So that was the BRIT Awards 2019.
Billed as British music's big night out it remains a perennial talking point - sure, you can dislike it, but it's hard to avoid it, given its propensity for headline-inducing action.
From Hugh Jackman's stellar opening performance to Pink's spectacular finale, the BRIT Awards 2019 was riveting viewing.
Here are seven key points to take away from this year's ceremony...
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The 1975 using their platform
The 1975 were one of the big winners on the night, scooping Best British Group and Album Of The Year. They even performed, too, paying another visit to London’s O2 Arena a matter of weeks after packing it to the rafters in their own right.
Last year Matty Healy caused opprobrium when he claimed that misogyny no longer existed in rock ‘n’ roll, but the frontman used his platform to full effect by rolling back those comments, and quoting Guardian journalist Laura Snapes.
Written in the aftermath of revelations about Ryan Adams’ abusive behaviour, Matty said: "Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of 'difficult' artists, (while) women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don't understand art…”
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The Carters actually know how to have a laugh
Reigning king and queen of music, The Carters put together a witty, skit-like video to accept their Best International Group award. And it went down pretty well. After talking about how supportive of them both the Brits has always been, Beyoncé graciously said: “Thank you.” “You’re welcome,” replied Jay-Z…to us in the UK,w or to his wife? Married bants.
Then (Beyonce giggling while she looked at her husband) the pair turnedw to face a regal-style portrait of Meghan Markle - a nod to their own video for ‘Apeshit’, in which they stood in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris - by artist and illustrator Tim O'Brien, who’s also painted Beyonce in the style of Queen Elizabeth I. The Carters were paying their respects to the newest member of the British royal family…who just so happens to be an American woman of colour.
As well as being a fun little skit, which they clearly enjoyed filming, the pair’s video struck a poignant note too. Some suggested the video was a statement of support for Meghan, who’s been the subject of negative, racially charged UK headlines since marrying Prince Harry last year, many focussing (bizarrely) on her pregnancy.
If anyone can stick it to the UK tabloids while making us laugh, it’s The Carters. Who knew?
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George Ezra – just a bloody nice guy
There’s nothing left to be said about George Ezra other than he’s just a bloody nice guy. Like, a top bloke. A lovely dude. A genuinely pleasant human being.
Of course, he’s also a vastly successful songwriter – a BRIT Award winner, no less – and a talented performer, hooking up with the Hot 8 Brass Band for his single ‘Shotgun’.
Sure, he missed out on Best British Album, losing to The 1975, but it seems like George Ezra had a wonderful evening – and he was no doubt tucked up early at the end of the night, getting his full eight hours in.
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Tom Walker is surprisingly popular
When Tom Walker was announced as winner of the British Breakthrough award, it came as a bit of a surprise: the Scottish born singer hasn’t released a full album yet, and he was up against artists with far more material, arguably more hype (IDLES) and star power (Jorja Smith).
But the award was based on a public vote, so Walker’s win proves just how many loyal fans he must have out there in the grassroots. For someone yet to release their first full-length project, that’s pretty impressive.
Tom Walker was also nominated for Best British Single for his hit, ‘Leave A Light On’. Oh and he loves his gran, as he proved in his acceptance speech. Good lad.
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International awards as a whole
The BRIT Awards aims to justify its place at the top of the table by continually creating headlines, but while this year’s ceremony certainly dominated news here in the UK, our friends across the Atlantic don’t seem too enamoured with the whole shebang.
International artists were rather thin on the ground this year, and those that did turn up weren’t recognised – Lizzo, Christine and the Queens, and Shawn Mendes all made the trip to the O2 Arena, but went home empty handed.
The emotional currency behind Ariana Grande’s win went unutilised in a prosaic video message, while Drake’s short clip barely scratched the surface. Nice sweater, though, Aubrey.
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Empowerment was a theme, but female artists went overlooked
While female empowerment made its way into plenty of acceptance speeches and performances, female artists were overlooked on major awards. “This is for all the little girls and women who are just being themselves and loving everything they’re doing,” said a visibly emotional Jorja Smith upon winning British Female Solo Artist.
Meanwhile Matty Healy quoted the Guardian to discuss misogynist acts, and then The Carters saluted Meghan Markle - in the form of a regal portrait, styled as the Queen - in solidarity and respect during their acceptance video for Best International Group. On Instagram Beyoncé paid sisterly homage to the Duchess of Sussex: "In honour of Black History Month, we bow down to one of our Melanated Monas (….) Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy."
These messages were underlined by powerful performances from the likes of Jorja Smith, Dua Lipa, Pink, Little Mix and Jess Glynne, but weren’t backed up by the awards themselves, with female artists being overlooked for major awards Best Album, Breakthrough Act and British Group.
Still can't believe how brilliant last night was!! Thank you so much.— JMoney (@JorjaSmith) February 21, 2019
You can watch my @BRITs performance again on the @youtubemusic app here > https://t.co/H5giJG9Fli#BRITs #BRITS2019 pic.twitter.com/RcOfUe6IZS
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Giggs is still the people’s champ
He may have lost out on Best British Male to George Ezra - “The kind of guy you take home to meet your parents,” according to BRITs host for the evening, Jack Whitehall – but, for us at least, South London’s Giggs remains the people’s champion, and one of the UK’s most exciting and important male artists out there right now.
Not only has the versatile, long-established MC had a big year, making music and performing with the likes of Drake, AJ Tracey, Lily Allen and Mr Eazi, but his own new LP is out tomorrow (the visual campaign for which deserves an honourable mention of its own) and he’s been a vocal presence in the current drill music debate – publically criticising the tabloid press’ coverage of the genre.
Our man was robbed! But with ‘Big Bad’ dropping tomorrow, we’re sure it’s the last thing on his mind…
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