IT was a night of high drama at the 2015 Brit Awards which saw Madonna take a spectacular plunge down a set of steps when a dancer tugged on her cape,
US rapper Kanye West winning the “bad boy award” when his singing performance was “muted” due to rude words, and, oh yes, the first award of the night going to Ed Sheeran, a golden boy of British pop.
But it was Madonna’s tumble which stole the show – especially after the singer, 56, gamely continued her performance.
Taking to the stage for the last performance of the evening, the singer, wearing a voluminous cape over her costume, walked up a set of stairs. But on reaching the top, as two of her backing dancers tried to whip away the cape in a dramatic gesture, they pulled her backwards off the steps and she hit the floor.
Sheeran – nominated in four categories – was earlier presented with the award for British Male Solo Artist by Rita Ora and Orlando Bloom.
Accepting his award, Sheeran said: “That’s a good way to start the night.” He dedicated the win to one of his staff, Deirdre, who worked with him on his first Brit Awards in 2011.
Sheeran also later scooped the top award, British Album of the Year, which was presented by actor Russell Crowe.
And rock duo Royal Blood accepted their award for Best British Group from Jimmy Page.
At the event at London’s O2 Arena, hosted by Ant and Dec, Sam Smith – who won four Grammys earlier this month – took home the British Breakthrough Act category, as well as the Global Success award.
West, whose appearance at the event was only announced on Tuesday, had his singing “muted” by broadcasters due to bad language.
Former EastEnders actress Hetti Bywater tweeted: “Erm…Kanye, can you please stop my TV from muting and just stop with the offensive language, cheers.”
Another viewer, tweeting as Shukat1, said: “Why have Kanye if you’re just gonna censor the performance?”
Journalist Mic Wright said: “I like the bit in Kanye’s song where it goes AUDIO MUTED #BRITs2015.”
F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and singer Ellie Goulding presented Taylor Swift with her first ever Brit award for Best International Female Solo Artist.
The US star told the audience: “I’ve been coming to England and playing shows for eight years and this is my first Brit award. I’m so happy.”
She also paid tribute to Sheeran, saying: “Honestly I know I wouldn’t be up here if it wasn’t for one of my best friends who took me to pubs and taught me to make a good cup of tea and taught me everything I know about the UK.”
One of the most effusive speeches of the night came from Paloma Faith, who dedicated her award for Best Female Solo Artists to “all the underdogs and grafters who work so, so hard” in the music industry and elsewhere. Drawing attention to the award, a light pink figurine designed by artist Tracey Emin and adorned with her handwriting, Faith said: “I’m a big fan of Tracey Emin and I’m a big fan of women all over the world”
The award for International Male Solo Artist went to Pharrell Williams. In a video message, the Happy singer said it was “an honour” to accept the award.
Take That then took to the stage to perform, their first Brits Show as a three-piece.
Lionel Richie and Lisa Snowdon presented the Best British Single award to Mark Ronson for Uptown Funk, featuring Bruno Mars. Ronson thanked Mars, describing him as the “world’s most talented Hawaiian”.
One Direction won the British Art Video of the Year award after a public vote. The Critics’ Choice Award, which was announced in December, went to James Bay.
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