BBC MUSIC AWARDS, Excel Centre – Evening Standard, 13 Dec 2016

Superficially similar to the BRITs, with 768 fewer categories than the Grammys, the BBC Music Awards returned for a third year and didn’t carve out a space of its own in the crowded field of trophy giving.

Mainly it seems to be the awards ceremony with hardly any awards. Just five were handed out, of which three were to no-shows. Coldplay (Artist of the Year) made a little video. Adele (Album of the Year and Song of the Year, for music released in 2015) sent a note.

Grand productions for live performances from Emeli Sande and John Legend gave the required sense of occasion, but what was also missing was the talking point that makes an event a part of the national conversation. By way of controversy, Geri Horner got Zara Larsson’s name wrong and Robbie Williams, one of many musicians asked repeatedly about the “vibe” backstage, revealed that there is no vibe at the BRITs in comparison to the vibe here – bad vibes from someone who’s about to receive the BRITs Icon award to go with his other 17.

The biggest star here was the BBC itself, this show being an opportunity to remind viewers of its commitment to music broadcasting and stop them moaning about bringing back Top of the Pops. Nowhere else can The 1975 win BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge Performance of the Year, but I doubt they’ll treasure it as much as the BRITs they’ll get in February.

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