We’ve all heard of the British Invasion, but last night’s BRIT Awards, held at London’s O2 Arena, was a truly global affair, with memorable live performances from Canadian, North American and Kiwi stars, and statuettes being handed to artists from countries as far flung as Iceland and Australia.
Accepting her International Female Solo Artist award via video, Björk said she looked forward to “being a best international female for a whole year”, while the International Male Artist nod went to Justin Bieber, who was present at the ceremony and took the stage to perform ‘Love Yourself’ (alongside British Male Solo Artist-winner James Bay), before burning down the house with ‘Sorry’. Fellow Canadians (and International Male nominees) The Weeknd and Drake also put in showings, the former performing ‘The Hills’, from his latest album, Beauty Behind The Madness, and the latter teaming up with Rihanna to perform two songs, ‘Consideration’ and ‘Work’, taken from her latest outing, ANTI.
Australian psych outfit Tame Impala beat U2 and Eagles Of Death Metal to scoop the International Group award, one of five awards won by UMG artists (compared to one apiece for Sony and Warner), confirming the label’s status as the world’s leading major. The UK-based indie XL/Beggars were the evening’s other great success story, thanks to homegrown hero Adele’s sweep of the British Female Artist, British Single, Album Of The Year and BRITs Global Success awards.
David Bowie was also honoured at the ceremony, posthumously receiving the BRITs Icon Award, which was presented by Annie Lennox and received by Bowie’s long-time friend, actor Gary Oldman. The late legend also received a fitting tribute from his backing band, who, fronted by Kiwi electro-pop star Lorde, performed ‘Space Oddity’, ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Let’s Dance’, ‘Fame’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘“Heroes”’ and ‘Life On Mars?’
While the media and public alike took to social media to discuss the range of live performances, few could dispute the elegance and scale of the set designs, which gave the event an air of sophistication it had rarely achieved before, firmly placing the BRITs alongside its US counterpart, the Grammys, whose 58th awards ceremony was held last week.