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THE BRITS:
A FIRSTHAND TAKE

Wednesday night’s BRIT Awards was a typically slick affair, with a few surprises, a quick save and the cherry on top of an excellent year for Max Lousada’s WMG. As noted here, the major label took home six out of the 11 trophies handed out on the night, following Sony’s record-breaking year in 2017 and the rule of UMG and Adele in 2016.

Diversity has been a focal point in the world of late, and achieving that was on the agenda for ceremony Chairman Jason Iley, who will organise his last BRITs next year before handing over the mantle to another label boss. Winners were still heavily weighted towards male artists with just two women winning in the non-gendered categories next to five men on the night. In terms of performers, there were three times as many men on stage as women. It’s also pertinent to note that, amidst all this talk about equality, there was still a fair amount of gratuitous skin on show from female performers Dua Lipa and Rita Ora—but no men without pants.

Performances of the night included a strong and soulful duet from Rag’n’Bone Man and Jorja Smith, and a politically charged ceremony ending from superstar Stormzy, who walked away with British Male Solo Artist and Album of the Year. The next question being, can he translate overseas and break the U.S.?

Liam Gallagher was the hero of the hour for stepping in to lead a tribute to victims of the Manchester bombing after Ariana Grande couldn’t make it due to illness.

Ed Sheeran was expected to walk away with a few gongs but was instead given the Global Success Award (considered a booby prize by some). With four, and now five, BRITs already to his name, perhaps the Voting Academy decided to give a newcomer a chance. Which is also what happened in the British Female category, where Dua Lipa, who released her debut last year, was honoured as well as walking away with the Breakthrough Act prize (a public vote). An interesting choice given that she was up against accomplished acts like Jessie Ware, Laura Marling and Paloma Faith.

All in all, a fun night that made efforts to display the diverse talent of the U.K. for a global stage, but one which still has work to do. We ended it making use of the Daiquiri fountain at Universal Music’s afterparty before falling asleep next to a lavish spread of cheese.

Photo: BBC News

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