By Agence France-Presse
POP ROCKERS The 1975 stole the show at British pop music’s annual celebration on Wednesday, winning the coveted Best Album Brit award with US singer Pink also honoured.
The Manchester four-piece claimed the prize for their raw number one album “A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships” ahead of Florence + The Machine and indie singer George Ezra.
The band also claimed the best British group award – speaking out against misogyny in their acceptance speech – before performing “Sincerity Is Scary” for the thousands packed into the London’s O2 Arena at the 39th annual ceremony, which recognised Britain’s top talent of 2018.
British band The 1975, from left, Matthew Healy, Ross MacDonald, George Daniel and Adam Hann, were the biggest winners at this year’s BRIT awards. /AFP
Australian A-lister Hugh Jackman kicked off proceedings in a blaze of Hollywood razzamatazz, performing “The Greatest Show” from hit musical “The Greatest Showman” accompanied by scores of gravity-defying dancers.
George Ezra was the night’s early winner, taking the Best Male Solo Artist award, beating off competition from garage pioneer Craig David, veteran avant-garde techno producer Aphex Twin and soul singer Sam Smith.
He followed up by performing upbeat summer chart-topper “Shotgun”, shortly before 21-year-old soul diva Jorga Smith was named best female solo artist.
US superstar Ariana Grande and hip-hop giants Drake and The Carters – comprised of power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce – scooped the international awards, with the latter sending a video thank you message in front of a regal painting of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.
British DJ and musician Calvin Harris, right, and British singersongwriter Dua Lipa, left, collect their British Single award during the BRIT Awards./AFP
Dua Lipa, the big winner of last year’s Brits, made a show-stopping performance as part of a superstar collaboration with hit producer Calvin Harris and singer Sam Smith.
Rising star Anne-Marie, who shot to fame as the vocalist on Clean Bandit’s worldwide hit “Rockabye”, was nominated for four awards, including for the Britney Spears-inspired video to “2002”, but left empty-handed.
Multi-million record selling US artist Pink closed out the show with a medley of hits after being presented the outstanding achievement award recognising her 20-year career.
“This is all too much, my dad’s really excited,” she told the crowd. “It’s beyond anything my brain can comprehend. It’s been an awesome journey.”
US singersongwriter Pink speaks after collecting her Outstanding Contribution winner award during the BRIT Awards./AFP
The Brit Awards have recognised the cream of British pop music since they were first held in 1977, and have often been peppered with scandal and farce.
The 1989 Brits are best remembered for the shambolic presenting skills of model Samantha Fox and Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and a comical series of mishaps.
Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker stormed the stage in protest while Michael Jackson performed surrounded by children in 1996.
British singer Jorja Smith speaks after collecting her British Female Solo Artist award during the BRIT Awards 2019./AFP
In 1998, Chumbawamba vocalist Danbert Nobacon dumped a bucket of iced water over then deputy prime minister John Prescott.
And Madonna suffered whiplash injuries at the 2015 edition when she fell off the stage wearing a giant cape and surrounded by dancers wearing bondage-style costumes and horns on their heads.
The awards have also been criticised for failing to be bold in their choice of performers in recent years.
The British music industry contributed 4.5 billion pounds (Bt180 billion) to the UK economy in 2015, and British artists accounted for one of every eight albums purchased worldwide.