The triumph and the tragedy of the 2013 Brit Awards.
The BRIT Awards are renowned for playing host to mildly offensive and inappropriate behaviour from nominees, with music royalty having that rare evening off duty and utilising the occasion for a big ol’ knees up. Just think of Jarvis mooning Jacko.
But recently, the awards have come under critical attack. Industry insiders insist that the ceremony should be altered to showcase the true diversity of UK music rather than handing out gongs to fabricated categories in chart music. There’s also the added pressure on the show from its US equivalent, the Grammys (which took place just last week).
Despite everything, the Brit Awards still managed to get into the spirit of things yesterday. Showrockers Muse opened the show with a little help from a 60-piece orchestra and an impressive fireworks display. Olympic darling Emeli Sande quickly followed by scooping Best British Female and Best Album. Four-times platinum Mumford & Sons brought their banjos for a gutsy singalong of ‘I Will Wait’ before winning Best British Group. The real question on most onlookers’ lips was, ‘Who the fuck is Ben Howard?” (The Devon-born singer strolled home with two gongs and a whole lotta PR exposure).
But stage invasions, nip slips or bare arses were all nonexistent. Adele didn’t even flash the finger when she got her gong for Best Single. The only mildly risque thing was host James Corden purring innuendoes as he perched on Nick Grimshaw’s lap. Of course, Justin Timberlake brought the sex and swagger when he performed his new song ‘Mirrors’, but he left just as quickly for a whispered impromptu gig at KOKO.
The biggest performance of the night came from another American. Taylor Swift swapped her peasant dresses and country roots for a fiery performance of ‘Trouble’, but it was the watered-down equivalent to Rihanna’s striptease for S&M in 2011. And newly introduced Global Success Award went to One Direction (of course), who seemed to have hijacked Corden’s entire script and rewritten themselves into all his jokes. Some remarked that the award was invented just so the boisterous fivesome didn’t stumble into an afterparty empty handed, but no one – especially the record industry – can deny the Beatles-style mania hysteria that they generate worldwide.
But as smoothly executed as the awards were this year, it felt almost lackluster. The traditional duet performance, usually involving two of the country’s most favoured artists, is dead in the water. Jarvis’ bare arse wouldn’t be welcome here; all riotous behaviour was smothered by a somewhat arid atmosphere. But be that as it may, no one can contend the amount of talent that was on display under the roof of the O2. Sande alone should get another award for most number of appearances at an Olympic ceremony; and who
can deny Adele’s powerhouse vocals or the global triumph of another mop-top British boyband? Never mind the nip slips, the 2013 BRITS celebrated a night of triumphs, professionalism and – Tay Tay aside – proved Brits are reigning the modern pop throne.
Words: Shane Hawkins