Earlier, winning song of the year with Easy on Me, Adele expressed surprise that a) there were so many nominees and b) a piano ballad could win against them. Well, it turns out that she bucked the trend in a couple of areas.
Research commissioned by Mastercard, sponsor of the Brit awards, into songs nominated in the song of the year category across 40 years of the Brits, found some key changes (‘scuse the pun):
- In the 80s, the average song length was 4m30s; today it’s 3m07s
- More than half of the song of the year nominees had one-word titles in 2021: almost double when compared to the 80s and 90’s (27%)
- The earliest winners of SOTY started with verses; winners now typically start with choruses (that’s the impact of streaming services for you – always out to hook us in the first 30 seconds)
- Modern tracks average five songwriters versus the single-writer songs common of the 80s
- And of the 329 songs analysed… 60% of the lyrics were about romantic love <333
As they say on the quiz show… Quite Interesting!
Wolf Alice win group of the year
Måneskin, in their fetching matching blue-and-pink, present Wolf Alice with group of the year.
Theo Ellis says the win is “absolutely unbelievable: I think we’re quite shocked. We’d really like to thank our record label, who completely took us to this position that we’re in right now. Without them, we would never have got here. We’d so proud to be a band in this day and age… I’m going to get battered.”
Joff Oddie chips in to suggest forming a supergroup with Måneskin. Ellie Rowsell looks too thrilled to speak.
Nominees for the award were Coldplay, D-Block Europe, Little Mix and London Grammar.
It’s Liam Gallagher
He’s flown in by helicopter to ‘av it in a trapper hat and sing a brand new song that precisely nobody wants to hear. If your new music sounds like plodding, fist-through-a-wet-paper-bag Oasis cast-offs – and you’re going to bring Bonehead with you on guitar! – just play the hits, man! Having Liam here is a strange tactic from the Brits, too, if they’re looking to lure in a younger audience, although I was recently disturbed to learn of the massive cohort of teenage Britpop lovers using TikTok to debate whether Liam or Noel was the biggest dilf. (Liam tbf.) Apparently this song was inspired by Gimme Shelter, which is quite the understatement given that telling bit of piano boogie at the end, literally the only trace of colour in a ferociously drab, pile-driving four minutes.
“Oh my gosh, how epic was that!” says Mo Gilligan. Not epic at all, Mo. The days when Liam could coast on fronting at the Brits are long, long gone.
at 9.05pm GMT
Mo Gilligan in a bucket hat and sunglasses, going “Maaaaaaybeeeeeeee” before the ad break, reminds us that Liam Gallagher is imminently due to perform.
Earlier today on Absolute Radio, Gallagher was invited to reminisce about his “incredible” walk to the stage to collect an award at the Brits in 1995. Host Dave Berry likened the one-track shot of a wiggling Liam, in dark glasses and longline track jacket, to being “like Goodfellas”. Liam seems to just about remember:
“Oh yeah … Oh yeah. Is it the one where I’ve got a dark jacket on, a black jacket on? And I’m smoking as well, weren’t I? Ah, I’m just thinking … give it here! Give it here! It’s mine. [Standing up] It’s not his! It’s mine. I’m just making sure our kid [Noel Gallagher] doesn’t come up and overtake me – a bit of road rage on the way to the stage. But nah, nah – I was just mad for getting on that stage, and collecting what was ours.”
In fact Blur won four awards, the most any artist has gained in a single ceremony, to Oasis’s one for British Breakthrough Act – hence why it might not be high among Liam’s most cherished memories.
at 8.59pm GMT
Becky Hill wins dance artist
We’re getting through them at great pace now.
An emotional, even euphoric Becky Hill, in emerald green sequins, notes the importance of winning a fan-voted award: “I have never been so heartwarm’d – I don’t even know if that’s a word …
“I have been a little drum’n’bass raver since I was 12 years old: I love dance music, and to be up against people like Raye, Joel [Corry], Fred [Again], Calvin [Harris] is an honour.”
at 9.00pm GMT
“She is one of our hottest new artists,” says Mo Gilligan, of a rapper who released her debut mixtape in 2010. Come on, Mo! It sometimes feels like Simz is kept in a perpetual state of arrival, hailed as a “breakout star” when she’s been releasing brilliant albums for the last six years. But if anything is finally going to rocket launch her into public consciousness, it is this unbelievable, grin-inducing performance.
It starts with Simz concealed by dancers clad in burgundy, a vision of communality that recalls Solange’s gorgeous live shows. She emerges from their midst in a fabulous black leather trench coat to sing the title track from her 2021 album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, picking her up and twirling her overhead. Then Emma Corrin – yes, The Crown’s Princess Diana! – appears to perform their interstitial parts from the album, encouraging Simz to embrace the journey of becoming a woman.
And then, like magic, the stage turns red, Simz’s leather coat has become a soft furry number, and she’s flanked by dancers in silky pantsuits for the wonderful Woman, with its chorus vocals by Cleo Sol. Simz may be shy in person, but she’s in her element on stage: effortlessly cool, putting the night’s previous try-hard performances to shame, rapping with spirit and admiration and well earned confidence as she sings of “innovating just like Donna Summer in the 80s”.
“Woman to woman, I just wanna see you glow, tell ‘em!” she sings, popping a little shoulder flex. I can report a sensation of rosy warmth from the sofa, so I hope Simz is absolutely basking in it.
at 8.50pm GMT
Sam Fender wins alternative/rock award
Ronnie Wood’s “favourite”, our very own angel of the north – Sam Fender wins the alternative/rock award. “I had a plan, and now I’ve forgotten it, so I’m just going to say thanks to the fans,” he says.
He also thanks his manager – “for walking into that pub years ago, and believing in it” – and his hometown North Shields.
In August, he told the Guardian’s music editor Ben Beaumont-Thomas about his journey to embracing himself as an “empathic little softie”.
He’s nominated for three awards tonight (including album of the year), and is performing for the first-time tonight.
Dua Lipa wins Pop/R&B artist of the year
This is one of the four new genre-specific categories of the new-look Brits, voted on by the public. Dula Peep (as she’s known to friends) was up against Adele, Ed Sheeran, Griff and Joy Crookes.
She’s not attending the ceremony tonight, due to a rehearsal schedule in the US, but sent a video of herself surrounded by loved ones/professional collaborators to say thanks.
Our pleasure, Dula Peep!
“Boris, I know you’re watching,” says host Mo Gilligan. “I know you love a party. Come down, man.”
It might not be the last political comment of the night. In 2020, rapper Dave called the PM a racist on stage and rebuked the media over their treatment of Meghan Markle in what was described as “the most important performance in the history of the Brits”.
The home secretary, Priti Patel, was critical of Dave’s performance, suggesting that he must not know Johnson very well (“no way is he a racist”); but media watchdog Ofcom rejected more than 300 complaints of the performance, saying that it was “likely to be within viewers’ expectations of this well-established awards ceremony”.
at 8.31pm GMT
Anne Marie and KSI
“Another iconic collaboration,” says Mo Gilligan, introducing Anne Marie and KSI. We get a bit of an Anne Marie medley at the start – then she takes a very painful looking tumble down the red steps at the top of the stage! To her credit, she pulls it back with barely a wince and rejoins the choreo in seconds. Within seconds, she’s slapping a button, triggering some pyro, and kicking a man off a podium (must have been cathartic after that fall). Sadly, she does not do a Patti Smith at Glastonbury and shout: “Yeah, I fell on my fucking ass at Glastonbury. But you know why? Because I’m a fucking animal, that’s why!” Instead, there’s a man wearing a pink egg for a head on the decks, then here’s KSI and off they go into Don’t Play Games With My Heart for half a minute before we get KSI’s Holiday, a phenomenally drippy lighters-up moment. Iconic? Errr …
at 8.32pm GMT
A gasp over here as Anne Marie falls down the stairs, seconds into her live performance of Kiss My (Uh Oh) – her Madonna moment! A fantastic recovery, though, befitting of a pro.
Olivia Rodrigo wins international song of the year
As we recover from that Courteney Cox/Snow Patrol bomb …
Olivia Rodrigo wins international song of the year with Good 4 U.
As Laura says, she does not seem especially surprised: “She did a very bad job at surprise face.”
“This is so cool ohmigosh thank you,” says Olivia Rodrigo on stage. “Last year at the Brits was my first performance ever so to get this performance tonight is so surreal. I love the UK and I so appreciate the love you’ve shown to Good 4 U and my album this year.”
She thanks Dan Nigro, her friend and collaborator, with her in the audience.
Here’s the full shortlist:
- Your Love (9PM) by BTS/Topic/A7S
- Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish
- Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah) by Ckay
- Kiss Me More by Doja Cat ft Sza
- Girls Want Girls by Drake ft Lil Baby
- Heartbreak Anthem by Galantis/Guetta/Little Mix
- Black Magic by Jonasu
- Stay by Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber
- Montero (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X
- Calling My Phone by Lil Tjay & 6lack
- I Wanna Be Your Slave by Maneskin
- Rapstar by Polo
- The Business by Tiesto
- Save Your Tears by The Weeknd
at 8.33pm GMT
I’m sorry did anyone know that Courteney Cox goes out with one of Snow Patrol?! Good for him.
at 8.18pm GMT
Adele wins song of the year for Easy on Me
Adele’s won. Will we get used to saying that?
“Thank you so much,” she says. “First of all, I didn’t realise there were that many songs nominated for song of the year – I can’t believe a piano ballad won against that many bangers.”
She says she loves coming home, and that the Brits has been a part of her career since way back when … “well, when I was a foetus.”
And with that Adele keeps it short and sweet – perhaps anticipating other trips to the stage to come. She’s nominated for artist of the year, album of the year with 30, and pop/R&B artist (one of the four new genre-specific categories, voted on by the public).
at 8.20pm GMT