The Brits 2011 Launch: 5 Things We Learned

The Brits held their launch event last Thursday at London’s IndigO2 under a slate-grey January sky. Outside the venue, the red carpet held such pop luminaries as Olly Murs and The Wanted, while inside Fearne Cotton hosted the evening and chatted with performers Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding as well as Critics’ Choice winner, the red hot and rising Jessie J. We all know the latter can do it like a dude, but what else did we learn about the performers and the nominated? Let me tell you…

1. Jessie J is channelling the spirit of drag queens. The Critics’ Choice winner performed an amazing instrumental vocal of Do It Like A Dude on the night, dressing her wafer-thin frame in nippy shorts, patterned tights and a Cleopatra-style top. But it wasn’t only her look that had sparkly drag queen echoes – her performance ran the gamut of vocal ranges, pirouetting with style from rapping to stylish belting to the gravelly depths. She’s also got swagger in spades and as she gets bigger we’re hoping the outfits get blinger to match…

2. The Best British Group category is indie foursome-light. For the past ten years and counting, Best British Group has been won by indie boys & guitars – Kasabian, Elbow, Arctics, Coldplay, Kaisers, Travis. Only The Darkness provided a brief and bizarre stray moment in 2004, but they were still blokes with guitars – it’s just they wore more lycra. Twas not always thus though – witness the 80s when Culture Club, Wham!, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys and even Five Star triumphed in this field. But the 90s saw the arrival of Britpop and it’s taken a long time to shake. This year though, a sea-change could be about to take place. Up for the award are Take That, Biffy Clyro, The XX, Gorillaz and Mumford & Sons. Of those, only Biffy Clyro fit the previous blueprint and their inclusion is a trifle baffling, being that their biggest achievement last year was to allow Matt Cardle to cover their song. Take That are pop ambassadors while Gorillaz are a tribe of artists; The XX are a shot of harmonious melancholy who even feature, wait for it, a girl; while Mumford & Sons are more fiddles than fights. As such, it seems that the stench of teenage boys has been steam-cleaned from this year’s Best British Group category and for that, we say bravo.

3. Fearne Cotton is surprisingly adept at reading an autocue – and there was us thinking she was a talentless wonder. She’s also way thinner in real life than you expect and terribly clever at talking about shoes, which seemed to be her favourite topic of the night with the other laydeez.

4. Tinie Tempah is a metrosexual. Tinie may have got the most nominations (four) and may appear on-stage in hoodies and bling. However, when Tinie entered the venue he was wearing a tailored midnight blue suit, white V-neck a la JLS and a rather fetching orange scarf, tied loosely David Beckham-style. Tinie is clearly a modern grime star who’s not afraid to embrace colour and floaty material and for that we salute him. We can’t see him getting a set of diamonds in place of his teeth any time soon either.

5. Every member of The Wanted deals with a crowdful of screaming girls in a different way. The boys performed their No.1 hit All Time Low which involved the requisite amount of crotch-grabbing and heart-pumping. They were energy personified, but when the quintet weren’t performing pre-ordained moves, their favoured coping mechanisms came to the fore. Baby of the bunch Nathan favoured the wink and pretend-my-index-finger-and-thumb-are-a-pistol approach. The curly one went for walking oddly and looking bashful while the tall one just said ‘Thanks, thanks a lot’ over and over again into this mic. The grunge-looking one adopted the two fingers to his temple salute, while the shaven-headed unofficial lead singer went for the tried-and-test arm pump, presumably in an effort to stretch his height a little more. It didn’t work.

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