the night included the censor missing one of Adele’s tearfully dropped f-bombs, everyone struggling to find the camera, a nearly-naked woman inserting herself in between a bemused/terrified Ant and Dec, and Adele publically announcing her support for Kesha. #FreeKesha.
One thing that everyone had been waiting for was the David Bowie tribute, with Annie Lennox and Gary Oldman leading the show in paying their respects. With so many of the acceptance speeches running far shorter than expected, there seemed to be no rush or pressure, allowing Annie and Gary to take their time and offer their heartfelt tributes to David Bowie, as both a man and an icon. Lorde rounded off the pleasingly sedate tribute with a simple and surprisingly good performance of ‘Life on Mars’ .
The Brit Awards 2016 wasn’t awful and it wasn’t amazing, it was just a little awkward and boring. At two hours and twenty minutes long it felt bloated, there were no real surprises when it came to who was going to win what and Adele coming out as Queen of the night was already a given. The Awards seem only there to confirm what people already know rather than to challenge or bring something new to the table, but I suppose that’s not really what these award shows are for. Oh well, that’s it for this year; no doubt it’ll be the same old hat again next time around.
Full List of Winners
British Female Solo Artist – Adele
British Male Solo Artist – James Bay
British Group – Coldplay
British Breakthrough Act – Catfish and the Bottlemen
British Single – Adele ‘Hello’
Mastercard British Album of the Year – Adele ‘25’
British Artist Video – One Direction ‘Drag Me Down’
International Male Solo Artist – Justin Beiber
International Female Solo Artist – Björk
International Group – Tame Impala
British Producer of the Year – Charlie Andrew
Critic’s Choice – Jack Garratt