Brit Awards 2017 as it happened: David Bowie wins two posthumous awards 

Brit Awards 2017: the winners Brit Awards 2017: the winners
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​David Bowie posthumously triumphed at tonight's Brit Awards, winning Best British Male and Best Album.

The decision to doubly honour the late singer, who was also awarded the Global Icon Award at the 2016 ceremony, met with widespread approval from fans.

A moving George Michael tribute, delivered by the late singer's Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley and singing duo Pepsi & Shirlie, who performed with Wham! in the Eighties, also left many viewers (including Shirlie herself) fighting tears.

Wham! band members Andrew Ridgeley, Pepsi and Shirlie pay tribute to George Michael at the Brit Awards

More controversial, however, was a musical tribute from Coldplay's Chris Martin, who performed the George Michael song A Different Corner, duetting with a recording of the much-loved star. While some viewers were impressed by Martin's passionate performance, others felt that he wasn't the right person to take on the emotive track (one particularly irate tweeter even compared his voice to "the noise a tortoise makes when it's having sex).

Martin aside, the evening was also enlivened by performances from the likes of Emeli Sandé (winner of the Best British Female Award), Little Mix (who won Best Single for Shout Out To My Ex), Bruno Mars, The 1975, Skepta and Ed Sheeran, who treated fans to a surprise collaboration with British grime star Stormzy.

Little Mix hold their the award for British Single at the Brit Awards at the O2 Arena in London Credit: Reuters

US star Katy Perry, meanwhile, courted controversy by opting to include two dancing skeletons in her performance of new single Chained to the Rhythm – halloweenish figures which fans quickly realised were dressed to resemble Theresa May and Donald Trump.

Here's how the night unfolded:

Surrounded by scantily glad female dancers, Robbie Williams gives an exuberant closing performance of his song Mixed Signals

"Come on, the Brits are nearly over! You can nearly go home!" the 43-year-old, winner of this year's Brits Global Icon Award, gleefully shouted half way through.

His performance might not have been as polished as Little Mix's, or as strong as the Sheeran-Stormzy collaboration that preceded it...but it was clear to his many fans that Williams was happy just being on stage.

 

David Bowie's son Duncan Jones collects best album award on behalf of his late father 

Film director Duncan Jones collected the prize on behalf of his late father. "I was spending a lot of time... wondering 'what would I want my son to know about his granddad?'" he said.

The answer was moving: "That he's always been there supporting people who are a little bit weird, a little bit strange, a little bit different. This award is for all the kooks, and the people who make the kooks."

Ed Sheeran's performance goes down a Storm..zy

The surprise collaboration delighted fans of both artists.

 

Lonely Liam Payne picks up Best Video Award on behalf of One Direction

Sadly, his former bandmates don't seem to have made it along...

Beyoncé wins best international female solo artist and Drake wins bets international male artist

Understandably enough, neither are there to collect in person.

 

Fans unhappy as Skepta is 'silenced'

Mercury Prize-winner Skepta used an ironic sound-clip in his blistering performance of Shutdown: a woman's voice, complaining about watching a group of black men "all dressed in black, dancing extremely agressively" on "prime-time TV". 

It's a reference to Kanye West's brilliant (but controversial) performance of All Day at the Brits in 2015, supported by large group of backing dancers - including Skepta! 

The broadcast drew complaints from Kanye's fans, as ITV repeatedly muted it to block out the song's most shocking lyrics.

Two years later, history has repeated itself - Skepta's performance tonight was also partially silenced by the censors.

His fans aren't happy.

 

Adele wins Best Global Artist

Unable to accept in person, she addressed the ceremony via a video message.  "It means the world to me," she said in her acceptance video, filmed from somewhere far away. "I'm somewhere pretty dry - hence the fake bush behind me, to make it look like I'm somewhere nice." But where was she? We're stumped.

Adele, in front of a fake bush (bush in shadow, left) Credit: ITV

 

Katy Perry heats things up with politically charged performance and hand-holding May and Trump skeletons

At first, people weren't quite sure who the skeletons were supposed to represent...but Perry's fans soon worked it out.

 

Little Mix win Best British Single with Shout Out To My Ex

"This song is described as a happy heartache song, and not about anyone in particular," said presenter Emma Willis as the band walked to the stage. 

For absolutely no reason at all, here's a picture of Little Mix's Perrie Edwards with her ex boyfriend Zayn Malik, who is not attending the Brit Awards tonight.

Credit: Disney/REX/Shutterstock

 

Chris Martin performs George Michael song  - but not everyone is happy

 "And so, to give voice to that which stands as George's eternal eulogy, one of the finest singer-songwriters of his generation: Chris Martin," said Andrew Ridgeley ahead of the Coldplay singer's performance.

Sadly, not everyone seems to agree with the above description - and many people have been voicing their surprise that Martin was chosen to perform the tribute.

lockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en">

At least he got to join in during his own tribute, because Chris Martin is ruining this song #BRITS

— Jordon H (@Montague90) February 22, 2017

The Telegraph's Alice Vincent, however, felt that Martin was a "brave" choice.

"Arena very moved by the emotional memories from George Michael's Wham collaborators and video montage, what a Brits tribute," she reported from the Brit Awards Audience at the O2.

"While Chris Martin was a brave choice - especially following Adele's Grammys tribute, his voice was somewhat outshined by recordings of Michael. But I don't think he was brought in for virtuosity, but feeling - Martin managed to silence a room of 20,000 people with his raw rendition of A Different Corner."

'George wrote from the heart:' Andrew Ridgeley and Pepsi and Shirlie lead tearful George Michael tribute

Shirlie broke down in tears as she paid tribute to the late pop star, who died last December.

"George has left for us in his songs, in the transcendental beauty of his voice and the poetic expression of his soul the very best of himself. I loved him, and in turn, we - you - have been loved," said Michael's Wham! co-star Ridgeley, who also appeared visibly moved.

 

The 1975 take on the haters

"Pretentious";"shallow"; "unimaginative". Just three of the words that flashed up on screen during The 1975's performance. Often (unfairly) disdained by music snobs, the 1975's witty, self-aware performance played up to their public image.

But some fans were bewildered, and even suggested the awards had been 'hacked':

Others, however, were impressed by the cunning stunt:

 

Can we just take a moment to appreciate Rag'n'Bone man's knuckle tattoos?

Rag'n'Bone Man is very open about his musical influences: his striking knuckle tattoos read "SOUL" and "FUNK". 

 

Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw present the award for Best British Breakthrough Act to Rag'n'Bone Man

Also known as Rory Graham, Rag'n'Bone Man, who claimed the Critics Choice Brit Award back in December, shot to fame last year with his hit single Human (which played, inevitably, as he collected his award).

"Oh my days," he said as he picked up the award for Best British Breakthrough Act (or Best British "Bakethrough" Act, according to Rita Ora), before declaring himself "speechless".

Rag'n'Bone Man

 

Emeli Sandé performs Hurts

Emeli Sandé has just treated viewers to a stunning, emotionally charged rendition of her 2016 song Hurts...but not everyone is feeling as as moved us, apparently: 

Emeli Sandé performs at the Brits 

 

Zane Lowe announces that the Best British Male Solo Artist award has been posthumously awarded to 'the late, great David Bowie'

Actor Michael C Hall is accepting the award on his behalf.

David Bowie, who ahs posthumously been awarded Best British Solo Artist

"Maybe he is here tonight. I don't know," says Hall.

Ye Olde Bruno tradition

Something curious happened halfway through Bruno Mars's song. "It's tradition," he explained Bruno. "This is the part of the song where we break it down." After consulting the archives, it seems the "tradition" of including a breakdown in the Bruno Mars song 'That's What I Like' dates back to the late middle ages. Richard II was reportedly a fan.

The Brits are officially the cheesiest awards show

Our reporter in the field, Alice Vincent, has been sampling the Brits cheese board. If you camembert the tension, while away the commercial break by trying to guess which types of cheese being modelled in this photo.

 

Maisie Williams and Romesh Ranganathan present the award for Best British Group to The 1975

"They heard I listen to grime, so I'm here to over-compensate for last year," joked Ranganathan, before announcing that Manchester foursome The 1975 had won Best British Group.

Receiving their British Band award, the band waded into the ongoing debate about celebrities making their political views heard: "A lot of people in pop music are told to 'stay in your lane' when it comes to talking about social issues... but don't do that!"

 

Bruno Mars takes to the stage to perform That's What I Like

He looks happy.

People watching from home seem happy, too.

Not too sure about that two-tone ensemble, though. But hey - if it's what Bruno likes...

Bruno Mars performs at the Brits 2017

 

David Tennant presents the award for Best British Female Artist to Emeli Sandé

Emeli is collecting her award alongside her sister, Lucy.

 

Just who are Little Mix shouting out to? 

Forget about coded messages to ex boyfriends: not everyone is entirely sure what Little Mix's lyrics are about:

The space age leotards, however, seem to have gone down well:

An exciting hint about things to come?

Emma Willis has just teased "a special collaboration between two of the biggest artists in the world". Rumours circulating at the venue suggest Ed Sheeran may be involved.

Little Mix enter in style...

Being carried on in sedan chairs, like some kind of shiny silver gods. Did those bald, chrome-painted underlings remind anyone else of the War Boys in Mad Max: Fury Road

Still, that rendition of Shout Out to My Ex was full-throttle pop.

Certainly not an out-of-work Little Mix backing dancer

 

And for viewers at home, the tension is palpable

Just two minutes to go! Corrie is over, and - barring a couple of adverts for cars, sofas and Maltesers - it's Brits time. 

"It's almost as good as being there!" says The Telegraph's Tristram Fane Saunders, who wasn't offered a ticket. Not that he's bitter or anything.

Update from inside the O2: it's about to kick off

"They're persuading us all to go to our seats now. The man is enthusiastically but firmly asking if we are 'ready to party'," says the Telegraph's Alice Vincent, who is attending the awards tonight.

They're playing uptown funk to make the Brit school kids in the front of the crowd dance, and a stream of women in silver morph suits have just walked through the crowd. 

Television coverage begins at 7.30pm on  ITV.

Robbie Williams: 'I'm devaluing the brand after David Bowie'

Credit: Getty

Robbie Williams, who is set to be honoured with the Brits Global Icon Award tonight, has joked that he's feeling a little intimidated by the gong – and the fact that last year's winner was the late David Bowie.

“It depends who they give it to next. Maybe I’m just devaluing the brand. Maybe it’s like the heavy descent. Maybe it’s S Club 7 next. I don’t know," the 43-year-old told NME when asked about his win.

“Look, it was a cracking bit of promo, I’m glad they gave it to me. But there’s so much in my career where I look into the abyss and the abyss looks back and goes: ‘I don’t know, I don’t have a f------ clue’. How have I got 18 Brits and Paul McCartney hasn’t?" he added.

Read the full story

A brand new Ed Sheeran song?

Credit: AP

Writing on Instagram earlier today, ginger pop wizard Ed Sheeran revealed he would be "debut-ing something special" at tonight's show. His fans are almost speechless with excitement. Comments on the social media site include "OMFG YASSSSS YASSSS" (from a user called 'karli_kathy') and "Ohhh yuueeaahhh" (from 'eccentrically___').

Frockwatch: A haute couture guide to the red carpet

Our colleagues on the fashion desk have provided some expert analysis of this year's Brits fashion. Check out their red carpet roundup here

 

Meet Mr & Mrs La Havas

Lianne La Havas is clearly very excited to be up for a Brit Award, and she's brought her proud parents along. Just take a look at this adorable family photo. Aww...

 

Flashback: the most controversial Brits moments

As we wait for the ceremony to kick off, why not check out our list of the most controversial Brits performances of all time? These crazy stunts should be an inspiration to tonight's guests. WWJD? (What Would Jarvis Do?)

 

So, who's performing tonight?

In case you need a reminder, the formidable line-up for the ceremony includes Robbie WilliamsLittle MixEd Sheeran, The 1975Emeli Sandé, Bruno Mars and Skepta.

Katy Perry will also be showcasing her new, political single Chained to the Rhythm, which also had an impressive airing at the Grammys.

 

Katy Perry dazzles on red carpet - but reveals how she was sick at her first-ever Brit Awards

“The first time I went to the Brits I had a flu of maybe 102, and I was so sick and I walked the carpet and they were like ‘You can’t go home’ as they knew I was gonna win, and I was like, ‘Why am I here, I’m literally dying’,” the singer revealed to BBC Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw earlier today.

Katy Perry arrives for the Brit Awards 2017 Credit: REUTERS/Neil Hall 

“I went to the girls’ bathroom and went under a credenza and Natalie Imbruglia pulled up the curtain and was like, ‘Are you alright babe?’ and I was shivering with cold sweats and was like, ‘I’m supposed to be here at the Brits, I think I’m getting an award.’

“I had to stay and get the award and I just went straight to bed. It was tragic, it was my only connection with the Brits.”

Katy Perry attending the 2017 Brit Awards at the O2 Arena, London Credit: PA

 

Bastille and other artists catch tube to Brits

Thought the Brits were all high glamour? Think again:  these artists have all opted for a refreshingly everyday way of getting to the ceremony..although it looks as if some of them are running a little late.

 

Craig David thinks awards are 'weird'

Craig David arrives at the Brit Awards Credit: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

"I grew up as a kid dreaming of attending the Brit awards - I never even thought I'd be here," mused Craig David. "Award ceremonies and events are weird for me." We couldn't agree more. 

"If I was on the mic, and it's a singing thing, I'm chilled," he clarified. "But here, it's... tense."

Little Mix hit the red carpet 

 Little Mix have arrived on the red carpet, with Leigh-Anne Pinnock opting for a striking Nineties-inspired distressed denim number, which is proving predictably divisive on social media.

The girl band are nominated in three categories tonight: Best British Group, Best British Video, and Best Single (for Shout Out To My Ex).

Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix attend The BRIT Awards 2017  Credit: Getty

 

'It's like riding a bike':  Why Ed Sheeran isn't too worried about performing tonight

Ed Sheeran was "scared" about performing here five years ago, but as an old hand at the Brits he's now he's more laid-back about it. "It's kind of like riding a bike," he said on the red carpet. 

The singer-songwriter added that tonight would be his attempt to match Katy Perry's high-tech onstage theatrics. "I've got flamethrowers!" he joked.

Ed Sheeran arrives for the Brit Awards at the O2 Arena in London Credit: Reuetrs

But it won't be a long set. How many songs is he allowed to do? "Two and a half." 

Which Ed Sheeran hit counts as "half a song"? It's a question musicologists will be pondering for years to come.

Seven surprising facts about Ed Sheeran Seven surprising facts about Ed Sheeran
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Ed Sheeran and James Arthur hug on the red carpet

There's nothing like a nice red carpet hug to kick off the night...and this embrace between Ed Sheeran and James Arthur has already set Twitter aglow.

 

A sombre hat-trick for David Bowie?

Credit: AFP/Getty

As last year's Brit ICON winner, Bowie is only the second musician to have won a posthumous Brit Award. The first was Freddie Mercury, who won Best British Single and Outstanding Contribution to Music awards in 1992. If Bowie wins in both his categories tonight, he'll break a melancholy record, with three posthumous awards to Mercury's two. Meanwhile, Leonard Cohen has also picked up a posthumous nomination in the International Solo Artist category.

FROCKWATCH: A brace of Gouldings

This year's red carpet is off to a cracking start: Ellie's younger sister Jordan (left) has arrived to support the British Female Solo Artist nominee.

Hello and welcome

Hi there! I'm Tristram Fane Saunders, and with Rebecca Hawkes I'll be your guide to this evening's Brit Awards. It looks set to be a vintage year, with a sister-to-sister faceoff between Beyonce and Solange, two posthumous nods for Bowie and a lifetime achievement gong for the ever-quotable Robbie Williams.

 

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