BRIT AWARDS 2018 commentary – Evening Standard, 22 Feb 2018

It was worth watching the BRIT Awards all the way to the end – traditionally the point when the Lifetime Achievement winner is trudging into their ninth song – to see, instead, Stormzy demonstrating why he more than deserved his status as man of the night.

First seen on the BRITs stage as part of Kanye West’s backing crew in 2015, here the south London rapper showed his many sides in a quickfire medley: proudly religious with a choir in the rain, bouncy and cartoonish during Big For Your Boots, and angry and political in a startling freestyle. He used his platform to demand of Theresa May: “Where’s that money for Grenfell?”

It was the most memorable moment in an evening that generally went better than usual. New host Jack Whitehall was genuinely funny, treading that tricky line between praising and teasing his subjects.

As awkward moments go, Damon Albarn and his Gorillaz collaborators having their speeches cut off curled the toes a little. ITV could have saved money on Kendrick Lamar and booked a mime artist, muting most of the hip hop great’s song for swearing at nearly 10pm.

The organisers avoided past accusations of lack of diversity, unlike the Grammys’ almost exclusively male prizegiving last month, by making Dua Lipa the other big winner. Both of her acceptance speeches were charming, the first being dedicated to “more women taking over the world.”

That left white bloke Ed Sheeran in the cold, but his disappointment enabled one of the most appealing BRITs ceremonies in years.

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