Welcome one, welcome all to the 2013 Brit Awards! Live from the O2 Arena! In London! Next to the river! And the cable car! I’ve already stepped onto the red carpet so you don’t have to – selfless I’m sure you’ll agree – and have been flitting about the venue all day long, soaking up the atmosphere and star-spotting fairly unsuccessfully. But I have touched those giant images of the Damien Hirst-designed new awards that look like they’ve got jaunty chickenpox; and I have marvelled at the spectacle of the Brit Awards that have had me hooked since I was 11 years old. I’m excited, you should be excited, so stop back here from 7.30 tonight for live coverage of the red carpet and the awards, set to feature live performances from the likes of Justin Timberlake, One Direction and Robbie Williams. Scream now…
This is what greets you when you step off the boat at the O2. It is a very welcoming sign, which is lovely. Especially when quite a few of the people have come not from Britain, but from the US and so need a sign as they have no idea where they’re going. Like Ne-Yo. And JT. And One Direction.
Some Brits facts & figures for you: 60 lorries have been involved carrying things like tinned custard and Blossom Hill Rose for the diners; over 1,000 people have been running around with worried looks on their faces for the past two weeks to get the stage and technical gubbins ready; 15,000 glasses will be used, most of them champagne-shaped; and I know over ten people who are sitting down to the free dinner tonight, and not one of them was able to get me a ticket. Bastards.
But I’m not bitter, no siree, because if I was inside the O2 guzzling champers and eating melon & palma ham followed by chicken supreme and custard, this blog would not be in existence and where would that leave the world as we know it? Crushed & distraught, that’s where.
So, the red carpet. So far, I’ve seen Mumford & Sons sans banjos, trying to pretend none of it means anything when we all know that their little moustachioed faces will crumple in on themselves if they don’t walk away with Best British Group. Which would be wryly amusing. One Direction still looked endearingly baffled by the world, albeit with ever-biggering hair; and Robbie Williams has turned into a rockabilly for the night and still won’t shut up about his baby. We get it. You had sex. Once.
Jessie Ware has a bare midriff – she must be totes freezing as it is approximately -50 outside. Nippy noodles alert. She’s very excited to be here, as are Rizzle Kicks who’re doing the red carpet honours. Dave Grohl turns up moaning that it’s cold. He may be cold, but he looks uber-cool in purple shirt and black jacket. Nobody yet has turned up in a big old winter coat with buttons the size of their ears. The things we do for fashion.
Right, I’m off for a wee before the ceremony starts in earnest. In the meantime, here’s a picture of the new statues inside the O2. They look, how do you say, statuesque?
8pm: And we are off! The glitz! The glamour! The lack of working radiators! It’s a bit like being at a massive covered football match. So there’s nothing for the gathered crowds to do really, apart from get blathered. Let’s drink and let the music commence!
8.02pm: Flashing lights. Axes being sharpened. Violins and leather jackets shining. It’s Muse! With hair like Morten Harket off of the 80s! No leather bands round his wrists that I can spot though. Yet. They’re doing that Muse thing where he sings with an earnest face, the drums go pa-rop-a-pom-pom, and then poom! It gets really LOUD AND SCREAMY. Still not sold on Muse, but they have a niche don’t they. A noisy niche.
8.07pm: James Corden is on stage looking suited & booted. He’s a bit too slick for me. Bring back Sam Fox & Mick Fleetwood I say. He’s showing us the pick & mix Brit Award, which if Cath Kidston is watching, she’s probably scrabbling around for her reading glasses and going ‘Can I sue? Can I sue?’ No Cath, you can’t, Damien did it first.
8.10pm: Mumford & Sons are banging on about identity. Nothing to see here. Move along.
8.11pm: Taylor Swift comes on to present Best British Female after James Corden has his second joke of the night about interrupting Adele. Ho ho ho! She manages to make a weak joke about British accents and Harry Styles hasn’t lamped her. Yet. The nominees are Jessie Ware, Paloma Faith, Bat For Lashes, Amy Winehouse, but none of them have a chance against Brand Emeli Sande. She duly trots up with her fab hair and looks amazed. Is it just me, but with her Scottish accent and blonde hair, she’s morphing into Annie Lennox before our very eyes…
8.15pm: Corden sits down with One Direction’s hair, makes some jokes at their expense and we cut to a break. Phew, what a first 15 minutes! Still another 105 minutes to go remember, so don’t eat those Maltesers all at once.
8.20pm: And we’re back! He’s already got 17 Brit Awards so he doesn’t really need another one tonight, but here’s Robbie Williams in a lovely royal blue suit. He looks trim, his hair is shiny and his set is an Escher wet dream. Which is a good job, because he can’t hit one note correctly. Not one. But nobody cares cos it’s Robbie innit? Hey ho here we go! It’s tuneless, but weirdly enjoyable, thus summing up Robbie’s career neatly.
8.24pm: Now here’s Simon Pegg and someone from Skyfall reading the nominations for Best British Group. The XX, Coldplay, Muse, Alt-J and the All-Conquering Mumford & Sons. Guess who won? Can you guess who it is yet? Yes, it’s the posh Surrey boys and their banjos. In one of the deep shocks of the night, one of them has no facial hair. WHAT IS HE THINKING?
8.28pm: Nick Grimshaw arrives, looking like he’s aged approximately 20 years since he’s started getting up at 4am every morning. And he’s got 1D hair. He’s announcing Best British Breakthrough, featuring Rita Ora, Alt-J, Jessie Ware, Jake Bugg and Ben Howard. And the winner is… Ben Howard. That’s a right old shock, seeing as it’s voted for by Radio One listeners. He thanks his mum and clearly didn’t expect to win. Bless.
8.30pm: Dave Grohl shouts a bit. I wish I was as cool as Dave Grohl. Is he the coolest man in the world ever? Possibly.
8.33pm: Plan B mumbles a bit. I’m glad he’s a better singer/rapper than he is orator, because he is rubbish at talking. Like, really rubbish.
8.35pm: Advert for Skyfall. Hasn’t everybody seen this already?* (*apart from me.)
8.40pm: Now for another performance. GET EXCITED – IT’S JT! Justin Timberlake! Back from the acting wilderness! JT! He’s got a PVC jacket on with a 1970s bow tie, and oddly, looks less actor beefcake and more like that odd kid from N*Sync. And nobody’s told him he’s still not MJ, for witness the white socks and short trews. What’s that? What’s the song like you say? Erm, it’s brassy and a bit gospel. And he’s hit the falsetto! It’s good to have gawky Justin back. And he manages to perform without Jay-Z jumping on-stage. Well done.
8.43pm: Paloma Faith also has a speaking voice reminiscent of cold porridge – she sings much better like. Her album is cinematic says Corden – and he’s not wrong you know.
8.46pm: Ed Sheeran arrives to present Best British Male. In a DJ. Not in his jeans and trainers. That’s more of a shock than if Richard Hawley wins this award, surely? Trouncing the competition of Calvin Harris, Olly Murs, Plan B & Hawley, up steps Ben Howard to get his second gong of the night. My mate Philly is going to be made up, she right likes him. He looks more shocked than the last time he was up two minutes ago.
8.49pm: Tom Odell has won this year’s Critics’ Choice award, and he looks thrilled in a Chesney Hawkes-doppelganger kinda way. Well done to him because it usually goes to a lady, but he does have lady hair so perhaps he bamboozled the critics. Ad break!
8.54pm: The Brits is such a well-oiled machine these days. James Corden has a lot to answer for, that slick, professional fun-killer.
8.56pm: Lights, camera, action! It’s Dermot O’Leary and Sharon Osborne, stepping up to present Best International Female, but not before Shazza has a gag about Harry Styles’ magic stick. “That’s his willy!” she confirms. Thanks for the confirmation. Up for this are Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Cat Power and Alicia Keys. And the winner is: Lana Del Rey. Who apparently studied metaphysics in New York before doing a bit of singing. She lives in the UK, and thanks Polydor for helping her turn her life into a work of art. Right on, sister.
9pm: OMG! OMG! OMG! It’s One Direction! I’ve fainted! This blog will now be taken over by blogbot. They’re standing on a mahoosive pinball machine and singing One Way Or Another mashed up with Teenage Kicks, a la Glee. It’s erm, for charidee, which makes it all greeeat! I think. And now Harry Styles puts his bum into the camera. It’s a whirlwind!
9.03pm: Now it’s time for Emeli Sande to chatter on about Our Version Of Events, which is also pretty bloody good.
9.05pm: Louis Smith & Jack Whitehall trot on – Louis is soooo well dressed. They’re presenting Best British Live Act. It’s a bare-knuckle fight between Coldplay, The Vaccines, The Rolling Stones, Mumford & Muse. Who beginning with the letter M will win? Erm… Coldplay. That Olympic Closing Ceremony pays off at last! Chris Martin is not there, so a couple of blokes get up and say some things. They may or may not be part of Coldplay, who can say or indeed, care?
9.11pm: Just as an aside, we’ve had just three female award presenters so far, and not a solitary female performer. Just saying, The Brits, just saying.
9.13pm: Best British Single up next, which is a category with approx 5,000 entries so I’m not going to list them. I’ll just say I’m on the side of Alex Clare’s Too Close – come on the ginger cap-wearing beardies! Jonathan Ross & Tom Daley trot on to present the award. Who’s gonna win who’s gonna win? Frankly, it could be anyone. The winner is… Adele‘s Skyfall. Really? Really? Bit dull, Capital FM listeners.
9.18pm: OMG a female performer! Is it a mirage? I heart Taylor Swift – her album Red is a fantastic pop-country jamboree. She’s got one of those dresses on that has a handy shelf in the middle to rest your pint on. Which, after a bit she decides is a bit hot, so strips off to reveal a black clingy number. How terribly Bucks Fizz of her. Big production on this and no mistake.
9.23pm: Corden chats to Robbie. He’s far too sober. He doesn’t mention having a baby though, so well done Robbie.
9.24pm: Dave Grohl on-stage again. Is he sponsoring The Brits tonight, did I miss the memo? Best International Group nominees: The Black Keys, The Script, Alabama Shakes, The Killers and Fun. Got to be Fun, surely, after the stompy 2012 they had? Nope, it’s The Black Keys. What do I know? Nuttin’, that’s what.
9.28pm: How we doing at the back? Hanging in there? If you’re putting the kettle on, can I have a cup please? A Fruit Club would be nice too.
9.30pm: Whooooosh! So here comes two-time Brit winner Ben Howard. He’s dumped his shirt for a T-shirt and he’s doing that thing where he screws up his face & vocal chords and nasals some kinda sound out. It’s… what is it? It’s pleasant, it’s polite, it’s bland. He needs to go backstage and have some performance lessons with Dave Grohl. Dave’d sort him out.
9.34pm: Alt-J are talking about writing their songs “in their dorm rooms in Leeds”. They sound terribly posh and look like they work in the Leeds branch of The Halifax. The album’s as angular as their glasses.
9.38pm: Raif Spall and Jordan Dunne appear, bigging up Corden, and telling us about Best International Male. Tricky category this as I’ve been a longtime admirer of Gotye, but everyone loves a bit of Frank Ocean right now don’t they? He duly beats Springsteen, Gotye, the Buble and Jack White to the gong, and seems terribly polite into the bargain. I only wish that Chris Brown was there and he’d gone up and punched him. Now that would make good telly.
9.43pm: We’re nearly there everyone – if you’ve made it this far, well done, give yourself a slap on the back! Here’s somebody from War Child and Damon Albarn to pick up an award for War Child. He’s wearing a sharp suit and could be a member of Alt-J. Perhaps he is. Damon looks bemused and a bit stoned.
9.45pm: After the break, Emeli Sande! Loo break!
9.49pm: That KFC ad has made me want a KFC. And I hate KFC. It must be all the typing. In other news, AC Milan have beaten Barcelona 2-0. But even bigger news – Southend United are through to play Crewe in the JPT Final at Wemberley! Come on Southend! With an S and an O and a U and a T… Oh hang on, Mumford & Sons are on. Fiddly dee, fiddly dee, fiddly dee. Southend are going to Wembley! Whoop! 90th minute goal. Phew!
9.52pm: Marcus Mumford is still singing. Nothing to do with Southend though, which is odd. Or perhaps he’s singing about that he will wait to see Southend at Wembley? The wait is over Marcus! I know, he can hardly believe it either. He’s going crazy with his banjo now.
9.53pm: “Goosebumps all over the O2 Arena!” says Corden. Clearly a lot of Southend fans in the room.
9.55pm: They’ve only gone and wheeled out Bryan Ferry to present Best British Album. It’s between Plan B, Brand Sande, Alt-J, The Banjo Boys and Paloma Faith. I’d love Brand Sande to win, but she’ll have to prize it out of Mumford’s sweaty hands. And she has! Well done Emeli. The only million-selling album of the year, she’s a cool, calm customer and this is so well deserved. And she has GREAT HAIR.
9.59pm: Is this ending at ten? Really? Robbie’s on to present a made-up award. Something to do with countries. I’m not sure. I’m too excited about Southend and Sande. Oh, it’s the Global Success Award, made up so that Simon Cowell can make sure 1D get a spotty statue. But you’ve gotta love 1D haven’t you? Haven’t you? Just me? OK then.
10.01pm: The Rizzle Kicks – we heart the Rizzlers – look dead smart. Corden sits on Grimshaw’s lap and they kiss. I actually laugh at a James Corden joke. Look, it’s been a long night, OK?
10.05pm: So it doesn’t end at ten. We’ve still got ten minutes. Unless my fingers drop off or my keyboard overheats. It’s touch and go.
10.08pm: Woman of the evening Emeli Sande is at her piano singing that song she has about being in the circus. It’s just her and a plinky-plonky – you might say she’s doing an Adele. Only Adele already did it. And she stole her first name too. How very rude. Hang on a cotton-pickin’ minute – she’s up and demanding a gospel singalong in the style of a Pink Lady. It’s a Brand Sande mash-up! The Glee producers furiously scribble her name down in their notebooks. She can sing though, can’t she?
10.13pm: A quick run-through of the evening and The Brits in a shocking turn of events finishes on time, to plan and EVERYTHING. Who knew it could happen? Not one fuck-up. Things ain’t like they used to be. Big winners on the night were The Banjo Boys, Brand Sande and That Bloke Ben. That’s all from me – thanks for reading!