Monday, January 14, 2008

Brits nominations sort of live

Oh, lord... did they really introduce ITV2's coverage of the 2008 Brits nominations with The Final Countdown? Really?

Here are Reggie and Kelly, then, trying to force some pizzazz into a second-tier event. But first: Editors.

We like Editors, but we can't work out if they're here because Coldplay are too grand, or because the Brits organisers believe they're an example of the Best British Music today (albeit not good enough for the Brits proper.)

After they're finished, Kelly trills "we've kept you waiting long enough", which suggests they're seen as ballast, padding out a few lists of band names just enough to make a programme fit for ITV2.

Nominations underway, then. First, Best British Group (wasn't this the sort of category you should build to?)

Kaiser Chiefs - who might have just about counted for last year's awards, but don't appear to have done anything memorable since;
Arctic Monkeys - who were, at least, slightly more visible than the Kaisers;
Girls Aloud - who should waltz this against the competition;
Editors - who at least turned up this evening; and
Take That - who advertised both Marks and Spencers and Morrisons. Simultaneously. Can't be trusted.

International male solo artist:

Kanye West - who might turn up if he's promised he'll win;
Rufus Wainwright - really? The international equivalent of Take That? Really?
Bruce Springsteen - now, he's the international male Take That
Michael Buble - snurkle! You're joking, right?
Timbaland - although he might have been voted for by people thinking he was the same as Justin Timberlake

British breakthrough

Kate Nash - funded by the Brits awards past so surely a conflict of interest, right?
Kalxons - didn't they breakthrough a while back?
Bat For Lashes - turning up here tonight, but not entirely sure the "breakthrough" really has happened yet?
Leona Lewis - well, popular, yes, but didn't her breakthrough come the Christmas before last?
Mika - broke through; disappeared instantly

"We're speeding through the show" says Reggie, as if they're in danger of running out of material before the first break.

Sadly they don't.

Oh, lord, there's a taped insert from Sharon Osbourne wishing "smelly Kelly" luck.

More noms:

British male solo artist

Mark Ronson - whose success is based on collaborating with other artists and isn't really solo in any sense
Newton Faulkner - a man who thinks a review calling him "the British Jack Johnson" is something to be proud of
Richard Hawley - every category has one great act who doesn't stand a horse's chance in a dog race
Jamie T - still yet to qualify for British breakthrough, though, hasn't he?
Mika - Perhaps it's a joke. Maybe they're joking

International album

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible - only slightly disappointing as a follow-up
Eagles - Long Road Out Of Eden - have yet to meet anyone in Britain who even knows this has been released, much less who cares
Kylie - X - but for the long, health-induced gap in her career, this would have been seen as her Madonna moment, where the magic has gone and all that is left is production and memories
Kings Of Leon - Because Of The Times - The junior Eagles
Foo Fighters - Echoes... - This will win, because everyone loves Dave Gorhl and wants to check he'll turn up

Female solo artist

Alicia Keys - Still going, apparently
Bjork - we know she's still going, she beat someone up in a airport to prove she's still alive
Rhianna - all one song
Feist - see Richard Hawley
Kylie - she was alright in Dcotor Who, wasn't she?

There's now some more business about the Osbournes; Kelly is revealing how "fun" it'll be because her parents can't speak without swearing: "where's the fun without profanities?"

On tape again, it's back to Sharon: "I didn't think the Brits would ask us." No, we didn't see it coming, either. Not in 2008. She mumbles something about not being Trevor McDonald and keeps repeating "it should be fun", like she's desperately trying to convince herself as well as us.

Bat For Lashes is the next live act, doing exactly the sort of thing that should be in the proper Brits - an acoustic What's A Girl To Do? - but will never appear, as actual spine-chilling music must make way for Jason Orange and Prince jamming to covers of Beyonce tracks or whatever this year's musical entertainment might be.

To be fair to the organisers, at least this year's nominations have made a little bit of effort to include some less-obvious acts, if you can call saying "ooh... what was the song on that iPod advert again" as pushing the envelope.

Kelly says that the Brits are "a credible event which helps fund the Brit school...", which is half true.

Leona Lewis has gone back to the Brits school to show what her alma mater is like - but if they're that good at training people for music industry skills, how did she end up begging for a job on the X-Factor? It's like Harvard Business School being proud if one of their graduates winds up on The Apprentice.

Now Mark Ronson has turned up for an interview.

"How do you feel?"
"I feel... Brit...ish"

The interview lasts five seconds. He seems less than impressed.

More padding now, as they ask artists of the sort prepared to appear in a package about 'who do you like' what they think about the nominations for best British male. Kate Nash is positive about Newton Faulkner. Craig David says Mika is "very unique", as if there are degrees of uniqueness.

There's an awful lot of padding.

The advertisers in the commercials include mouthwash and computer dating agencies. Who, exactly, do they think will be watching this programme, then?

Kelly Osbourne trills "coming up, we've got some more live performances, but first back to the serious business of music" - so what are the live performances going to be, then? Magicians? Vent acts?

Another slew of nominations - it's odd that these are just being churned out on tape, while the programme makes room for acres of other old bits of shit. Couldn't they at least have got someone - anyone - to come out and read them out of a piece of paper in a big gold envelope?

Best live act
The Klaxons - hmm
Take That - hmm
Kaiser Chiefs - hmm
Muse - hmm
Arctic Monkeys - hmmm

This whole category is just there to provide a nice gift for the boys who don't run fast enough to win one of those proper prizes, as hardly anyone is going to be in a position to be able to vouch for all the shortlist, so it's just guessing, really, isn't it?

International group
Foo Fighters - they'll be replaced next year with the red Hot Chili Peppers, of course, as they alternate
Eagles - if all the votes from anyone under 50 are discounted
Kings Of Leon - depsite the novelty having worn off sometime around summer 2006, still popular with industry insiders, it seems
Arcade Fire - it'd be nice if they did win, wouldn't it?
White Stripes -... unless it turns them the way critical acclaim made the White Stripes (i.e. Jack) go as pompous as Captain Mainwearing

British female artist
KT Tunstall - "or do we mean Sandi Thom? which was the one who didn't vanish?"
PJ Harvey/Bat For Lashes/Kate Nash - funny; normally this is the category which is scrabbling around for actual talent active in the year in question to nominate, which is why Annie Lennox usually turns up, but this year they're spoiled for choice...
Leona Lewis - ... but will probably give it to the one off the telly anyway.
No Winehouse, you'll note.

There's a new award now - the "Critic's Choice". Blimey, there's Peter Robinson talking about it. It seems to be some sort of attempt to redress the balance of the awards being shit, so they've asked journalists to come up with someone a bit more exciting. It's restricted to artists releasing debut albums.

Foals and Duffy lose out to (ex Brits school) Adele. So not only have they done the credible award off on the prelaunch programme, but they've also managed to choose the dullest of the three who was being underwritten by the Brits organisation anyway. The funny thing is, Adele does have a great career ahead of her - but it's clearly a Mari Wilson/Sam Brown lite-jazz, occasional-live-spot-on-Woman's-Hour type of career. Brilliant to watch, but not going to save the UK record industry.

Another sludgy collection of 'who will Sugababes vote for, assuming they don't attack them with sticks' vox pops. The Klaxons say Kate Nash could be the next Cilla Black; that's probably not as insulting as they intend it to be.

Mika is wearing braces: "Bat For Lashes is very creative... and not the norm..."

Apparently, there's more of this sort of thing on the Brits website. Don;t all rush at once.

Brits performers being run down now:
Kaiser Chiefs (they've promised not to do I Predict A Riot, honest)
Kylie (she was alright on Doctor Who, remember)
Leona Lewis (this is ITV)
Rhianna (doing... go on, guess)
Mika (it's like when they booked The Darkness too early and nobody cared any more by the time the show came round...)
Mark Ronson (they half hope he'll bring Amy; the half hope he'll bring Candie Payne instead)

Oh, god, they've sent Jodie Harsh to ask passers-by what the best single of 2008 was: it's like a cross between Lily Savage's Blankety Blank and That's Life.

They keep trailing the Hoosiers as if that's something to stop you turning over to see Trevor McDonald crawling out of retirement.

Ricky Wilson is now being interviewed - let's assume he's just been up early delivering milk and not, in any way, out of his gourd on the diminishing largess of the major labels, shall we? He does admit that Kaiser Chiefs are simple.

Top ten singles, from which the world can vote:
Kate Nash - Foundations
James Blunt - 1973
Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
Mark Ronson - Valerie
Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
Mutya Buena - Real Girl
The Hoosiers - Worried About Ray
Take That - Shine
Mika - Grace Kelly
Sugababes - About You Now

The Hoosiers? How the hell did they get in this list? I mean... really?

British album:
Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare - the record which defined the year as being the year they released an album that was, you know, okay
Leona Lewis - Spirit - in with the running as the "happy Mother's Day" lazy gift choice of the year
Mark Ronson - Version - the sort of record which execs and Jo Whiley love, but doesn't really make an emotional connection with
Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion - stop it, it's not funny any more
Take That - Beautiful World - the "so, timmy got you Leona Lewis, and I got you this, Mum" choice

My god; they really have built up towards The Hoosiers as the peak of the evening. It's 'quirky' and 'off-kilter' for people who believe they, themselves, are quirky and off-kilter. Also, the song is a rip off of Happy Together for people who would rather think themselves quirky and off-kilter than listen to The Turtles.

Oh, hang on, there's one more award to announce - a prestigious one, too: the 'well done for not dying Paul McCartney award'.

So, the scene is set for the big event then: or, at leaat, the odds have been firmly stacked against it. This has been kind of the kid's table at the wedding.