The O2 Arena was full of talented artists and fans last night in celebration of British and international music at the 42nd Brit Awards. The ceremony was hosted by comedian Mo Gilligan, and marked the first with non-gendered awards categories.
The biggest winner of the night was Adele, who won three trophies for British Artist and British Album of the Year, as well as Best British Song for “Easy on Me.” Ed Sheeran was honored with Songwriter of the Year, and performed twice — but how do his performances stack up with everyone else? Here is every single Brits performance ranked from worst to best:
9. Liam Gallagher
This performance was introduced by a video of Liam Gallagher flying in on a helicopter, which led me to believe that it could be exciting! The former Oasis frontman performed his new song “Everything’s Electric” live for the first time, and I honestly thought it didn’t live up to my initial expectations. The song was fine, but maybe his outfit was what threw it off? Overall, it could have used some polishing for it to be ready for showtime.
8. Ed Sheeran and Bring Me the Horizon
Similarly to last year, I felt that the opening performance of the show was a bit underwhelming. Ed Sheeran performed “Bad Habits”, the radio-friendly first single off of his latest album =, alongside surprise guests – British metal band Bring Me the Horizon. Gothcore is making a steady return to pop culture, so I will give them points for that. The performance featured aerialists and a high production value, but it might just be my personal taste as to why I wasn’t so into it.
7. Anne-Marie, KSI, and Digital Farm Animals
Anne-Marie started off the red-hot performance with “Kiss My (Uh Oh),” before falling down the steps just as things got started. She later tweeted, “Didn’t need my left ankle anyway.” Nonetheless, she got back up and was joined by KSI and Digital Farm Animals to perform their single “Don’t Play.” The slot was then handed off to KSI, who finished the medley with his song “Holiday.” Unfortunately, the fall took too much attention away from the rest of the performance, but otherwise it was a solid effort.
6. Ed Sheeran
For his second performance of the night, Ed Sheeran was accompanied by a string orchestra to perform his next single “The Joker and the Queen.” He just announced that a remix will be released this week as a collaboration with Taylor Swift, after they both recently dropped major hints alluding to it. The lyrics in the song are full of playing card references: “And I know you could fall for a thousand kings / And hearts that would give you a diamond ring.” This performance was classically Ed: an acoustic guitar and a sweet song in a dimly lit room.
5. Holly Humberstone
The 2022 Rising Star winner performed her newest single from her upcoming album, “London Is Lonely,” by looking straight at the camera at the start, offering a commanding presence on stage. Much like similar Gen Z musicians, she has a sound that conveys so much emotion, and a look that presents as edgy, yet approachable. She might also be bringing face jewels back, since she wore a tear-shaped stone below her eye. While she was joined by dancers for most of the song, she wrapped it up by herself on the piano.
4. Sam Fender
In a high energy moment on the Brits stage, Sam Fender performed the title track of his second studio album Seventeen Going Under. He won his first Brit trophy for Best Rock/Alternative Artist, presented by Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones. He proved that rock music can still be meaningful and of the best quality, and even better when it’s live. With Fender’s music gaining traction in the United States, it’s likely that the world will be seeing more of him and his point of view.
The winner of Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Act performed his song “In the Fire” surrounding actual (and faux) fire, and alongside Giggs, Ghetts, Meeks, and Fredo. It was the longest performance of the night, clocking in at over eight minutes, but it closed the show in a grand way. A choir was welcomed on stage as the performance went on, and it ended with Dave’s guitar flamethrower. Not only was it a real sight to see, the song itself is deeply personal: “In the fire, been tried / Affected the way I been wired inside.” He brought a new level of creativity to grime performance.
2. Little Simz
Little Simz had an incredible night at this year’s Brits as one of the most nominated acts. She walked away with the Best New Artist prize, and her bringing her mother onstage to accept the award with her was one of my favorite moments of the whole show. In an almost five minute performance, she sang “Introvert” and “Woman” off her album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. The Crown actress Emma Corrin was even involved, performing an interlude live, giving Little Simz and her dancers enough time for a little wardrobe change into colorful pantsuits. It’ll be great to see what she will continue to achieve in her career!
Much to only her surprise, it turned out to be Adele’s Night™ as she won three major awards in a few stacked categories. She effortlessly delivered the best and most highly anticipated performance of the 2022 ceremony. While sitting on top of a piano in a shimmering gown, she sang a fan-favorite track off her chart-topping album 30, “I Drink Wine.” Rightfully so, when her performance ended, she was met with the loudest cheers of the night. My only gripe was that I selfishly wanted more—maybe a 30 medley to close out the show—but I was still more than happy to hear “I Drink Wine” live.