Everyone is familiar with the Grammys, but not everyone knows about the British equivalent, the British Record Industry Trust Show (BRITS), which was held on Feb. 24 at London’s O2 Arena.
The BRITS began in 1977 — which is recent, compared to the Grammys’ 1959 origin — to honor British musical talents. The show got its name because the awards are given by the Britannia Music Club. Over the years, the BRITS has given awards to musical acts like The Beatles, Queen and Michael Jackson.
In recent years, the BRITS award statuette has been uniquely designed by various artists and fashion designers. This year, Scottish fashion icon Pam Hogg had the honor, and she certainly delivered. Each award statuette had its own distinct designs, which ranged from strictly black and white to the entire statue being covered with gold glitter.
The show started off with a very colorful performance by Super Bowl headliner, Coldplay, who took home the Best British Group award at the show. After his disappointing loss at the Grammys, British singer James Bay walked away with a BRIT for Best British Male Solo Artist. He also delivered a stunning performance of his hit song, “Hold Back the River.”
Bay later joined Justin Bieber — who won the award for Best International Male Solo Artist — at the beginning of Bieber’s soothing medley of “Love Yourself” that led into “Sorry.” After Rihanna was forced to cancel her Grammy performance due to bronchitis, she made it up to her fans with a live medley of songs off of her new album “ANTi.” The highlight of her performance came during “Work,” when Drake joined her onstage.
Like its American counterpart, the BRITS honored late British legend David Bowie. Bowie’s close friend Gary Oldman accepted the Icon award on Bowie’s behalf, and Lorde and Bowie’s longtime band performed a gentle tribute for the star, earning rave reviews that greatly surpassed those for Lady Gaga’s tribute at the Grammys.
The BRITS, however, were truly Adele’s night. Her first award of the night was for Best British Female Solo Artist, which she accepted humbly, ending her speech with a public declaration of her support for Kesha. Adele also went home with awards for Best British Single for “Hello,” the Global Success award — an award given to British acts that made the biggest impact worldwide — and British Album of the Year for “25.”
During her acceptance speech for the Global Success award, an elated Adele dropped an f-bomb, which was missed by the censors and broadcast on TV and the international YouTube stream. But fortunately, there were no terrible technical issues during Adele’s performance of “While We Were Young.”
After widespread complaints about the Grammys this year, perhaps the BRITS should serve as the award show model moving forward.