Memeable red carpet serves, big budget performances, and memorable speeches with the obligatory smattering of awkwardness and technical difficulties – yes, it’s that time of year again when our favourite international musicians come out to play for the 2023 BRIT Awards.
For the first time ever, the annual ceremony – with YouTube Music as this year’s official digital music partner – returned to London’s O2 Arena on a Saturday night (11 February), and as per usual all eyes were on the incredible fashion moments (shout out to Sam Smith’s inflatable latex suit, as well as incredible outfits from Lizzo, Rina Sawayama and 2023 Rising Star winners FLO), as well as crowd-pleasing celebrity cameos (let’s give it up for Stanley Tucci, Salma Hayek Pinault with her Magic Mike entourage, and Jessie J’s pregnant belly). Chicken Shop Date's queen of awkward Amelia Dimoldenberg interviewed a slew of artists on the red carpet, including Shania Twain, Charli XCX, as well as some exes...
Of course, the night wasn’t without controversy, with snubs in certain categories and criticism for the award's lack of diversity, as well as technical difficulties which led to archival footage of Adele's performance from last year's ceremony being streamed on the screens, and Wet Leg’s awkward ode to Arctic Monkeys in their acceptance speech. British newcomers Wet Leg also took home multiple awards with Best Group and Best New Artist – raising eyebrows with a Midsommer-esque performance complete with Morris dancers and a giant owl. And who can forget 22-year-old nominee Cat Burns bringing the house down with an emotional performance amid confetti rainfall and a choir.
Here are the major moments and talking points from the night…
Those vocals, those moves, that outfit! Love you @lizzo 😍— BRIT Awards (@BRITs) February 11, 2023
Watch now via: https://t.co/mFYtAONxvo #BRITs pic.twitter.com/CvQg5aT4T6
Harry Styles might have been the winner in the most categories, but Lizzo brought the energy, the vocals, the outfits – everything. The global superstar performed a medley of her hits, including “About Damn Time” (with her signature classical flute in tow), dressed in a ceiling-reaching baby pink, furry hood, telling the audience: “I love you, you are beautiful and you can do anything!” We have to stan.
Women snubbed in Best Artist
Charli XCX’s reponse to the #BRITs' failure to nominate any women for best artist.— CHARLI XCX UPDATES (@FckyeahCharli) February 12, 2023
“I was on album cycle and I had a #1 album… so yeah there’s many of us. We’re doing everything right, I don’t think it’s our fault, I think it might be theirs”
No women or non-binary people were nominated for Best Artist this year (a category that also went gender neutral back in 2021), with the controversial all-male roster being widely panned by viewers and also attendees. Winner Harry Styles addressed the snubs in his acceptance speech, noting his “privilege” and also name-checking five female musicians: “I’m very aware of my privilege up here tonight, so this award is for Rina [Sawayama], Charli [XCX], Florence [Welch], Mabel and Becky [Hill].”
This comes after Styles faced criticism for his Grammy’s acceptance speech where he said, “This doesn’t happen to people like me very often,” prompting many to comment that artists from diverse backgrounds and women have arguably faced more obstacles to success. Charli XCX also took to the red carpet, calling out her disappointment at the BRITs' failure to nominate any women: “I was on album cycle and I had a #1 album… so yeah there’s many of us. We’re doing everything right, I don’t think it’s our fault, I think it might be theirs.”
Congratulations to @Harry_Styles for winning 4 @brits #BRITs— MastercardUK (@MastercardUK) February 11, 2023
Harry Styles cleaned up at the awards, taking home statuettes in all four categories he was nominated for. His third studio album Harry’s House was named Album of the Year, his single "As It Was" (which the singer opened the show with a performance of) was announced as Song of the Year, and later, Harry was presented with Artist of the Year, as well as winning best Pop/R&B Act. He thanked his mum for signing him up to The X Factor without his knowledge back in 2010, and shouted out his former One Direction bandmates: “I wanna thank Niall, Liam, Louis and Zayn cause I wouldn’t be here without you.”
British Beyhive unite
OK, the Beyoncé might not have been in the actual house but the global superstar made an appearance in a pre-recorded message after scooping awards for Best International Song (for “Break My Soul”) and Best International Artist. She shouted out British fans saying: “I’d like to say thank you to all of my fans out there in Britain for your continuous support over the years. And the Renaissance begins – I’ll see you on tour.”
Follow #BRITsUnseen on YouTube Shorts for exclusive behind-the-scenes access to this year’s show.