Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Brits 2014: Liveblog

Welcome to the No Rock & Roll Fun Brits liveblog. For younger viewers, a liveblog is like a bunch of tweets, but without anyone reading them.

The red carpet is underway - this year the Osbournes are being delivered flat-packed, and assembled inside the O2, but there's still plenty for the masses to see.

Angus Deayton sharing a joke with rubber-faced comedian Phil Cool; Robin Nedwell out of that band that Denis managed on Corrie. And June Sarpong, with nobody quite sure why she's there, repeating a tradition now stretching back ten years.

Actually, BBC News just had a chat with Lily Allen on the red carpet. That's where the barrier of expectations has been set for the evening, everybody.

If you fancy staring at a bunch of logos, the Daily Mirror has a rather stuttery livestream of arrivals. At the moment, the old Independent Television For Schools And Colleges countdown logo has arrived and is posing for photos:

As we wait for people to drift by the Mirror's camera - ooh, look, there's a bored girl texting - here's a quick catch-up on what we can expect.

Yes, that. God help us all.

ITV2 also have a live red carpet "event", although that's even less slick than the Mirror's, and is going out on proper television, too.

So this morning, Robbie Williams was being quoted on the Radio 4 Today programme bemoaning that nothing exciting happened last year. Given he was one of the performers, and could have done something exciting had he chosen to, that seemed a bit rich.

Alexis Petridis tried to probe this 'boring' problem a bit more deeply in yesterday's Guardian:
In the runup to this year's Brit awards, the organisation's new chairman, Christian Tattersfield, has struck a bullish, even combative note.

He acknowledges that last year's event was a pretty dull evening for all concerned – "last year could have been better … we lacked superstars… so that took a bit of the edge off". Nevertheless, he is not a man given to fondly recalling the Brits of the past. Then it was a "shambles", now it is "an important event of gravitas, rather than just a shoddy knees-up".

"We needed to stop the mayhem," Tattersfield says, before offering assurances to anyone who thinks all this talk of gravitas suggests that 2014's ceremony, heading to us on Wednesday, promises to be as dull as its predecessor. "James Corden wants to put in a performance as host that creates the excitement we all talk about. We're saying to James, 'Go for it – let's all have some fun.'"
This is the problem: for viewers, a Brits watercooler moment would end in the words "and he got punched in the face, but even frame-by-frame on Sky Plus it wasn't clear if it was Holly Walsh who hit him or not"; but for the organisers, it'd be "... and then Jamie Cullum and Emeli Sande were joined on stage by Sting, and he had his zither with him."

Rizzle Kicks interviewing Rick Astley on ITV2, there.

The big story today - bigger, even, than PopJustice liveblogging whether to liveblog - has been the cheesy attempts Mastercard made to get some leverage from sponsoring tonight's event.

In effect, they asked journalists to wank on a webcam for tickets; the good seats where you could see Kylie needed a cumshot.

More or less:
The email reportedly from House PR reads: “Firstly as part of our Priceless Surprise we are putting on cars to take guests directly to the awards – we will be booking your car to take both yourself and Katy from the office at 4:30pm. Are you happy with these details?

“In addition – in return for this ticket we would like to ask that you agree to the following…” It then lists a number of conditions.

Dawbell, who handle the official PR for the Brit Awards told The Independent: “We’ve made no such asks of our invited media, which are the majority of journalists attending. This request has come from Mastercard’s PR company.”
It even suggested the words attendees might like to tweet, both from their personal accounts, and their publication's twitterfeed.

How did that work out for you, Mastercard?

Elsewhere on Twitter, people are posting pictures of One Direction arriving at last year's ceremony to wind up One Direction fans. Frankly, though, given the live pictures are of James Corden hugging both Rizzle and Kicks out of Rizzle Kicks, you'd be better off with a photo from happier times.

ITV2 now getting older people to listen to this year's albums because it's funny, right? David Bowie is nominated and is 67.

Keith Lemmon's turned up. Time to take a short break for tea.


Is this a SUPERSECRETREFERENCE that PRINCE has reformed TIME for a SUPERSECRETPERFORMANCE or merely someone missing the word "what" from the start of a Tweet?

To be honest, you can't remember Ben Howard three minutes after seeing him (does he wear a hat?), never mind twelve months on.

Yes, Five Seconds Of Summer are attending the event. I literally cannot express how this makes me feel. No... hang on... it's not I can't express it; it's just not making me feel anything.

We're nearly there. The tension is building. I ill-advisedly went with linguine and now have sauce on my face.

James Corden is presenting for the fifth time this year - he did one with his comedy partner Horne, and the other three with a growing sense of desperation. He says its the last time, but he might just be trying to get us on side.

Usual warning about flashing lights, and we're in with The Arctic Monkeys. Oh, with big flaming letters. Still doing the fire thing in lieu of spectacle, are you, Brits?

Alex Turner is wearing a jacket made from Crunchie wrappers.

It's not exactly a barnstorming start. More like a minor squall over a shed. Everyone is watching very politely, though.

It's a stage in the middle of lots of chairs and tables layout this year, which means the entire audience is sitting down. Live coverage of supper.

Shhh... James Corden's coming on.

hahahahahahahahahah HE'S ON FIRE

James tells us that British acts have taken the world by storm over the last twelve months. Really? If you bet without One Direction?

"How good were the Arctic Monkeys?" Meh, actually.

It's the biggest and coolest line-up on the Brits, apparently.

Ooh, we at home can vote for one of the awards. Video of the year, via Twitter. How very modern.


Shortlist: John Newman, Ellie Goulding, Naughty Boy, Calvin Harris and One Direction.

There's not really any point in voting, is there? It's basically inviting One Direction fans to choke up Twitter, thereby preventing people from moaning about the show there. Cunning.

Prince has come on to present an award. He's wearing a big hat and accompanied by his band.

Hahahahahahahahaha Corden does a selfie.

For younger viewers, Prince once had a hit with a cover of Tom Jones' Kiss.

It's the female solo artist.

Shortlist: Goulding, Mvula, Marling, Birdy, Jessie J

Surprise! It's Ellie "playing tonight" Goulding. Whoever would have thought?

Goulding looks like she's regretting her choice of dress and shoes as she makes heavy weather of coming to the stage Goulding thanks the people around her who have their hearts in what she does. Sounds messy.

First break of the night.

By the way: I know Kiss wasn't a Tom Jones' song; it was by Age Of Chance.

Good god, no; the adverts are the only respite we get. This is probably the only national event which is improved by ITV stopping to flog M&Ms every five minutes.

Over on Twitter at the moment, One Direction fans are noticeably struggling with the voting instructions for the video prize.


Apparently this is a reference to football.

They're really dragging out the Kylie break bumpers, aren't they?

"The atmosphere here is electric" says James Corden, an original thought a lesser presenter might not have been able to put into words.

Katy Perry is coming on to do her turn now. Remember she was slagging off Miley Cyrus for being too sexualised, so let's see what she's got planned.

She thinks she's come on as Cleopatra, but really she looks like someone trying to do Susannah Hoffs for an 80s themed fancy dress night.

Perry is being pulled round the stage on a small trolley, like a singing bunch of sandbags.

Oh, she's taken off her coat and is now doing her dance routine in a skintight leotard.

I say dancing. It's mostly standing and pointing.

Her backing dancers are now twerking their tushes off. See, Miley? It's not cheap if you pay someone else to do it.

ITV try for an audience reaction shot, but it's just the tops of lots of heads sat at tables.

International male solo artist. It's Kylie and Pharrell.

Kylie is in something that looks like a Toto Coleolo binliner original; Pharrell invites the audience to make some noise for Kylie, like they might have been cheering him.

Shortlist: Bruno Mars; Eminem; Drake; John Grant; Justin Timberlake

For younger viewers, Justin Timberlake is the man who invented MySpace, which was like Facebook with colouring pens.

Bruno Mars wins, and brings an small entourage with him to pick up the award - all of whom are probably capable of making records more engaging than Mars seems capable of. If I were John Grant - and frankly, I could be, as he's so anonymous - I'd be feeling cheated.

Oh, what's that, Bruno? You're playing tonight? And you won a prize? What are the odds?

We're not doing the first album nomination - Derek Bowie's The Next Day. There's a little film with some words and things.

Onto Breakthrough - Tinie Tempah and Fearne Cotton are coming on. Not to one of Tinie's songs, oddly.

Fearne is wearing one of those foil blankets you get when you complete a marathon.

Shortlist: Odell, London Grammar, Bastille, Mvula, Disclosure

Bastille - who I think might be playing tonight - get the prize. "Their name derives from Bastille Day" a helpful voice informs us, in case you thought they couldn't spell the name of the sweets properly.

"This is so unexpected". Really? You had a 20% chance. Can't be that surprising.

"Look who I'm sat with" says James Corden, who's sitting down with One Direction at a table. Corden does a joke about Justin Bieber being raped in prison.

Another break.

I suspect half of the people who have to show up because its their job are playing Candy Crush. Actually, judging by the lack of atmosphere in the room, it's possible everyone is on the phone there.

Bruno Mars is doing the song in return for his award. Corden calls him "the finest showman in the world right now"; but then Corden hasn't seen that Chinese Elvis impersonator in Tunbridge Wells.

What does it say on Mars' hat? Angel Kitty?
I haven't really noticed the song. It's like a vegan version of the Jackson 5.

The song just stops.

Corden does a joke that suggests that Bruno Mars might be uncomfortable around gay men.

Next album is Rudimental. Unlike Bowie, they talk in their little film. THEY NEED IT MORE. Don't show them that you need it, boys. Act aloof. Cold. Like the big, cold, empty O2.

"We wrote it as music, not as a genre" they explain, helpfully. Which is lucky, as their producer doesn't know how to read genre.

Lily Allen is back, trotting on to give British Group.

Shortlist: Arctic Monkeys; Bastille; Disclosure; Rudimental; One Direction.

Tell us Lily, who is it?

Arctic Monkeys! Who played earlier this evening! So surprise!

Alex is no longer wearing his golden jacket. There's a laconic acceptance speech that will at least please the prioducers as they keep on schedule.

Critic's Choice now, or the 'who will labels pour money into until you're sick of them'.

It's Sam Smith.

Sam Smith was the lead character in the sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart, where he was played by Nicholas Lyndhurst.


I'm not saying anything.

We're back from the third break, in time for the Global Success award, or the 'please come, One Direction, we'll make up a prize for you.'

Rosie Huntington Thingymy is going to do the honours here.

I really hope Arctic Monkeys fans take to Twitter to complain about One Direction winning this over their band.

Rosie announces One Direction like it was a surprise. Even after showing a film of them.


Styles trots on late saying he was having a wee.


They're putting Beyonce on halfway through? Really? I know they don't want to have to fade her down for the news but... surely this is peaking way too soon?

Beyonce wants us to sing along with her. Mostly she's on a massive screen behind her own head, which is like watching a grainy TOTP performance on a TV on the other side of a pub.

But it's Beyonce. She's the first thing this evening where it doesn't matter the room is full of Universal's accountants eating pies.

And she's got a glittery dress that actually glitters on screen.


Yes. Way, way, too good for this.

Noooooo! Come back Beyonce. Don't leave us with... with... this Cordenism.

Best British Single. Katy Perry is going to give the prize away. She does a plug for her tour.

Shorlist: Rudimental; Calvin Harris; Disclosure; Bastille; Naughty Boy; Olly Murs; Passenger; John Newman; Ellie Goulding; One Direction.

The winner is Rudimental. Katy Perry nods her approval, in that 'I'm not quite sure who they are but I'm sure it's a good choice' way that parents often do when you talk about music.

Rudimental "didn't expect this". Everyone turned up with low expectations tonight, then, and to be fair most of the evening hasn't let them down.

The Arctic Monkeys try to summon up some enthusiasm for talking about the record in their best album film. They don't quite manage it.

Apparently football and music are now in a state of war.

Another break.

Disclosure and Lorde are teaming up. It's like a crazy two-for-one deal, like at Dominos on a Tuesday when you can have a pizza and another pizza that's a bit different but still basically a pizza for the price of one.

There's a strange Lorde-face-made-out-of-lights hovering over the stage. That's got to be off-putting.

It's pleasant enough, but...

AlunaGeorge turning up doesn't quite cut it.

Bastille's little film about the album what they made now on.

And we're on to International Group.

Shortlist: Daft Punk, Haim, Kings Of Leon, Arcade Fire, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Nicole Sherzzzinger announces Daft Punk, who cannot be with us tonight because they've got better things to do. Nile Rodgers comes on, though, and he's playing tonight, so that keeps things square, right?

For younger viewers, Nile Rodgers was the bloke who got in the way of the guy with the iPad at Glastonbury.

Rodgers claims the award as belonging to everyone connected with the record, which is a bit like he's elbowing his way in.

Corden is with Kylie. He's doing a bit of business about the name of her album. Because it sounds like she wants hier to kiss him.

Kylie tries to look like she's enjoying being ribbed about being single.

More commercials.


The what isn't difficult, surely? It's the why, isn't it?

Good lord, apparently they're still making The Only Way Is Essex.

The last of the best album film goes to Disclosure - "everyone on blogs was getting so excited". Yeah. You'll find that about people with blogs. But what do they know?

Goulding up now - Corden says she "really came into her own with her second album". I suppose getting to the end of the first one and still having a record deal is something of an achievement in its own right these days.

Goulding dressed like Miss Havisham but with a giant guitar.

No, hold on, she removed the demure top layer to reveal a bra top and hot pants. SHE WAS DRESSED ALL SEXY UNDERNEATH. Why has nobody ever thought of that provocative move before?

This song really only exists to soundtrack an advert for one of those summer holidays where you have to do things, doesn't it? Shot of people rock climbing - "burn burn" - shot of people walking down beach - "burn burn".

British male now, with Noel Gallagher dragged up to present it. Sadly not in the 'wearing drag' sense.

He goes straight to nominations with all the charm of a man asking the owner of a red Fiat to move their car as it's blocking the back door.

Shorlist: Bugg; Odell; Blake; Newman; Bowie.

Ironically for a man who appeared with a mask covering his face, David Bowie wins against the faceless interchangable hordes.

Kate Moss comes on to accept to Bowie's behalf. David's given her something impenetrable to read. Everyone's a bit confused.

They're picking up the pace all of a sudden. Nick Grimshaw to do international female. "Can we have a round of applause for James Corden? Bloody killing it..."

Nominations: Perry, Monae, Pink, Lorde, Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa! I remember her! Wasn't she one of the scissor sisters?

Lorde wins the prize, though. Oddly, she was performing a few moments ago.

Lorde says she feels like her brain's exploding. Actually, is that Lorde or has Darlene from Roseanne nipped on stage to pick up the prize?

Corden is now sitting with Pharrell and Rodgers, doing some jokes about his hat. I hope they spin this out into a sitcom.

Oh, god. Keith Lemon has now appeared - BUT HE'S WEARING A HAT TOO. My sides are in danger of overflowing like the Thames did.

Everything shambles into some more commercials.


Just when they'd picked up the pace, too.

I suspect Niles is muttering to Pharrell now "are you sure Prince is closing the show tonight? Because if I'm hanging around here and it's just some bullshit whey-faced British boy singing a plaintive song about his broken heart, I swear to god I'm going to throw this table at his head..."

Still half an hour to go. Be strong, everyone.

The programme has now started to sink so badly David Cameron is announcing that there's an open chequebook to help survivors.

Jimmy Carr has come on, to demonstrate how you might want to host a show like this. Although his Cowell joke falls flat.

It's the video of the year award - you'll recall the uninspiring shortlist was farted out at the start of the show for One Direction fans to rig the votes. So what's happened?

One Direction win.

That's such a surprising surprise.

One Direction get a round of applause for James Corden. Perhaps he's got a disease and everyone's being supernice to him.

Time for a collaboration. Again. Bastille and Rudimental playing together. It's like when people made mash-ups, isn't it? For younger viewers, mash-ups were two songs that were unconvincingly slopped together to create something that could be used to demonstrate the phrase "less than the sum of its parts".

Actually, this could be worse. But it'd have still been better if they'd both done their songs in full. They could have dropped... well, almost anything, to make space for that.

And if you're just tuning in to ITV to see the News At Ten, everyone already watching ITV really wishes they'd be about to see the News At Ten, too. But life isn't like that.

The final award of the night. The sweetest words in the English language.

It's Emil And The Detetcive Sande to present the best album award - because you can't do a show on telly without her turning up.

Will it be Bowie again? Has he more words for Kate Moss to read out about the Scotland referendum?

No, it's the Arctic Monkeys, thereby closing the circle of the band who played first picking up the last award.

They're over the show by now. We're all over the show by now.

Alex just babbles a bit. He could be deliberately trying to see if he can push the show over time single-handed, which is the first thing in any way interesting to happen tonight.

Jesus. Corden is at a table which appears to be stuffed with the cast of Pointless Celebrities - Rizzle Kicks, Tom Daley, Rita Ora, Harry H Corbett, Olive from On The Buses, Nadine Dorries...

They're going for a break before the closing number. They're TAKING A BREAK BEFORE DOING THE BIG FINISH.

By the time they get to the 398th trail for Ant And Dec, half the room at the O2 will be queueing for their coats and the other half will be minesweeping the leftover lagers from the expensive tables.

More breaking awards news:

"The panel were impressed wiht Stewart's ability to read a headline about the Cambridge Guided busway for the 79th consecutive day without looking as bored as the audience."

I've just realised that there have been hardly any music ads in the breaks tonight - there's just been one for Pharrell's album, but more or less everything else has been not music. If even the music industry can't be fagged to advertise in the Brits, what IS the point?

Pharrell and Niles are doing the closing number, then. Not Prince. Which is a bit of a shame as Prince had made his band turn up carrying their instruments at the start of the show. Maybe he was just waiting to be asked, guys.

I've still yet to have it convincingly explained to me why Pharrell is wearing Dudley Do-right's hat.

They've finished with enough time to do a highlights package. In fact, given how few highlights there were, they've got more than enough time to do a highlights package.

The voiceover at the end suggests that all that was missing was Ant And Dec. Perhaps. It was crying out for a bit more atmosphere and surprise.

We have made it through - thank you for the comments, and the plugs on Twitter. I'm now choosing cinnamon rolls over the ITV2 aftershow. I hope God can forgive me.


Anonymous said...

vote vote vote, err is it free?

Anonymous said...

prince please punch cordon

Anonymous said...

could Mastercard not afford autotune for Kylie?

Anonymous said...

bruno mars is a flashback to seaside special

Anonymous said...

what a weird coloration between performers and awards tonight

Anonymous said...

notice that cordon waited until after watershed to use naughty words - punk rock lives

Anonymous said...

this is like a mighty boosh sketch

Anonymous said...

pretty sure i heard that lorde/disclosure track at the hacienda

Anonymous said...

ellie sings like she's an asthmatic who's forgotten their inhaler

Anonymous said...

now we know why kate moss doesn't do chat shows

Anonymous said...

this sounds like a backing track for a norwich union ad

Anonymous said...

did I fall asleep or was there no lifetime achievement award this year?

Tim Bick said...

Marvellous. Once again your liveblog has saved me the pain and fury of watching the actual thing. I vote you host it next year.

eyetie said...

Thank you so much for this. Like U2 said, "better than the real thing".

For younger viewers, U2 are...

Hanifah said...

Thank you, your article is very good

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