BRIT AWARDS commentary – Evening Standard, 25 Feb 2016

Ordinarily too boring to be remembered for anything other than its unscripted mishaps, the BRIT Awards 2016 will go down as the year in which Adele won absolutely everything. British Female, British Single, Global Success and British Album – as I recall, she won International Group too.


The Tottenham singer even took home the unofficial award for unplanned moment of the night, though with nothing as dramatic as Madonna’s cape malfunction of 2015, when she slipped out an F-word before the TV people could find their mute button.


Adele has still won nowhere near as many BRITs as Robbie Williams, but is just as much a primary face of the institution. The ceremony has provided some of the key events of her career: setting her newly released 21 album off on its way to the record books with a solo performance of Someone Like You in 2011, cutting short her winner’s speech due to poor TV scheduling in 2012, and now giving her five moments in the sun, including her performance as a fitting close to the night.


Looking at her sales figures – 19 million copies shifted worldwide of 25, an album that came out three months ago – it’s no wonder she dominated at a ceremony that is all about commercial measures of success. It seemed appropriate to the scale of her domination that one of her awards was presented by Tim Peake from space.


Elsewhere, trophies for male sales successes James Bay, Coldplay and One Direction were predictable, but there were a few surprises. Relatively leftfield bands Catfish and the Bottlemen and Tame Impala were given prizes, Rihanna actually showed up and brought Drake, and the David Bowie tribute was well judged, with Bowie’s own band backing striking young singer Lorde for an emotional, red-lit rendition of Life on Mars?


It was only one woman’s night, however. Adele’s reign continues.