Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Brits 2015: the liveblog

Unquestionably today is the best day of the year for music on British TV.

That's because at 7.30, Sleater-Kinney's set from the 6music festival is going to be on the BBC Red Button.

Sadly, most of us are going to be watching the Brits instead.

Here's the thing - why not let us take the strain of watching the Brits while you go an enjoy Sleater-Kinney. That way, everybody will be happy.

I'll level with you - I'm still in Pizza Express right now. I'll get the check, and see you back at this page in a few minutes.

They're interviewing Sam Smith on BBC News. That's the sort of night we're in for.

So this is the first night of the post-Corden era. Ant And Dec return to hosting duties.

It might not seem a totally absurd choice - after all, they did once present a music chart show on ITV. But that was back when Mark Goodier was doing the charts for Radio One.

They're such an old-fashioned act, aren't they? The perfect faces of Morrisons, a store which seems to sell nothing but luncheon meat shaped like teddy bears, tripe and haslet.

Mastercard sponsoring again. They'd have been better off doing a product placement deal like Visa have done with Corrie.

And we're off. There's a comedy sequence of Ant and Dec preparing the food in the kitchen with all manner of pop people roped in for it. And the bloke off of the Knorr ads.

Oh, jesus. Dancing waiters. With Ant and Dec doing that thing where you lift a big silver lid off a platter, and they're underneath it. Told you they were old-fashioned.

Taylor Swift doing first performance, which isn't food-themed and makes the opening seem even odder. (Perhaps it was a reference to that time they tried to drop the tables from the hall to make it more of a spectacle for ITV and it died on its arse.)

Taylor Swift is ace, because it's Taylor Swift. Peaking too soon.

She does have dancers in bowler hats, though. Because it's England, guv, innit?

The long catwalk into the audience works really well for her. I suspect it's going to be a less useful feature when it's Sam Smith.

First glitter shower of the night. Yes, the Brits have peaked already.

The catwalk has now shown its weakness, as it took about six years for Ant and Dec to reach the place where they're supposed to do the talking.

Ant (or is it Dec) tells us this is the year British music has gone global. Wasn't that a couple of years back?

There's a joke about Kanye being in the building - haahahahahah he might take your award and give it to Beyonce, they say. You can tell they're hoping.

First short list: Video artist of the year. This is the one the oh-so-discerning viewers at home can vote for, with a hashtag. At least they've worked out that just using the act's name might not work entirely well as a voting mechanism.

Tracy Emin grimaces when they show her award.

Rita Ora off The Voice and Orlando Bloom off the Pirates Of The Caribbean come on for a prize. Orlando Bloom calls Rita "darlin'" and comes off like a bit of a perv.

This is best male artist - Damon Albarn v Paoloa Nutini v George Ezra v Sam Smith v Ed Sheeran.

God, is that really the best men can do?

"This is a hell of a line-up" says Rita. Yes, it does feel like hell.

Ed Sheeran wins.

Apparently Ed is one of the nicest people in pop. He's doing a reminiscence about the first time he ever came to the Brits, way back in 2011.

And they're already going to a break. Blimey.

It seems they've officially dropped the "The" from the awards - like Kanye or Beyonce, just relying on the one name now.

As they were going to the break, Dec (or was it Ant?) said "one down, ten to go", but it seemed almost heartfelt.

Still, they have managed to do something astonishing - the prize going to Sheeran actually manages to create the sense that Sam Smith has been unfairly robbed.

This has nothing to do with Brits, but there's an hour-long Thrush Puppies live video on YouTube, you know.

The ITV livestream doesn't appear to have sold all the ad slots in this break, which is a bit ominous.

Ant & Dec are now amongst the "celebrities", threatening to chat to them.

Second award - Jimmy Page is introduced with a joke about throwing TVs out of windows. Page's job is to give out Best British Group.

Royal Blood v Coldplay v Alt-J v Clean Bandit off the Windows Phone ads v One Direction.

Royal Blood have won. You can hear a million preteen girls screaming abuse at their televisions. I fear there will be much blood on the streets tonight.

Lovely self-effacing speech from the band. (Worth noting they're playing the show, and One Direction aren't; not that that's the criteria at all.)

Sam Smith is doing his live bit now. He's keeping the theme of the kitchen staff dance from the start of the show going, because he's come dressed like a lad dropping off a delivery from the grocers.

Oh, hang on, that's how he always dresses is it?

He obviously hasn't attempted to fill the whole of the O2 on his own; he's turned up with a full string orchestral backing. Because he is a Serious Artist Who Sings From The Heart.

He's now bellowing, presumably because he can't hear himself above all those fucking violins.

He's got a lot of head at the back of his face, hasn't he, the Sam Smith?

We're down amongst the tables now. Ant and Dec chatting away with Ed Sheeran.

This would be disappointing television even if you were Ant and Dec's mum.

Unlike Corden, Ant and Dec are asking 'proper' 'serious' music questions. How did the record come to happen, Ed?
("I just filled in a music-by-numbers chart, and there was the album.)

We're getting another reminder of the video vote hashtags now. I implore you to use #reopennominationsbrits

The Clean Bandit Windows phone ad is on. "We are stiff because we are posh; we are also stiff because we are not actors. Isn't that right, Cortana?"
"Yes, there's no place I'd rather be."

Quick look at the twitter:

ITV drop a Keith Lemon trailer into the proceedings, to remind us that things could have been a lot worse.

The boys are doing jokes about mismatched presenting teams. It flops. They're doing a bit of business with a bingo ball machine.

It doesn't help the punchline is Lewis Hamilton and Ellie Goulding. Although from here is looks like it's Eva from Corrie.

Lewis is proud to be here tonight. He makes a joke about Ellie's dress, which she clearly doesn't like. "That's a good one" she grits out.

Beyonce v Lana Del Ray v Sia v St Vincent v Taylor 'in the room' Swift for international solo artist.

Taylor Swift wins. Which would be right and proper. Even if she hadn't already done a turn for it.

She lets herself down a little by starting by thanking the record labels.

She also thanks Ed, and some models, and British fans. And, just as she's about leave, she slips one for Ellie. Lewis doesn't get a thanks.

Ant and Dec do the Kanye stealing awards joke again.

Royal Blood live. I doubt if any One Direction fans will be going 'yeah, actually, this is better, fair play' but it's amusing to think that this is probably only going to be the second time a large chunk of the audience have come across the band; and the first time would have been back at 8.23.

Royal Blood are accomplished, but they could have done that at any Brit awards since the 70s and fitted right in.

Time for a chatty chat chat with Rita and Ellie. Ellie Goulding looks like she's got scratches on her face, but on closer inspection it's just a lipstick kiss.

Another reminder of the video nominees; another bunch of commercials.

One of the complicated Mastercard break bumpers features Paloma Faith ordering an unsuspecting couple of head for a bank vault. It's a bit sinister. The best that couple can hope for is they're going to discover the corpse of a favourite pet; chances are it's going to be Faith doing a song in their faces.

A quick reminder there between the difference between 'doing a song at the' and 'being nominated for an' Oscar.

Ant and Dec have found Simon Cowell, who loves the Brits. It's like a bloodthirsty warlord marching through a field strewn with corpses.

'Who you listening to at the moment, Simon?"
'Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, One Direction...'

He's so cutting edge.

He's also wearing Max Clifford's glasses.

"Collaboration is his middle name" say Ant and Dec. "Here's Mark Collaboration Ronson". Ho-ho

Paloma Faith v FKA Twigs v Lily Really Allen v Jessie Ware v Ella Henderson for British female. Lily Allen?

Paloma Faith has done a lot of work for the spons... sorry, has won the award.

She is delighted, though: "it's been a long time coming". It's hardly Jean Rhys' "it has come too late" though, is it? Faith warns us that she's going to do a long speech, but everyone else has done short speeches.

She's talking about flyposting, though, which is a reminder that not every musician starts out with Syco backing them.

Yeah, you're going on a bit now. Lucky they'd already shifted the news back to 10.10.

Trying to work up an Una Paloma Blanca joke. Failed.

Ed Sheeran's playing live now. Time for a toilet break, then.

He's gurning like he's on a toilet break, too.

For a song so devoid of any emotion, he's certainly emoting like crazy. With the sound down, you might think this was an impassioned performance.

Ant and Dec are now asking Sam Smith about how he enjoyed the Ed Sheeran song. There are rental properties on Homes Under The Hammer which are less bland than that moment.

Oh, another ad break.

Perhaps if they'd done a few less ad breaks, they might have filled all the slots on the online stream of the show.

From Twitter:

There's now a trail for Ant And Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, reminding you how bad things really are.

Ant is staring into the middle distance, now. Not sure if he's wishing it was over, or desperately hoping to see an autocue with some new material.

Kim Kardashian is here for the global success award, and probably as part of the contract negotiations to get Kanye to play live. She introduces a small reel of why Sam Smith is so brilliant. You know the sort of thing - "he has made some records! Inoffensive in 12 languages! Comes with his own toothbrush!"

They remind us he won Critics Choice award last year, so this is a Brits first - bullshit non-prizes two years running. Well done, Sam.

Ant and Dec are kissing Kim and saying they're "thrilled to have you here". She's getting more screen time than Smith did.

And they're doing a taking a selfie routine. Can the MySpace jokes be far away?

Kim introduces Kanye, which does nothing to dispel the impression her appearance was negotiated.

West is having so much of his performance muted it's like he's doing it on RealAudio over a dial-up line.

The 'riot and fire and cops' staging might have been edgy, had it not been done in 2011. By Plan B. And also by Take That.

Nice shot of Lionel Richie looking impressed as someone uses a flamethrower indoors.

(They do know the fire brigade are on strike today, right?)

Hang on, maybe there's no cops in the melee - it was hard to tell as ITV kept pulling back.

Sam Smith reaction shot - he was ashen faced.

And a third Kanye interrupting awards joke.

International Male solo artist:
Jack White v Hozier v Beck v John Legend v Pharrell Williams

Who will it be? And what the hell Hozier?

Pharrell Williams wins, but he can't be here tonight. Luckily for him, neither could any of the others. Williams does a little speech via the magic of video. He couldn't be arsed to do a second take, though, clearly.

Another break. Another reminder to vote in the video prizes.

Spotify's social media team are busy:

So... if you're watching a programme on TV, why not look at an unconnected organisation's twitter stream to find out the latest about what you will have already just seen?

Just seen that Sex Criminals - the freeze-when-you-fuck comic - is going to be adapted for TV. That's made me more excited than anything so far at the O2.

Realised that when I thought Ant had said Kate Nash was going to be playing live next, he actually just said Take That, didn't he? That's disappointing.

Now a bit of business about which end of the runway they're meant to be at. Clearly the Chuckle Brothers have shared their writing team for the evening.

It's all in the cause of introducing Take That. Look, George Osborne had no way of knowing what they were up to, right?

Mark Owen now looks like that guy who used to play the cardboard guitar outside What Everyone Wants in Liverpool.

It must be depressing for Gary Barlow, knowing that everywhere he goes, and everything he does, will be met with a barrage of 'pay your taxes'. Did he ever release the results of his investigation in how he came to be avoiding taxes?

Looks like Josh Widdecombe is in the background on guitar there.

"Let in The Sun" they sing, aware that News International also had an interesting approach to paying their taxes, too.

British singles awards. Oh, they're doing the bingo machine thing again. Flogging a horse that was already dead.

Lisa Snowdon and Lionel Ritchie. Edward Snowdon and Lionel Blair would have been a more interesting choice.

Rather Be v Thinking Out Loud v My Love v Ghost v Nobody To Love v Stay With Me v I Got U v Budapest v Uptown Funk

That's a lot of very posh people. Mark Ronson wins for having pretty much shagging the corpse of James Brown for the enterainment of people who don't really like James Brown.

Ronson thanks the Commodores, which I bet he wouldn't even have done if Lionel hadn't been standing right there.

John Bishop has come on to do a prize. Really? I mean, I like him well enough but he played a dad on Skins... who is this aimed at now?

Best International Group: Foo Fighters v Black Keys v First Aid Kit v The War On Drugs v 5 Seconds Of Summer

Of course Foo Fighters win; the other names were just padding out the list to try and get a few more NME readers to tune in.

Dave et al pick up their prize via video. They're proud. They sound bored as paint.

James Bay is at the table with Ant and Dec, wearing his hat and exhibiting all the personality we've come to expect from these empty chairs. Sam Smith gives him some advice, which i didn't catch but assume was 'sit down and don't make any unexpected moves'.

George Ezra is now playing his guitar. He's got his name up in lights, like Elvis doing the comeback special.

Just think of that.

Ezra is trying to make us think of him in the same way as Elvis Presley.

Let's hope he starts on that high fat diet quickly, then.

Clearly, Ezra is incapable of growing a hipster beard, and so has hired a backing musician to do that bit for him. He's probably going to leave the stage riding a penny farthing.

We're going to have another break? Jesus, how many more times do Lidl want to berate us this evening?

Some poor sod has been made to play maracas with Kaiser Chiefs in the break bumpers. I'm going to go and cut up my Mastercard just in case this sort of thing could happen to me next year.

Kevin Bacon still making ads for EE, then. Now with people from Gogglebox. I'm not sure why EE are making adverts just to alert us that Gogglebox has become too knowing to be of any interest now, but they are.

The British Breakthrough act. Ant and Dec are reminding us they were beaten in this category by Oasis many years ago.

Fearne Cotton and Charli XCX are doing the presenting. Charli has come dressed as Santa.

George Ezra v Chrvches v Royal Blood v FKA Twigs v Sam Smith

Sam Smith wins it. Did they know he was going to win this before they gave him the bullshit made-up award they only invented for One Direction last year?

Smith makes the sort of dull acceptance speech you'd expect him to. I do like the colour of his jacket, though.

Ant and Dec now pretending they hide under tables during live music bits. If only they'd hidden during the links as well.

Paloma Faith is now playing live. THIS IS UNCONNECTED WITH HER AWARD IN EVERY WAY. Her stage act includes a mime dancing in the rain.

There are now a lot of people dancing in the rain. I wish they'd switched this rain effect on when Kanye was doing his riot bit. That would have been worth turning up for.

I hope Paloma didn't get nervous waiting, although if she'd not done a three hour acceptance speech earlier, she'd be in a cab on the Westway by now.

Oh, Lord, she starts doing more thank yous at the end of the song.

Now, let's see if One Direction fans can still rig a vote - we're at the video award point.

Jimmy Carr - has anyone here paid any tax at all ever? - and Karlie Kloss. Carr does a CD:Uk joke - one for the teenagers there, then.

Carr does a joke about separate toilets for men and women which goes down like a Royal Blood tshirt at a One Direction party.

#whathashtaghaswon #icannotwaittofindout #whyaretheydoingtheshortlistagaintheyhavedoneit10timestonight

One Direction win. Surprise, everyone! Surprise!

Cowell goes up to pick up the award because One Direction can't be arsed with shit like this these days.

Cowell makes a speech, apparently thinking we'd appreciate that.

"I'd like to thank the boys for being amazing". Britain's got talent, although not any of those talents able to write a script, it seems.

There's an interview with Royal Blood and Alt-J. There seems to be a table that clearly the BPI thinks is the circle of credibility. George Ezra has been sat at it, which suggests some sort of terrible mistake.

They're going to have another break. Of course they are.


"Okay Google, show me pictures of beef stew... oh, god, no Google, I don't mean that as a euphemism... jesus, my girlfriend's here... stop playing that video, Google. I didn't even know that was a thing..."

Boots has now got the women in the Number 7 video to lip synch to Jessie J, which is actually quite a clever pun for its service matching lipstick to skintone, but might be a bit too clever for its own good.

Apparently ITV Be is still going.

Last award - British album. Russell Crowe is giving it out, so there's a bit of Wolf from Gladiator themed jokage. Seriously, what year are we in now? (I'd have applauded if they'd done a Romper Stomper joke...)

Crowe now less Gladiator, more 'it looks like he ate her'. We can all do it, ITV. We can all do it.

sheeran v ezra v alt-j v royal blood v smith

Who will it be?


That's the message of this year's Brits. It's more middle-class than Escape To The Country.

Oh, what's that rattling? It's the sound of Madonna approaching. But first they have to try and bark up interest in the backstage party on ITV2. Given how ker-azzzy the main event has been, who know what hijinks there will be on ITV2? People using cheese knives in the butter dish, no doubt.

Madonna is now rolling on to close things off.

Still doing the matador thing, then. Go on, do Borderline.

Wow... something actually happened - she got tugged on her cape, and fell backwards down the stairs. She looked so pissed off as she climbed back up the stairs...

To be fair, those long housecoats can be a nightmare on the stairs. Something similar happened to my nan once, but it wasn't on live TV.

It's ironic she's singing "I'm gonna carry on" when if this had been recorded they'd have gone for take two. Still, shows she's still a trouper.

Presumably the twerking was meant to be a little more energetic than this.

I suppose its possible it was an intentional move to distract attention from how weak the song is. You wouldn;t have to do a pregnant Diana down the stairs if you'd done Borderline.

And she only did one song? They've been building to Madonna's big performance all night, and all they let her do was a single, flat track? Barely worth her getting back up off the floor for that.

ITV News do their bit for this magic evening for British Music by leading on the latest 'Cliff Richard is a nonce' allegations. Thanks, ITV News. You know how to make a party special.

Watching Madge on the steps, it's clear that she was starting to panic that she hadn't got the clasp of her cloak undone before the guys downstage were going to tug it off.

So, that's the summary of the great job the BPI have done this year: the only thing we'll remember is when a woman in her mid 50s was pulled over as she tried to climb the stairs.

British music. Best in the world, isn't it?

Thanks for sharing the evening with me.

1 comment:

James said...

"Ronson thanks the Commodores"

Blimey, he really needs to update his studio equipment.

Please yourselves.

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