The 2016 BRIT Awards took place on Wednesday night, showcasing some of Britain’s best in pop music. Coldplay kicked off the night with a colourful performance of their new single ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ which was complete with flames and confetti. After the release of their extremely well-received album A Head Full of Dreams and recently winning NME’s Godlike Genius Award, the band are clearly back on top. They receive a lot of undeserved hate, but it’s an indisputable fact that they’re one of the biggest bands in the world. Justin Bieber, accompanied by James Bay on guitar, performed an acoustic rendition of ‘Love Yourself’ around a campfire, which was followed by a livelier performance of ‘Sorry.’ Even if Justin isn’t your cup of tea, you can’t deny that he is talented, being the first artist to ever occupy the number one, two, and three spots on the UK Singles Chart. The night also saw performances from the incredibly talented James Bay, Jess Glynne, Little Mix, The Weeknd, and Rihanna.
Adele finished off the show with a moving performance of ‘When We Were Young’ after picking up four awards. Adele is an incredible and empowering artist. She creates beautiful, evocative music and she performs it with so much power and elegance. The Queen of the BRITs is also an extremely important figure for feminism, particularly in an industry which is most often dominated by men. She isn’t afraid to stand up and say what she thinks, using her first acceptance speech to publicly support Kesha in her current legal battle. For those of you who don’t know, Kesha has recently been denied an injunction to escape her contract with Sony, requiring her to work with her alleged abuser. Adele isn’t the first celebrity to offer support to Kesha; a number of artists have made statements on social media, and Taylor Swift donated 250,000 to her legal fund, but Adele’s statement during a show watched by millions, and in a room which will have held Sony artists and representatives, is especially important.
The show also included a stunningly moving tribute to David Bowie, who we tragically lost last month. Annie Lennox gave a sincere speech about Bowie as a visionary whose art will always be embedded in the heart of British culture, who will be “loved and revered for as long as the earth still spins.” It was Gary Oldman’s speech, though, that brought me to tears. He told stories about his friend’s humour, and how Bowie courageously faced his illness. He eloquently stated that “David was mortal, but his potential was superhuman.” People who knew David, speaking about him from the heart, made the tribute so much more genuine, and so much more heart-breaking. The speeches were followed by a performance of Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’ by Lorde. Her intense and sentimental homage to David Bowie beat Lady Gaga’s over-the-top attempt by miles; the focus was entirely on Bowie himself, rather than the artist paying tribute to him, and it was executed with the grace and respect that Bowie so clearly deserves.
- British Female: Adele
- British Male: James Bay
- International Group: Tame Impala
- British Group: Coldplay
- British Single: Adele – ‘Hello’
- British Video: One Direction – ‘Drag Me Down’
- International Male Solo: Justin Bieber
- International Female Solo: Bjork
- Critic’s Choice Award: Jack Garratt
- British Breakthrough Act: Catfish and the Bottlemen
- Album of the Year: Adele – 25
- Global Success: Adele