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BRITs power up for fully-fledged return

By | Published on Wednesday 9 February 2022

BRIT Awards 2022

The BRIT Awards happened. That’s a thing that there’s no denying. But how did it happen? And why? Those are questions that may or may not be answered here.

It was, of course, a night of big changes for the UK record industry’s big annual prize giving. Awards were no longer split between genders and genre-specific prizes were reintroduced. Plus, the social distancing that made the show so odd last year was gone.

It was also the first time in living memory that Jack Whitehall didn’t present, which was possibly the most exciting thing. The appearance of Mo Gilligan on stage was the first time I think any of us can remember a BRITs presenter wearing a suit that fit them properly.

As time wore on, I did start to miss Whitehall’s refusal to ever take the ceremony seriously. Gilligan played it fairly straight – possibly having a certain reverence for the event due to being a former BRIT School pupil. The show was light on jokes as a result, although he did manage to get carried away and swear at one point, which whoever was supposed to press the button to drop out the sound missed. So that was fun.

It was a night of confusing energy and climate crisis messages. The TV broadcast started with a skit about Gilligan having to travel to the show on a bicycle to be more eco-friendly. Cue him pulling up on a BMX, flanked by people doing all sorts of tricks around him. Good stuff. Then later on Liam Gallagher’s performance began with a video of him landing outside in a helicopter.

The stage set and the graphics for the show all featured BRIT trophy shaped pylons too. I assume this was supposed to convey something about the power of British music, but in the midst of an energy crisis, it just made me think about my rapidly rising bills. So much for escapism.

There were, of course, performances. And some pretty good ones too. Ed Sheeran opened the show, performing a semi-metal version of his song ‘Bad Habits’ with Bring Me The Horizon. Maybe Cradle Of Filth already had something on. BMTH frontman Oli Sykes spent the time swaggering around the stage like he wasn’t performing an Ed Sheeran song with Ed Sheeran. It wasn’t the KLF with Extreme Noise Terror but we’ll take it.

Another of the night’s big performances was nearly scuppered right as it began, as Anne-Marie almost ‘did a Madonna’. She, along with KSI and Digital Farm Animals, appeared for a three song medley – including their single ‘Don’t Play’ – but Anne-Marie stumbled down a small flight of stairs within seconds. Like a pro, she caught herself, laughed it off and carried on.

Little Simz turned in one of the night’s most impressive performances, playing the opening two tracks of her ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’ album, ‘Introvert’ and ‘Woman’. Dave closed the show, bringing out Fredo, Ghetts, Meekz and Giggs, as well as showing off his own guitar playing talents.

Oh, and that helicopter – plus a silly hat and a massive light show – did not distract enough from the fact that Liam Gallagher’s new single ain’t up to much.

Other performers included Adele, Rising Star awards winner Holly Humberstone, and Sam Fender. All of which were fine.

Let’s not forget as well, that awards were handed out. And it was bad news for all those people who kept saying that women wouldn’t win any awards if there weren’t awards just for women. Because women won pretty much all of the awards.

Yes, Adele won three of them, but Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lipa, Becky Hill, Wolf Alice, Billie Eilish and Little Simz also took away trophies. In total, nine of the thirteen prizes handed out last night went to female (or female-fronted, in the case of Wolf Alice) acts. And one of the other prizes seemed to be there simply so that Ed Sheeran would get something, so that probably doesn’t count.

Speaking of the winners, I wrote down who they were and everything. Here is that list:

Song Of The Year: Adele – Easy Of Me

International Song Of The Year: Olivia Rodrigo – Good For U

Album Of The Year: Adele – 30

Artist Of The Year: Adele

Group Of The Year: Wolf Alice

Songwriter Of The Year: Ed Sheeran

Best New Artist: Little Simz

Pop/R&B Act: Dua Lipa

Alternative/Rock Act: Sam Fender

Dance Act: Becky Hill

Hip Hop/Rap/Grime Act: Dave

International Artist: Billie Eilish

International Group Of The Year: Silk Sonic