BRITs 2023: The highs, the lows and the most-talked about moments
The BRIT Awards remain one of the most prestigious global events in the musical calendar and stars from across the entertainment world turned out to show their support. But, as always, it wasn’t without its hosting hiccups, technical difficulties, and boozing celebs by the bucket load.
Held at London’s O2 Arena, this year’s event was hosted by comedian, Mo Gilligan, who returned to host the show for the second year running.
The award itself, designed by 22-year-old Nigerian-born artist Slawn, represented opportunity, gratitude and celebration – key descriptors encapsulating the awards from both artist and industry perspectives.
Harry Styles opened the show with a punch-packing performance of 2022’s best-selling single, As It Was. Other notable performances throughout the evening came from Sam Smith and Kim Petras, Lizzo, Stormzy, David Guetta, and his special guests, Ella Henderson, Becky Hill and the nation’s Eurovision hero, Sam Ryder, who collaborated to perform a mashup of the producer’s recent hits.
Forget Harry’s House, it’s now Harry’s World
Clearing up across all four of his nominated categories, the ‘As It Was’ singer was this year’s golden boy. After a stratospheric year in 2022, Styles took home awards for Artist of The Year, Album of The Year, Song of The Year and Best Pop/R&B Act. This now brings his total wins from the BRITs to 13, including those from his One Direction days.
Following the release of his third album Harry’s House, Styles also starred in leading roles in box-office hits Don’t Worry Darling and My Policeman and completed another extended leg of his live show, Love on Tour across Europe, North and South America.
Upon acceptance of his Artist of The Year award, he made a touching statement:
“I want to thank my family for being the most supportive, understanding, patient, loving family I could have ever asked for. I want to thank my mum for signing me up for X-Factor without telling me. And I want to thank Niall, Louis, Liam and Zayn because I wouldn’t be here without you either.”
He then continued to acknowledge the female artists not nominated in the newly combined, gender-neutral category. He said, “I’m really really grateful for this and I’m very aware of my privilege up here tonight so this award is for Rina, Charlie, Florence, Mabel and Becky.”
An evening of firsts
For the first time in its history, this ceremony was held on prime-time, Saturday night TV. Following ratings hitting an all-time low of 2.7 million in 2022, the decision was taken to bring in “a new, more engaged audience” but did it work? Only time will tell.
On the awards front, London-based trio Flo beat Cat Burns and Nia Archives to become the first-ever group to be chosen as Rising Star recipients. Their recent viral single Cardboard Box set them firmly in the running, and the group were awarded the gong by former winner and BRIT success story, Jessie J. Other previous winners have included Holly Humberstone, Sam Fender, Rag’n’Bone Man, Adele and Tom Odell.
Singer/Songwriter Mimi Webb attended for the first time, nominated for Best New Artist, whilst Sam Ryder’s performance with David Guetta marked another first for Eurovision performers at the BRITs.
Aitch dedicates his win to Manchester
“Not to get all cliché but I just want to say not many people where I’m from, especially my side of Manchester, get the opportunity to stand up here and receive such an amazing gift or award. That’s the main reason I do it, to set examples. It’s possible no matter where you’re from.”
Lizzo gets the party pumping
In true Lizzo style, the American singer stepped up to the plate and delivered a real performance – flute included. Wearing a striking pink, feather outfit, with fifties-inspired curls, she performed two of her most recent hits, ‘Special’ and ‘To Be Loved’. She battled the physics of the flamboyant collar/headpiece ensemble, and nothing was going to get in the way of putting on a fantastic show.
Wet Leg stepped up
Relative newcomers Wet Leg surprised many by trumping other established artists in their categories, walking away with Best New Artist and Best Group.
Whilst collecting their award for Best New Artist, Wet Leg’s front-woman Rhian Teesdale said, “That rock and roll, it just won’t go away. It might hibernate from time to time and sink back into the swamp…” This comment puzzled many and they took to Twitter to voice their confusion, but Arctic Monkeys fans appreciated their nod to the band’s iconic 2014 acceptance speech.
But like any other BRIT Awards ceremony gone before, the evening wasn’t without its technical difficulties. An issue following Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ performance saw Adele perform ‘I Drink Wine’, a recording from last year’s ceremony, whilst Mo Gilligan accidentally introduced Lewis Capaldi as Sam Capaldi when he took to the stage with ‘Forget Me’.
But like any other BRIT Awards ceremony gone before, the evening wasn’t without its technical difficulties.
An issue following Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ performance saw Adele perform ‘I Drink Wine’, a recording from last year’s ceremony, whilst Mo Gilligan accidentally introduced Lewis Capaldi as Sam Capaldi when he took to the stage with ‘Forget Me’.
As expected, Lewis responded to this blunder in the only way he knows how – humour.
Fontaines D.C. won International Group of the Year for the second time, and The 1975 took British Group for the fourth. Matty’s unusually shortened and well-mannered speech however did not go unnoticed.
And whilst the BRITs once had a former reputation as one of the rowdiest nights in music, yesterday’s event was by comparison, somewhat tame. The days of Adele’s potty-mouth, Jarvis Cocker’s stage invasion, and Harry Styles and Lizzo necking tequila with Jack Whitehall have become a hazy, distant memory. Instead, last night saw relentless “Oi Oi!” calls (which failed to grab the audience’s attention at home or in the venue), awkward and at times uncomfortable presenter interactions and Keith Lemon cameos – not just once, but twice.
Listen to the full winner’s playlist
Can’t get enough? This playlist will keep the party going!