BRIT AWARDS 2016 preview – Evening Standard, 19 Feb 2016

Next Wednesday the great and good of British pop music will don gowns and gather at the O2 Arena, patting each other on the back and celebrating the fact that the BRIT Awards are 17 hours shorter than the Grammys. Who’ll win? Who’ll lose? Who’ll cry? Who’ll send a half-arsed acceptance video over from America? These are the things we expect to be talking about when we flick over to ITV at 8pm on the night.

 

WILL RIHANNA SHOW UP?

She dropped out of the Grammys at the last minute blaming bronchitis, and failed to show up at last year’s BRITs too. Best assume the worst, especially as she’s not even nominated, and look forward to performances from more reliable folk such as Coldplay, Adele and James Bay.

 

HOW WILL ANT AND DEC DO?

Ant and Dec have very little to do with music and much more to do with eating unspeakable bits of animals in the jungle. They’re a safe pair of hands, unlike Mick Fleetwood and Sam Fox in 1989, but unlikely to stay in the memory. Expect a few calls for James Corden’s return, especially now that his Carpool Karaoke skits on YouTube are pulling in so many A-list singers.

 

WHAT KIND OF BOWIE TRIBUTE?

Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie seemed to hit an acceptable note at the Grammys with its innovative visuals and Jive Bunny mix of umpteen hits. The BRITs are rumoured to be giving the job to Kate Moss, Bono, Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher. In the TV listings the show is 20 minutes longer than usual, suggesting that they’re going to go to town with it.

 

LAURA MVULA’S NOT GOING!

It’s a quieter protest than the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, but the soul singer has said she won’t be at the BRITs. “I guess the problem for me is knowing that there are young black kids growing up feeling that they’re not acknowledged in society, in media and in mainstream music,” she said. While this year’s international nominees are fairly diverse, Naughty Boy is the only person of colour in the homegrown categories.

 

WHAT WILL ADELE SING?

The four-time BRIT nominee had mixed reviews for her Grammys performance. Plus she did All I Ask, the boring one that sounds like Celine Dion. Having begun her ascent to superstardom when she sang Someone Like You at the BRITs in 2011, no doubt she’ll fare better in front of a home crowd.

 

IS THIS THE LAST ONE DIRECTION SIGHTING?

Their tour’s over, ex-member Zayn Malik has just been at number one, and 1D are officially on hiatus while they plan four more solo careers. If the foursome do show up at the O2 to acknowledge their nominations for Best Video and Best British Group, it may be the last time we see them in the same room.

 

WILL THERE BE ANY LIVE COLLABORATIONS?

The BRITs often throw up a surprise duet. Who could forget Justin Timberlake grabbing Kylie’s bum in 2003, or the dream team, Rihanna and Klaxons, in 2008? This year the collaborations are likely to come in the Bowie tribute, but we can still hold out hope for Beyonce to pop up with her pals Coldplay again.

 

WILL ANYONE SURPRISING WIN?

While the nominations can often provide a few names from leftfield, I can’t think of a shock winner since Belle and Sebastian took Best Newcomer In 1999. The one who’s sold the most records is almost always victorious, so Jamie xx, Father John Misty and Courtney Barnett needn’t bother getting a speech ready.

 

WILL EAGLES OF DEATH METAL BE ACKNOWLEDGED?

Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme’s rock band were thrown into the spotlight for the worst possible reason last November, when the massacre at the Bataclan venue in Paris took place at their concert. They now find themselves nominated in the International Group category. A victory would allow for a memorable acceptance speech.

 

NEVER MIND ALL THAT, WHAT ABOUT THE UNSCRIPTED CONTROVERSY?

What can you remember about last year’s BRITs ceremony? Nothing at all apart from Madonna falling on her arse, I’ll bet. The organisers will officially be praying that nobody attempts a Jarvis Cocker-style stage invasion, or a Chumbawumba-style assault on a politician, but secretly crossing all their fingers that they do.

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