By Alice Hudson
The Brit Awards are set to take place tonight (Tuesday 18 February) at The O2 in London, and will air on ITV in the UK.
The 2020 BRIT’s ceremony is set to be a spectacular show, presented by Jack Whitehall for the third year running. Celebrating 40 years of the awards, there has been shift in focus towards artistry and performance. An impressive line-up of artists is set to perform, including Billie Eilish, Stormzy, Harry Styles, and Lewis Capaldi who has dominated the nominations.
With a colourful and chaotic history, the BRIT’s is notoriously naughty – here are 10 unforgettable moments from BRIT’s history.
Adele’s Speech Cut Short
In 2012 Adele’s acceptance speech for Best British Album was cut short by James Corden, who was waiting to introduce Blur to the stage. In true Adele style, she raised her middle finger as she left the stage in frustration. She later said, “I flung the middle finger. That was for the suits at the Brit Awards, not my fans.”
Freddie Mercury’s Last Public Appearance
Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury made his last public appearance at the 11th BRIT Awards in 1990. When the band stepped up the accept their Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award, Brian May spoke to the audience, rather than Mercury who typically spoke. Mercury’s ill health was not public knowledge at the time, and he passed away a year later in privacy. This has become a treasured moment in BRIT’s history, as Freddie Mercury said “Thank you, goodnight,” as he left the stage for the final time.
Noel Gallagher Being…Noel Gallagher
Accepting Oasis’ award for Best Video in 1996, Noel Gallagher kicked off a now long-standing tradition between the Gallagher’s and controversy at the BRIT’s. Their award was being presented by INXS singer Michael Hutchence, who was a huge Oasis fan, and even gave Liam a hug. Shortly after, Noel grabbed the mic and told Hutchence that, “Has-beens shouldn’t present awards to gonna-be’s.”
Liam vs. Robbie
More Gallagher drama ensued in 2000, between Liam and Take That singer Robbie Williams. Robbie had previously been mates with Liam, but fell out with both the Gallagher brothers. Whilst picking up his award for Best Video, Robbie Williams shouted, “Would anybody like to see me fight Liam?” The late Caroline Aherne was presenting the award, and spoke for the nation, backing Liam Gallagher. The drama continues today, as Robbie Williams has recently reignited the idea of a fight between him and Liam.
Madonna’s Dramatic Tumble
Madonna closed the 2015 BRIT’s with an extravagant performance of her new single, Living For Love. Despite rehearsals earlier in the day, the star’s long cape did not detach as planned during the live performance, and instead of sweeping the cape away, her backing dancer actually pulled her off the stage. Ever the professional, Madonna got straight back up and finished her performance.
Alex Turner’s Lengthy Speech
The Arctic Monkey’s frontman confused the nation with his 2014 acceptance speech for Best Album. He began, “that rock and roll, eh?” and by the end of his emotive speech he had only created more questions. Looking back, it can be suggested he provided an insightful commentary on the music industry, but on the night, he left everyone with confused faces, before dropping the mic on the floor and leaving.
Amy Winehouse Sings Valerie
Amid a turbulent time in the star’s life, Amy Winehouse turned up to the 2008 BRIT’s to perform, despite her slot still reading ‘TBA’. Winehouse joined Mark Ronson on stage to perform Valerie in her signature beehive and tartan corset, embodying ‘the old Amy’. Their performance received the loudest applause of the night, and remains one of her best live performances.
Jackson vs. Jarvis Cocker
Despite being cut from the televised show; Jarvis Cocker’s interruption of Michael Jackson’s 1996 performance remains one of the BRIT’s most memorable moments. Jackson put on an extravagant performance of Earth Song, presenting himself as Christ, surrounded by children on stage. As a crane raised Jackson into the air, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker jumped onto stage and pointed his bum at Michael in protest. He was later arrested, but stood by his actions, saying the performance made him “sickened, saddened, [and] shocked.”
Stormzy Protests Grenfell
Rapper Stormzy closed the 2018 BRIT’s with a political message for then Prime Minister, Theresa May. He had already had an outstanding night, winning two awards, before performing at the end of the show. Stormzy ripped off his shirt as he exploded into freestyle rap, asking, “Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell?” Rain poured onto the stage as Stormzy used his platform to raise questions of institutional racism and injustice, and was praised by Jeremy Corbyn for his performance.
…that Union Jack dress
Perhaps the most memorable BRIT’s moment of all time; Geri Halliwell in her Union Jack Dress. At the 1997 BRIT’s Geri stepped out in a Union Jack mini-dress, platform boots and a pair of knickers. She was originally meant to wear a black Gucci dress, but decided against it, and ended up on every newspaper cover the following morning for her outfit choice. She has called it her “favourite outfit ever”, and it has become an icon of British 90’s pop. The dress has now been sold at auction for a record-breaking £41, 320.