It was the UK’s return to indoor reside audio, marking the get started of the road again to normality – and this year’s Brit Awards struck just the appropriate tone, with energetic performances and stand-out style as effectively as poignant and political times.
With (practically) no virtual factors, and no social distancing or masks – as aspect of a governing administration tests plan – the ceremony surely manufactured for a considerably far better watch for viewers at property than other folks these types of as the BAFTAs and the Oscars before this year.
This year’s Brits winners had been just about all gals, with Dua Lipa, Minor Mix, Arlo Parks and Taylor Swift all collecting awards. But there ended up quite a few other large times, far too.
NHS and critical personnel honoured – and Boris named out
With 2,500 of the 4,000 tickets gifted to vital employees, this year’s Brits was constantly going to shine a gentle on their outstanding operate during the pandemic.
But, as Lipa set it in her initially acceptance speech of the evening, this must be about a lot more than just clapping.
“It can be incredibly fantastic to clap for them, but we require to pay them,” she mentioned as she gathered the award for best woman solo artist.
“I think what we ought to do is we need to all give a massive, enormous spherical of applause and give Boris (Johnson) a information that we all assist a truthful fork out rise for our front line.”
Her speech was fulfilled with rapturous applause from the group.
Harry Designs and Swift also paid out tribute to health workers, with Swift indicating that when we have wanted tunes over the last year, “what we needed even additional was the enable and assistance that we got from the NHS and the critical employees who are right here tonight”.
Rag’n’Bone Male and P!nk applied their overall performance to honour the health and fitness assistance, singing their music Wherever From Here together with the Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir and boosting money for charity.
Small Combine make historical past
In the 41-calendar year heritage of the Brits, no female band has ever gained the award for ideal group. Right up until now.
Tiny Combine, now a trio pursuing the departure of Jesy Nelson last 12 months, dedicated the award to the Spice Girls and Ladies Aloud, stating they could not imagine they experienced by no means gained.
Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards took to the phase and bundled Nelson in their thank yous as they accepted the award.
“It’s not straightforward remaining a woman in the United kingdom pop sector,” Pinnock said. “We have found white male dominance, misogyny, sexism and lack of diversity.
“We are very pleased of how we have caught together, stood our ground and surrounded ourselves with strong women and are now working with our voices more than ever.”
The Brits acquire will come immediately after Pinnock and Edwards declared pregnancies earlier this thirty day period, and the pair joked on stage that they experienced “newborn brains”.
Social gathering environment
Past 12 months, some 12,000 people today packed into the O2 Arena for the Brits 2020, a person of the very last large dwell situations held prior to the coronavirus pandemic took maintain.
That demonstrate noticed Lizzo holding fans’ hands whilst supplying out her microphone, and Sir Rod Stewart singing pretty much cheek-to-cheek with Rolling Stones star Ronnie Wooden.
This yr, protection actions have been quickly obvious on moving into the arena, with hand sanitiser on display and reminders to don masks in specific spots.
But when the 2021 ceremony was pared again, the crowd – pleased to witness the extensive-awaited return of live audio – was so enthusiastic they manufactured up for the deficiency of quantities.
Though Coldplay opened the show from the River Thames, and Dua Lipa’s medley of hits obtained everyone in the get together temper, it was two of the later performances that stood out.
Olly Alexander and Sir Elton John teamed up to accomplish a extraordinary model of the Pet Shop Boys’ 1980s hit, It truly is A Sin, impressed by the Channel 4 series of the exact identify which Alexander starred in. The demonstrate explored the HIV and AIDS crisis in London and created headlines following its release previously this calendar year.
The Many years And Several years frontman, 30, and Sir Elton, 74, have been joined on stage by drag queens and executed in opposition to a backdrop of multi-coloured strobes.
Rapper Headie One made use of his overall performance to consider purpose at the govt about free school meals, and also tackled the unfavorable public perception of drill tunes.
Doing his music Ain’t It Different together with fellow nominee AJ Tracey, the 26-calendar year-outdated appeared inside of a box designed by trend designer Virgil Abloh, included in newspaper clippings, with media offers describing drill as “a type of aggressive rap music” and “a symptom of societal failings”.
In a new verse, he praised footballer Marcus Rashford for his marketing campaign to extend the meals voucher process. “The authorities is declaring try to eat out to help out but will not help out Rashford when he’s feeding the youths,” he rapped.
In advance of the ceremony, the Brits had announced that winners this yr would acquire two trophies – one particular larger sized, multicoloured statuette, as properly as a lesser metallic version – with stars encouraged to share with someone critical to them as an “act of kindness”.
Of all the winners, it was Lipa who acknowledged this on phase, sharing her to start with award for ideal woman solo artist with Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, the emeritus professor of nursing at the College of West London.
Her second gong, for greatest album, the star dedicated to Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, regarded as Jimi, a youthful male who not too long ago died following leaping into the River Thames to save a girl.
Contacting for a posthumous bravery award for Mr Olubunmi-Adewole, Lipa reported he “heroically attempted to rescue a lady who had fallen from London Bridge and tragically… did not survive”.
Taylor Swift in the dwelling
The Brits’ world icon award experienced only at any time been handed out three times right before – to Elton John, Robbie Williams and David Bowie.
It returned this calendar year as an honour for US star Taylor Swift, who made some thing of a shock look in man or woman to select up the prize. (She has obtained a British boyfriend, so ideally did not have also significantly to vacation).
Accepting the award from Match Of Thrones star Maisie Williams, Swift commenced by discussing her passion for the hit exhibit. “Recreation Of Thrones is my existence,” the star mentioned, just before lamenting the reality she couldn’t hug Williams.
Swift then went on to offer you terms of encouragement to up-and-coming musicians, acknowledging the “a lot of extraordinary new artists in this area tonight and a great deal of men and women watching who have targets and ambitions and dreams for by themselves”.
She continued: “I want you to hear me when I say that there is no vocation route that will come free of negativity. If you are currently being met with resistance, that possibly implies that you are accomplishing a little something new.
“If you are dealing with turbulence or stress, that in all probability implies you are climbing, and there could possibly be times when you set your complete heart and soul into a little something and it truly is met with cynicism or scepticism.
“You are unable to permit that crush you, you have to permit it gas you, for the reason that we stay in a globe where by everyone has the proper to say anything that they want about you at any time, but just be sure to remember that you have the ideal to prove them erroneous.”
How do you top Swift?
By acquiring a previous US to start with woman to current an award, of training course.
Indeed, Michelle Obama was on hand to dish out the prize for very best worldwide male solo artist to The Weeknd, who beat functions which includes Tame Impala and Bruce Springsteen.
In contrast to Swift, Mrs Obama failed to make it in individual, but you are not able to have anything.
Presenting the award remotely, she praised The Weeknd for his charitable function as very well as for giving “a light that is fairly blinding and supplying us all a motive to dance”.
So which is a global icon, a previous 1st woman and a historical past-generating girl team – as well as they pulled off the ideal awards ceremony of the very last 12 months.
The Brit Awards 2022 will have a lot to live up to.