Stormzy and Dua Lipa both took home two trophies at the Brits, but there’s always more to the show than the awards.
On a night of joy and disappointment, X-rated confessions and spectacular performances, who were the real winners and losers at the O2 Arena?
Most dress – Dua Lipa
So much dress, in fact, that it took two or three people to move it around.
Dua‘s baby pink tiered Giambattista Valli gown was an extravaganza of ruffles – but she wasn’t being precious about it.
“There’s a lot of it, so if it gets damaged I can pick up a piece from somewhere else.”
Best mum – Emma Bunton
Emma Bunton‘s kids were disappointed they couldn’t come to the Brit Awards, so she threw them their own awards ceremony on Tuesday.
“We had orange juice, they did a little performance, and they won best male and best group.”
Biggest snub – Ed Sheeran
He might have sold 12.8 million albums last year, but Ed Sheeran was shut out of the Brits. His only prize was the global success award, which recognises commercial success, while best male, best album, best single and best video all went to other artists.
There’s certainly a sense that the industry isn’t on his side right now – he was similarly overlooked at the Grammys – but it’s hard to work out what he’s done wrong.
Perhaps voters felt his latest album, ÷, was too safe, or cynically commercial, to deserve a prize. Or maybe they just really, really hated Galway Girl.
Either way, it feels odd that the star couldn’t catch a break in his home country.
Sauciest confession – Cheryl
“You’re performing later, you’re doing a song from the Fifty Shades of Grey movie,” he said. “Sounds pretty saucy, is there a safe word?”
Liam gallantly threw the question to Cheryl, saying: “She knows that.”
Without batting an eyelid, she leaned into the microphone and said two words.
Most thrilling performance – Stormzy
Stormzy‘s performance was a show-stopper, and not just because it literally came at the end of the ceremony.
Still beaming after winning best album, the star showed the full range of his talents in a performance that encompassed the heartfelt gospel of Blinded By Your Grace and the tongue-twisting wordplay of Big For Your Boots.
But in the middle, he did something special – a ferocious freestyle verse that took aim at the government’s response to the Grenfell fire.
“Yo, Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell?” he rapped. “What, you thought we forgot about Grenfell?
“You’re criminals, and you got the cheek to call us savages? You should do some jail time, you should pay some damages. We should burn your house down and see if you can manage this?”
In true Stormzy style, though, the rap wove the personal into the political, and he went on to talk about his pride in seeing other black British stars succeeding, including model Jourdan Dunn and actor Daniel Kaluuya.
“When Dan Kaluuya won the Bafta, I could have cried,” he grinned.
Speaking to the BBC afterwards, the rapper said he wanted to use his platform “to say something bigger” than “yeah, it’s the Stormzy show”.
“This isn’t about me. It’s about Grenfell, it’s about all the things I said in that lyric.”
Narrowest escape from injury – Taylor Swift
Technically this happened three years ago but we only found out about it tonight, and it’s our public duty to inform you that Taylor Swift narrowly escaped a black eye at the Brit Awards.
Mike Kerr from Royal Blood revealed the incident, while grassing up his musical partner Ben Thatcher as the culprit.
“We went into her dressing room to say hello, and Ben opened a bottle of champagne,” he recalled. “The cork nearly hit her in the face and knocked her out”.
“I get a little overexcited sometimes,” said Ben, sheepishly.
Greatest hook-up – Haim and Nile Rodgers
“You are the funkiest man I’ve ever heard,” she gushed as the Chic guitarist greeted her with a hug.
“I’m literally… I wish I was wearing a diaper right now,” she said.
When they record an album together, you can thank us.
Most outrageous robbery – Harry Styles
The video for Dua Lipa’s New Rules is unquestionably brilliant. Its message of women supporting women chimes perfectly with the times; and the iconic choreography inspired hundreds of tributes and covers.
Last week, it clocked up its one billionth play on YouTube. At 22, Dua is now the youngest female artist ever to reach that milestone.
So why wasn’t it in the running for best British video? Because the Brits opens that category up to a fan vote, which meant Dua was dumped from the longlist in favour of multiple videos by former members of One Direction.
In the end, the not-very-good video for Harry Styles’s not-very-good Sign Of The Times won. A complete travesty.
Nicest surprise – Jack Whitehall
Hosting the Brits is a poisoned chalice. The audience aren’t listening, the artists aren’t interested and the script is perennially awful.
But, amazingly, Jack Whitehall pulled it out of the bag with a series of acid-tongued one-liners. Like these ones:
- On Rag ‘N’ Bone Man: “The man with the voice of an angel and the beard of a wizard”.
- On Sam Smith: “If you like Adele songs, but find them too upbeat, you’re in for a treat as Sam Smith will be performing!”
- On The Voice judges: “It’s a knight of the realm, an Oscar-winner and… Olly Murs.”
Biggest metaphor failure – Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar performed Feel, a song about how stardom left him feeling isolated, while a dancer smashed an orange Lamborghini with a baseball bat.
His intention was to make a statement about the emptiness of status symbols and the trappings of fame. But, with most viewers unable to hear his lyrics, it came off as “I’m so rich I can afford to smash up this very expensive car live on TV.”
Biggest softies – Dave Grohl and Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa brought her little brother and sister up on stage when she won best breakthrough artist, because she wants them to follow their dreams.
“I told them to believe in magic, because it’s real,” she said. “And this is the closest I’ve come to it – so I wanted them to experience it first hand.”
But she wasn’t the only one thinking about family. Dave Grohl might have picked up the Foo Fighters‘ fourth Brit Award for best international group, but the highlight of his night was getting Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown to record a video message for his daughter.
“My daughter is such a huge fan of Stranger Things that she draws pictures of Millie Bobby Brown and puts them up around her bedroom,” he told BBC 5 live.
“She also shaved her head to look like Millie Bobby Brown – so when she gets home from school and sees the video I just took, it’ll be the biggest thing that ever happened.”
Best dressing gown – Leigh-Anne Pinnock
We never got an adequate explanation for Leigh-Anne’s sartorial decision. Maybe she just slept in.
Whatever happened, Little Mix were available to give us an update on their fifth album, which they’re aiming to have ready for the end of the year.
“We’ve only done a few sessions so far,” said Jade Thirlwall. “And we go back to work next week, all the way through March.”
The band will “hopefully” have a new single in time for their stadium tour this summer, she added.
“That’s the aim: To have something ready by then. But we don’t want to rush things.”
Least drunk ‘drunk woman’ – Este Haim
While Jack Whitehall was interviewing Liam and Cheryl, TV viewers spotted an “absolutely plastered” woman in the background mouthing the words “Call Me”.
Only it wasn’t a random record company executive, it was bass-playing pop phenomenon Este Haim.
“Not drunk, just living my truth,” she tweeted.