Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Brits 2013: The Liveblog

If it doesn't start with Adele wandering onto stage saying "as I was about to say..." the Brits will have failed in their very first few seconds.

Welcome, then, to the 2013 Brits Live Blog. Yes, a liveblog - something which, like an open branch of HMV, you hardly ever come across these days and, when you do find one, it's stuffed full of disappointing box sets and bitter, bitter tears.

This is the third, and final, year of James Corden three-year run as host, in which time we've probably only learned that signing up people to host 36 months in advance is an act of folly.

I wonder which Corden we'll get tonight - will it be Tony-Winning toast of Broadway Corden, giving a show so meek as to be unwatchable? Or it will be Mail-baiting Big Fat Quiz Corden, making jokes about bumming the Queen and cystitis, and equally unwatchable?

We'll find out in about fifteen minutes. Refresh often...

Blimey, ITV Player is horrible. "Come to ITV... if you can even find a live feed, you'll have to sit through four pre-rolls..."

ITV is doing an advert for itself. It's where life lives, apparently. And where awards shows go to die.

Microsoft apparently going to be advertising heavily tonight, by the looks of things.

These Damien Hirst Brit Awards are a bit... well, the sort of thing you'd expect Sainsburys to come up with if they were going to flog awards as part of the summer sale. I guess we're lucky he went with his dot stuff rather than offering a Britannia cut in half and suspended in formaldyhede.

Oh... "The biggest night of the year in British music". Except for Glastonbury on Sunday, and the Christmas Number One.

Muse not a bad choice for starting, although they could have been on any year in the last ten. At least they work in a massive hole like Earls CourtThe O2. Or a supermassive black hole... do you see?

They've come with a lot of string players, which might be an extra detail for tonight, or possibly what they do every show nowadays. They're very in the 'I don't care it what it costs, let's add a couple of orchestras' phase of their career, aren't they?

Heavy make-up on the string section. Possibly two tonnes of eyeliner on stage right there. A level unseen since the last Cure tour.

Dominic Howard has both the clothing and demeanour of someone regretting booking a Cromer minibreak so soon in the year.

Thanks to anonymous in the comments for pointing out the best British live band are miming.

Corden is a bit more up than he was last year. "How about Muse?" Corden promises something for us however we like our music, before detailing a menu which offers the opposite.

An appearance for MySpace's Justin Timberlake is offered as the big highlight.

Mumford And Sons are going to tell us about their shortlisted album in their own words. Apparently a second album doubles the size of the window people can look into. Yes, French Doors do that, also.

There's something special about Mumfords, a band whose every exposure makes them seem less interesting.

James Corden loves them, apparently.

First award: British female. It's going to be presented by Taylor Swift. Corden does some jokes about how poorly organised the end of last year's awards were.

Swift has a prepared joke but it got swallowed by the sound man.

Oh, yes, this is the category being dead for over a year is no bar to entering.

The winner is... Emeli Sande.

Well, at least that means she'll be prepared to do the song at the end.

Seriously: What is the obsession with her? Is it just everyone keeps seeing her doing things like the Olympics and assumes there's something they're missing.

She thanks EMI.

Oh, we're doing the sub-Jools Holland interviews at the table, are we?

Corden calls One Direction toe-rags. He's such a card.

I was going to have a quick dip into Twitter during the ad break, but unfortunately it's all ONE DIRECTION I SAW HARRY'S NOSE OMG!!!1!

Corden's introducing someone who is "so massive they're going to have to build the O3". Is that a fat joke?

Robbie Williams appears to have come as Q*Bert.

Candy is very much Williams' Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, isn't it? Pity he doesn't have a White Album to offset it.

The comment suggesting that setting up 4000 cellos would be hard reminded me of that Smith And Jones soundchecking the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

British Group time. Mumfords v Alt-J v The XX v Muse v One Direction. But for the last one, that could be the NME prizes.

Mumfords win, thereby making themselves hate figures for a large cross-section of prepubescent girls in the UK and America.

Mumfords are "proud to be British". Sure, that's what Morrissey says.

Corden does another joke about Harry Styles having lots of sex.

Nick Grimshaw comes on to do Breakthrough Award - voted for by listeners to Radio One. Could it be break-bumper starlet Rita Ora?

No, it's Ben Howard. A man who is so dull his name sounds like a chain-store attempt to create a trendy sub-brand to sell its jeans under.

Corden is at the table with Dave Grohl. Grohl waves, goofily. Which was cute, but the cuteness drops as he gets a long period of time to plug his film.

James Corden finds his pretending to be deaf joke funnier than just about anyone else did.

Simon Cowell gets to loom on the screen for no real reason other than ITV is trying to shore him up.

Plan B does a little video about Ill Manors. "It was a weight off my shoulders to get it done", he says, like it was putting down a much-loved pet.

"I do music to evoke something out of another human being" explains Mr B, confusingly.

Did James Corden mention there was going to be a performance by Justin Timberlake? Because there is, you know. It's coming up. It really is.

Shazam are offering the chance to Shazam the Skyfall ad. Do people really do that? Isn't that just an audio version of a QR code?

The Twitter hivemind point out, almost as one, that Robbie Williams couldn't have been miming based on how flat he was.

And we're back. A world exclusive performance, and the first horsemeat joke of the evening.

It's Timberlake. Jesus, wasn't this meant to be the highspot? They've got 90 minutes to go.

Justin wearing a horrible shiny dinner jacket and outsize bowtie. It's like a fetish waiter outfit. First rule of showbiz, Justin - never let your backing singers be smarter than you.

I wonder if Justin Timberlake reads today's stories about Bieber crime plots thinking "I used to be the guy who'd be the one who they'd want to kidnap and castrate. What happened to me?"

The good news for Justin is that he's starting to reach a point where Kevin Spacey could play him in a movie.

Oof. Acousticy-clap-along bit. The clapping along appears to have been dubbed on the top. That's awkward.

Oh god, we're only onto the third nominee for best album. It's Paloma Faith.

More and more, it's clear that she's the Su Pollard of our time. Without the solid sitcom behind her.

Faith claims she's been inspired by the people furthest away from her. Might explain why she bellows songs so often.

Ed Sheeran is coming on, but not before James Corden reminds us he won a prize last year. Ye gods, he did, didn't he?

This is the solo male prize - remember, once won by Daniel Bedingfield, so they don't give it to just anyone.

Ben Howard has picked it up. "He's known for constant touring" it's explained. And also comfy slacks at £17.99.

I mean, he seems nice enough. But... really? This is the best we can do? They're not showing this in America are they?

Ah, we're on to the Critics Choice Award, which is really a prize to show which artist will get the biggest marketing push from their label this year.

It's Tom Odell, who says that winning is "crazy". He has the air of a man caught in a crazy whirlwind of craziness, but chosen to have a nap until it goes away.

Emeli Sande also does a bit of an interview, but reacts like a woman who has never been asked a question before in her life and isn't entirely sure she's meant to participate in a conversation anyway.

Beyonce has become the first woman to market gig tickets like they were a perfume.

Apparently Americans can watch the Brits on Fuse at 6pm tonight, although if anyone there was expected to watch them, they wouldn't be on Fuse. Or on at 6pm.

Is it just me or is there a massive gap between awards tonight?

International Female, presented by Dermot O'Leary and Sharon 'Really? In 2013?' Osborne.

Sharon is doing a silly voice and pretending she finds Harry Styles sexually attractive.

Alicia Keys is on the shortlist here - she's the international equivalent of Emeli Sande, isn't she? Inexplicably everywhere but seldom loved.

Lana Del Ray is the winner, though. Nice to see the prize going to a genuine artist, isn't it? Cough.

Lana thanks Polydor for "helping me turn my life into a work of art". I'm not sure either part of that claim is entirely true,

One Direction come on in front of a backdrop reading "Teenage Kicks" - apt, given that was a song about wanking.

I'd forgotten they were murdering the memory of Blondie in the name of charity.

Hey, where's the posh bloke from the video for this?

"I wanna love you Nobby Stiles" they appear to be chanting.

Back to the album nominees, and Emeli Sande is talking about Our Version Of Events. Apparently the recognition she's been getting makes her want to go out and do something else. See, told you it'd be better if we didn't look, didn't I?

Jokes about metrosexuality in 2013? Really, James Corden?

It's the gymnast out the Olympics and Jack Whitehall doing British Live Act. This award is traditionally judged by counting the number of cellos added to the band during their live performances.

"Make some noise! Coldplay!" Make some noise? For Coldplay?

Even Coldplay seem surprised that they've somehow managed to get a prize in this year's awards. Not so surprised they don't thank everyone they can think of.

Hang on... how long has Moby been in Coldplay?

The most exciting thing I've seen during the Brits so far has been that Warburtons have launched a fruit and fibre bagel.

We've only got an hour to go. We can get through this. Be strong.

British single now - they're saying voted for by Capital listeners and iTunes but Capital's website says there's no public vote. Curious. Perhaps nobody bothered to vote.

And the winner is... Adele's Skyfall.

Now, I like Adele. But... oh, come on. Really?

Skyfall was barely the best Bond Movie theme of the year.

"Time now for another performance" says James Corden, like a man ticking items off an especially irksome to-do list.

It's Taylor Swift, not doing the right song, and wearing a wedding dress stolen from MC Hammer's couture range.

We wanted the other song, Taylor. WE WANTED THE OTHER SONG.

It's like Mary Berry turning up and not saying "soggy bottoms".

There are people wearing fencing masks, and a small fire has broken out on stage. MC Hammer's dress has been removed to reveal a hot-pant-and-bodice combination.

None of this hides the fact that it's the wrong song.

Over at the tables, Robbie Williams is sitting looking bored. He churns through his glory days, like the time he played with Tom Jones.

International group time, presented by Dave Grohl. Or "they have more fun elsewhere on their own, these days", as it could be known. Unless Fun win.

The Black Keys. They can't be here tonight, and the producers couldn't be arsed to get a camera to them, so... uh, oh, let Dave Grohl wander off with it.

Did Capital really think positioning themselves as "the middle man between [the artist] and the fan" was going to sound endearing? "Oh... they're imposing themselves between me and my favourite band - that sounds excellent. I wonder what their mark-up will be?"

Blackberry advertising now - I guess if you've got an audience who still care about Robbie Williams, you might find a few Blackberry diehards amongst them.

Here's something from the rest of the world you should probably know:

Back at the O2, Ben Howard has come on to do a song, and to push a range of distressed-look t-shirts, £9-99 or £24 for three. At least that might stop everyone who has been going 'who the hell is he?' on Twitter for a bit. Might make them go 'why the hell he', though.

If ever a song wasn't designed to be played at a large venue stuffed with half-drunk executives, it's that one that Ben Howard just did.

Alt-J are listing festivals for some reason. When they stop, Corden does the worst joke of the evening based around Les Mis.

They're now going to be on video telling us about their record, which has already won a Mercury. They share some secrets of their recording process, which would be great if this was BBC Four.

Maybe next year they should just put up captions that prompt the audience as to which advert they've heard the various tracks on.

International solo males up now. Buble on the shortlist, which is surely an insult to most of the rest of the world.

Frank Ocean wins. He looks a bit shifty, though, as if he can't quite believe he's beaten Buble.

Nice, short, genuine speech. That's lovely.

Now War Child are getting a made-up award to mean they can have an award, like that time they invented an event award for the BAFTAS to give Live Aid a prize and then dropped it the next year.

Still, good to see War Child getting some prime-time awareness. I think this is the first time the charity has got a mention on the Brits. Heartening it only takes 25 years of hard work to get a plug. Unless you're the Brits School, of course. But then what is helping children affected by conflict compared with teaching Rizzle Kicks?

Nice of Damon Albarn to come on and mumble something about War Child being whatever and that, you know. Great.

The way the tables flash when they come back from commercials is interesting. Like someone's going to have answer a quick-fire round.

Oh, look, Mumford And Sons. So full of hope and bright eyes, it's like they're challenging us to dislike them. More and more people rising to the challenge these days.

Remember, this show is really just a warm-up for the ITV2 show that starts at 10.15. If you're wondering who they've booked to peer desperately into the cameras while trying to read the word "great" off a cue card, it's Laura Whitmore & Rizzle Kicks. Genuinely, ITV pick their presenting teams from out of a black sack these days.

James Corden claims there's goosebumps all over the O2. Think he's getting confused with Selfridges in Birmingham.

Bryan Ferry is going to present the album award, which given the shortlist is a bit like bringing Pele on to present a player of the week award at Fratton Park.

Man, he's looking good for a 67 year-old. He should keep the album award.

Oh, it's gone to Emeli Sande, rounding off a year of total over-promotion. I swear in 2016 we'll be looking back trying to work out what the hell we were all thinking.

"I think I'm a very unlikely pop star". You can say that again.

Unfortunately, James Corden hasn't rushed on to cut her rambling thank yous short.

Oh, there's another new award. The Global Success Award. Jesus, this sounds like a prize dreamed up in the Department of Trade And Industry.

Tell us, Robbie Williams, who is the globally successful prize going to?

It's One Direction.

So, in short, a prize for an act who haven't got the skills to get a proper prize, but shift a load of stuff. ITV's little thank you to Simon Cowell.

Shh! They're going to make a speech.

"It's absolutely mindblowing". Something like that.

They're doing a break before the closing number. Although Corden was so lost in his erection joke he said "goodbye" instead of "come back".

Adidas, excitingly, have announced a new plimsoll. We live in a golden age, people.

"That's almost it tonight" says Corden. Unlike last year, clearly, they've under run a little bit this year and he's padding it out.

So here comes Sande to do her winner's lap of honour. I seem to have spent ages watching her perform on TV over the last 12 months, and genuinely can't remember if I've heard this song before.

So, what have we learned? Mostly, that the BPI now quite happy to make up awards in order to get bands to play - I wonder what else was on that 'global success' brainstorm flowchart? "Band with best name with a number in it"? "Most popular five-piece containing a Harry."

Oh, hang on. Yes, it's this song. I have heard this one before. Emeli has slipped Muses' string section a tenner to get them to do a bit of overtime.

Thanks for sharing the evening, especially if you joined in with the comments or said something nice on Twitter. I expect I'll liveblog Eurovision in a few weeks, so see you then, if not before.


Anonymous said...

"something which, like an open branch of HMV, you hardly ever come across these days"

Twitter Killed the Liveblog Star?

Anonymous said...

"Best British live band" are miming.

Anonymous said...

Damien will never get those 30 seconds of design time back

Anonymous said...

Will Emeli get her own channel on the BBC now?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure they were miming, you know. Unless they pre-recorded a load of crunchy guitar noises.

At the worst they were miming to a live recording done this afternoon, which would only be a logistical issue for setting up 4000 cellos in time.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Candy had a tune on the recorded version. Odd.

Anonymous said...

Robbie's reminding me of "Return of Bruno"-era Bruce Willis

Anonymous said...

Pegg is turning into sue Perkins before our very eyes

Anonymous said...

Right, can someone explain this to me please?

A band wins Best Group. They do not win Best Album.

So, how can they be the best group? Because surely a band is only a good as the music they made, and someone else made a better album. If they didn't make the best album, then what possible criteria is there for judging them the best group?

This shit makes my brain hurt at every award ceremony.

Anonymous said...

Is this one directions dad?

Anonymous said...

At least it wasn't murrs

Anonymous said...

At least it wasn't Murs

Anonymous said...

Bring back the mash-ups! We need Ben Dullard, Ed The Ging & Mumford to do a nice soothing version of Anarchy in The UK

James said...

Now War Child are getting a made-up award to mean they can have an award, like that time they invented an event award for the BAFTAS to give Live Aid a prize and then dropped it the next year.

Wasn't it also the BAFTAs that introduced a 'Best Chatshow' category one year, then conveniently decided that Panorama was a chatshow, handily allowing them to give the award to Martin Bashir's Princess-Diana-Does-Doe-Eyed-Expressions special?

Anonymous said...

Emeli, 2012s Florence

Anonymous said...

Bryan Ferry looks younger than Damon

Anonymous said...

So Emilie gets the lifetime achievement slot after a whole year, her
management deserve an award!

James said...

Here's something to look forward to - Next year's Brits could be a week-long event.

The reasoning behind this is sound;

Jay Marciano, the European CEO of AEG - which hosts the Brits said "Eight out of ten people don't know the Brits is on tonight, so we plan to make it a week-long celebration."

Which is a bit like saying "Yes, I'm terrible at tennis, but it's OK - We'll just replace the racquet with a banjo, and the ball with a cow's arse."

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