James Corden was host again, for the third year in a row. He’s clearly seen as a safe pair of hands for this, but he was worse at it this year. He seemed bored throughout, I’m sure he was more enthusiastic last year. Having said, while I think he was a worse presenter this year I actually laughed a little at some of his jokes this time. He mentioned a few popstar themed shops, one of them was “Lidl Mix”, commented that Critic’s Choice winner Tom Odell looked a bit like Chesney Hawkes and a made a comment about the horsemeat scandal when introducing Justin Timberlake, “95% beefcake with just a little touch of horse”.
Damien Hirst designed the trophy, but really the BRIT Awards trophy is the same basic design every year, it just gets a new coat of paint now and again. This time it was white with multi-coloured polka dots. It looked a bit like someone had wrapped it up for someone’s birthday present.
The main talking point from last year’s ceremony was the blown out of all proportion business of Adele getting interrupted for News At Ten when she got the Best British Album award. James Corden perhaps made a few too many jokey references to that incident, none of which were very funny. Adele herself made the most amusing soundbite about it all with the video message she did to accept the Best British Single award for ‘Skyfall’. “I won’t keep you too long because I don’t want to interrupt the best album speech at the end of the night”.
Talking of soundbites, it’s hard to say which popstar made the most pretentious comments of the evening. Lana Del Ray in her speech after winning the Best International Female Solo Artist award talking about trying to “turn [her] life into a work of art” is one example. But I think Plan B was much worse in a video going on about “social comment” and “artistic expression” and so on in his album Ill Manors. I was kind of pleased he didn’t win anything after that.
The narration got a few bits of trivia in when the winners went up to collect their awards. My favourite ones were that Best British Male Solo Artist and Best British Breakthrough Act winner Ben Howard recorded his album in a barn and Lana Del Rey used to be a metaphysics student.
One Direction got the Global Success award, which seemed to be one of those awards created just for the purpose of being a special award for a particular act. Their performance saw them performing on a giant pinball machine doing a medley of Blondie’s ‘One Way Or Another’ and The Undertones ‘Teenage Kicks’. There were screams from the crowd through all the show, but they got noticeably more high-pitched when One Direction were on. I probably should dislike One Direction for all these reasons, but to be honest I don’t mind them too much or begrudge them their success. At least they’re not The Wanted.
Muse opened the show, and while I’m not as much of a fan of them as I used to be (I used to adore them), they can always be relied on to put on a good live performance. Taylor Swift with probably her best song ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ performed with a stage full of falling snowflakes, candles and chandeliers in the background, first in a long white dress with her hair in a bun, then changed to a raunchier shorter black outfit with her hair down for a dubstep-style dance breakdown. Ben Howard performed ‘Only Love’ with his acoustic guitar and a woman playing a cello, which was quite nice. So they were my top three performances. My least favourite was between Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake, as they both seemed to be phoning it in.
I didn’t have any real objections to any of the winners. Mumford & Sons Best British Group- fair enough. Emeli Sande Best British Female Solo Artist and Best British Album – fair enough. Most of the awards were like that. I wouldn’t say I was a fan of all the winners, but they were all quite good at what they do.
But overall it was a rather bland ceremony. Before even the first hour was up I was looking at my watch wondering how long was left to go.