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Hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, Britain's premier music awards ceremony took place Tuesday in London.
The 40th annual Brit Awards, held at the O2 Arena, were streamed live on the ceremony's YouTube channel at 12 p.m. PT and aired in the U.K. on ITV or STV. During Whitehall's opening, he paid tribute to Love Island presenter and "member of the Brits family" Caroline Flack, who died Saturday. "She was a kind and vibrant person with an infectious sense of fun," said Whitehall. "She will be sorely missed. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say our thoughts are with her friends and family."
Only eight awards are handed out at the ceremony, but like the Grammys, the Brits ceremony features a number of live performances. This year, Lizzo, Lewis Capaldi, Harry Styles and Mabel gave highly energetic and emotional performances during the first half of the show, setting the scene for a vibrant evening.
Upon introducing Billie Eilish to the stage to perform her theme song for the upcoming Bond movie No Time to Die, Whitehall labeled the 18-year-old singer and her brother Finneas "the Avengers of music" and called them "immensely talented, era-defining" artists. With Finneas on the piano, Eilish stayed seated throughout the somber performance.
Later in the program, Eilish won the award for international female solo artist. Taking the stage, she thanked the fellow nominees in her category along with her brother and creative team. "I also want to say, I've felt very hated recently, and when I was on the stage and I saw you guys all smiling at me, it genuinely made me want to cry, and I want to cry right now, thank you," added the singer.
Capaldi and Dave topped the nominations, earning four (male solo artist, new artist, song and album of the year) each. Album of the year mentions went to Stormzy (Heavy Is the Head), Michael Kiwanuka (Kiwanuka), Capaldi (Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent), Dave (Psychodrama) and Harry Styles (Fine Line). Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber ("I Don’t Care"), Mabel ("Don’t Call Me Up"), Calvin Harris and Rag’N’Bone Man ("Giant"), Dave ft Burna Boy ("Location"), Mark Ronson ft Miley Cyrus ("Nothing Breaks Like a Heart"), AJ Tracey ("Ladbroke Grove"), Lewis Capaldi ("Someone You Loved"), Tom Walker ("Just You and I"), Sam Smith and Normani ("Dancing With a Stranger") and Stormzy ("Vossi Bop") scored best song noms.
Accepting the album of the year prize, Dave encouraged other young people to pursue musical ambitions when he said, "This is one of the biggest honors of my entire life, but I just want to use this time to say, everyone that comes from the place that I come from, all my people from South London, East London … all my young kings and queens that are chasing their dreams, I am no different to you. I swear to God, I am no different to you."
The Brit Awards have come under fire in 2020 for the relative dearth of female nominees. Only one British woman (Mabel) received a nomination in categories featuring male and female nominees, including best album, best song, best group and best new artist, for which there were 25 slots. Mabel notched two nominations in those categories, while American artists Miley Cyrus (nominated alongside Mark Ronson for "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart") and Normani (nominated along with Sam Smith for "Dancing with a Stranger") were also slotted in the categories.
See the full list of winners below.
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