Written by: Savannah Alday
This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Brit Awards. It was hosted by Jack Whitehall, a famous and very funny English comedian. After watching highlights online, all I have to ask is why does this show not air in America?! It was like watching the Golden Globes and American Music Awards wrapped into one, but better.
With the round table seating and drinks freely flowing, quite literally as Jack Whitehall spilled red wine on Harry Styles's Marc Jacobs suit, which Harry seemed to feel no pain about it, the audience members were in well-loosened spirits. Jack’s banter with some of the night’s most notable stars made for some interesting TV moments. None more hysterical than that of Jack professing his love for Lizzo while she toyed with his emotions by grabbing Harry Styles, seated directly behind her, and began petting him. Jack responded by admitting his seething jealousy at the display of affection before him and swatted at Harry to back off.
From beginning to end the Brit Awards stunned with its live performances. Billie Eilish gave one of her most powerful performances to date, singing her James Bond theme song “No Time To Die.” Joined by a full-string orchestra, Billie reached new heights in her status as a performer, as she nailed the power note at the end. The crowd erupted in celebration several moments during her piece.
Harry Styles put on his own beautiful show by singing “Falling” from his latest album Fine Line. I must say that the staging of all the performances was nothing to be overlooked. Harry stood in a puddle of water while wearing an all-white lace jumper with matching white lace gloves, accompanied by two female piano players whose instruments had water flowing off the sides, giving an appropriately intimate feeling to the performance. Lewis Capaldi put on an admirable performance of “Someone You Loved,” which he later poked fun at by clearing the record that this song was actually about his late grandmother and not about his ex-girlfriend who is now on Europe's hit TV show Love Island.
Not all the performers sang slow, put you in your feels songs. Lizzo put on a high-energy performance medley of her top four hits "Cuz I Love You," "Good as Hell," "Juice," and "Truth Hurts." Let us just say we THOUGHT Americans’ loved Lizzo, but The Brits turned OUT for the queen! Those fans were screaming the lyrics to her! Mabel, a UK pop princess, also put on a lively and colorful performance of her hit song “Don’t Call Me Up.”
However, the most impactful performances of the night came from artists Dave and Stormzy. Dave performed his song “Black,” which is about the social and political issues of racism in England, going as far as to call Boris Johnston a racist and calling out the hypocrisy in coverage of Meghan Markle vs Kate Middleton in British tabloids. He highlights the struggle black men and women in Europe and arguably around the world face in the form of discrimination and violence against them. He started the performance by playing the piano, which he then allows another pianist to take over as he stands, giving his testimony. The piano transforms into a picture box that correlates images Dave paints through his lyrics.
Stormzy did a medley of his album Heavy Is The Head, starting with “Don’t Forget to Breathe.” In an almost eleven-minute performance, he transitioned “Do Better” to “Wiley Flow,” pivoting into “Fortune Teller'' by J Hus before settling into his UK No. 1 hit “Own It.” Echoing back to fellow rapper Dave’s performance, Stormzy projected a series of stirring messages about racism and inequality that simmered his high-spirited set: "A lot of time they tell us 'Black people, we too loud.' Know what I'm sayin'? We need to turn it down a little bit. We seem too arrogant. We a little too much for them to handle. Black is a beautiful man." This led to what felt like a baptism as Stormzy rejoined his choir and male dancers for “Rainfall” as literal rain fell on the whole stage, washing the crowd in emotion.
Here’s a list of the official winners!
British male solo artist: Stormzy
British female solo artist: Mabel
British group: Foals
Rising star: Celeste
Best new artist: Lewis Capaldi
Best song: Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
Best album: Dave – Psychodrama
International male solo artist: Tyler, the Creator
International female solo artist: Billie Eilish
For Mabel, this was her first Brit award, marking a memorable night considering 30 years to the day her mother Neneh Cherry, as she is known on stage, won two Brit Awards herself. Another memorable moment was Tyler, the Creator who won International male
solo artist. A huge win considering he had been barred from entering the UK for what they considered heinous and dangerous lyrics on his album Goblin.
With the ban being recently lifted, Tyler performed three sold-out nights in England back in October for the release of his Grammy-winning album Igor. He accepted the Brit Award by thanking former Prime Minister Theresa May, who was responsible for barring Tyler from entering the UK back in 2015.
The Brit Awards definitely bring their own flair and we are not mad about it! We would love to see more award shows with this fun environment. Artists seemed to be enjoying themselves, which made the whole experience of watching it on TV seem more interesting. The jokes kept flowing which really made you wonder, “what could happen next?” Performances seemed to have come from very authentic places, which made all of their music seem like real pieces of art.
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