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This year’s ceremony was a night of celebration for the likes of Adele, Bruno Mars, and Blur. The BRIT Awards 2012 took place on Tuesday, February 21, at London’s O2 Arena, with James Corden returning to host the music ceremony for the second year in a row.
Going into the evening, Blur and Emeli Sandé had the most reason to celebrate since they had already been confirmed as the recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to Music and the Critics’ Choice awards, respectively. Blur followed in the footsteps of such honorees as Freddie Mercury, Sting, and U2, while Sandé’s joined the ranks of Adele, Florence + the Machine, Jessie J, and Ellie Goulding, all of whom began their career with the Critics’ Choice acknowledgement.
Coldplay, Florence + the Machine, and Olly Murs were the night’s early performers, while the ceremony was interspersed with slightly more sombre moments as video tributes were paid to BRIT winners, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston, who both passed away in recent months. Ed Sheeran took home the award for Best British Male Solo Artist, and special note was paid to his social media following (including 1.4 million Twitter followers) who were cited as being instrumental in his breakout industry success.
Winner of the Best British Group award was Coldpay, who had previously won the title in 2001 and 2003. In total, the band has taken home seven BRIT Awards during their 16-year career. In their acceptance speech, the band members thanked the “discerning, handsome, intelligent Radio 2 voters” who were responsible for deciding who would win the award.
Adele, meanwhile, was the recipient of the evening’s first award – Best British Female Solo Artist – before a surprise loss to One Direction for Best British Single, a category she had been expected to win with her smash-hit song ‘Someone Like You’. However, the 23-year-old artist took to the stage and wowed the crowd with a performance of ‘Rolling in the Deep’ which cemented her return to the music scene after spending the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 away from the spotlight as she recovered from throat surgery.
Foo Fighters took home the award for Best International Group, but were not present at the ceremony, instead sending a pre-taped video message. Their absence was hardly felt, though, as Ed Sheeran was there to accept his win for Best British Breakthrough Act – beating the likes of Emeli Sandé and Jessie J – and Bruno Mars performed a Rat Pack-esque version of ‘Just the Way You Are’.
New York-based Lana Del Rey, who calls herself “the gangsta Nancy Sinatra”, won Best International Breakthrough Act and thanked the UK for embracing her music this year. Her solemn, teary-eyed acceptance was immediately forgotten as Rhianna provided the night’s most energetic performance, thanks to dozens of dancers who entertained with ‘We Found Love’, Rhianna’s chart-topping collaboration with Calvin Harris.
An interesting feature of the BRITs this year was an individual breakdown of each of the Best British Album nominees, where the likes of Adele and Florence Welch were able to explain the personal significance of their records in pre-taped segments.
Adele returned to the stage one final time to accept the night’s biggest award – Best British Album – but her speech was cut short by host James Corden in order to make time for Blur’s final performance.