Journalists tend to present award ceremonies like this when they review them into a simplified winner/loser discussion (he/she “stole the show”, “the night belonged to him/her”). In this vein, it was Ed Sheeran and Adele who were the stars: both won two Brits and performed on the night. Overall, it was a night for acoustic, vocal-orientated Pop; with the obvious names winning. The fact that the biggest surprise of the night was One Direction winning best single sums it up. Jessie J was arguably the biggest loser, not winning in any of the three categories she was nominated for.
The charge that the Brits simply celebrates the obvious, generic music – that it is just about music you can find in Asda as one tweet read – is strong. Take for example the three artists nominated whose music is loosely defined as “dance”: David Guetta, James Blake and Chase & Status. Each of them creates very different music to each other, and within these three, there is arguably more of a range of music than between many of the Brit winners last night. The audience too gave a clue to the Brit Awards’ favourites in their reactions when the nominee’s names were read. Massive cheers for the likes of Adele and Jessie J were mixed with muted reactions to artists like Kate Bush and Anna Calvi (in fairness I don’t know much about these two either).
It is perhaps the predictability of these events which means what sticks in the collective memory of viewers is an unexpected gaffe or a piece of bizarre on-stage spontaneity. This time it looks like being Adele’s interrupted speech and her subsequent middle finger to “the suits” (presumably the same ones who nominated her for the awards and who helped her propel to stardom by inviting her to perform at last year’s awards; a popular target of ire nonetheless). A less popular celebrity might have been pilloried for that sort of gesture.