Every Brit Awards ceremony needs at least one shock if it is to be remembered, as demonstrated by most of host James Corden’s jokes last night being about Adele’s speech being cut short last year. A Corden kiss for Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw, and Sharon Osbourne saying “willy”, may fade more quickly.
This was a slick operation, free of stage invasions and drunken acceptance speeches, which left the focus on the music. That was all very well when performers Muse were making the start sound like the end of the world and Taylor Swift was going dubstep while doing a Bucks Fizz thing with her dress, but the main winners, Emeli Sandé and Ben Howard, have made a virtue of their sheer ordinariness.
“I think I’m a very unlikely pop star,” said Sandé as she collected her second spotty statuette while dressed as though she was going to an office colleague’s wedding. She’s right.
Howard, the surf dude David Gray, made Ed Sheeran look like The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. He wasn’t the obvious choice for his two awards, yet having quietly gone platinum with his pretty debut album, he might finally be a household name after this week.
Pure pop was largely off the menu, so much so that they had to make up a new category, the Global Success Award, to give something to One Direction. That meant some more credible winners including remarkable R&B singer Frank Ocean and spooky chanteuse Lana Del Rey.
Despite all the fireworks it still looked a little low-rent at times. The Black Keys couldn’t even be bothered to make a sorry-we-couldn’t-be-bothered-to-come video, Chris Martin sent the drummer to do Coldplay’s speech, and Adele wasn’t coming near the place after last year, preferring to rehearse for the Oscars instead. Sandé, the best we have for now, closed proceedings with a whimper, not a bang.
THE 2013 BRIT AWARD WINNERS
British breakthrough act – Ben Howard
British female solo artist – Emeli Sandé
British group – Mumford & Sons
Live act – Coldplay
British male solo artist – Ben Howard
British producer – Paul Epworth
British single – Adele, Skyfall
Special recognition award – War Child
Brits global success (for international sales in 2012) – One Direction
Critics’ choice – Tom Odell
International female solo artist – Lana Del Rey
International group – Black Keys
International male solo artist – Frank Ocean
Best album – Emeli Sandé, Our Version Of Events