In between all the back-slapping and handing out of awards, some of pop’s biggest names turned up to the Brits to do some actual “work” and perform. Guest appearances, tributes and a ludicrous amount of confetti and pyrotechnics were on hand as the likes of Rihanna, Lorde and Adele and more took to the stage. Here’s some of the best performances from the night.
Rihanna (feat. Drake and SZA) – ‘Consideration’/’Work’
Even if you only listened to it once when it first dropped, you’ve probably had ‘Work’ in your head ever since and only just managed to banish it. Celebrate that achievement by starting the whole cycle over again and watching RiRi kill it at the Brits, seemingly without putting all that effort into it. Instead, like on ‘Anti’, she plays it laid-back and very, very cool. I think we can all agree that Drake’s verse is the worst part of the song – like a phoned in version of his verse on ‘What’s My Name?’ – and yet, here, it doesn’t suck. Also Rihanna wore some very good fringed trousers, and there was a low-key appearance by SZA on ‘Consideration’ before Drake swaggered in, clearly confident in the knowledge he was gonna get twerked on by RiRi again.
Adele – ‘When We Were Young’
Her Grammys performance of ‘All I Ask’ was a talking point for all the wrong reasons (mic on piano strings, out of tune singing), but tonight Adele nailed it. Sure, she did a little cheesy “You guys remind me of when I was young” shout out to the fans down the front, but that aside her performance was all class. It probably won’t have made you bawl your eyes out like that outstanding performance of ‘Someone Like You’ from 2011, but it was close.
Justin Bieber (feat. James Bay) – ‘Love Yourself’/’Sorry’
The acoustic version of ‘Love Yourself’, with James Bay earnestly nodding away playing guitar next to a campfire, was dull as fuck, but Bieber was hardly gonna let that be his entire performance. Nope, midway through he leapt out of his seat like he’d just realised he’s JUSTIN BIEBER and not some sappy teenager trying to impress girls in the campsite at Reading, moved away from Bay and towards a lot of fire. There, he launched into bona fide banger ‘Sorry’, during which he kept grabbing his crotch and doing weird robotic, shuffling dancing in between, y’know, “real” dancing.
The Weeknd – ‘The Hills’
One of the best tracks from ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’ recreated in classic, dark Weeknd fashion aka lots of dry ice, shots of black glass shattering and hands clawing the air in the background and the man himself clad entirely in black. Abel Tesfaye kept the person on the bleep button on their feet, too, with all those pesky ‘fucks’ flying about.
Coldplay – ‘Hymn For The Weekend’
How do you make people remember your performance when your first on at a ceremony packed with superstars? Start it as if you’re closing it, obvs. So Coldplay turned up at the O2 with a fuckload of confetti, which they shot across the O2 as they kicked off this year’s Brits, possibly in a bid to upstage all who would come after them. It’s almost as if they didn’t learn at last week’s NME Awards with Austin, Texas that the way to really make your mark when you’re not the main focus is to trash something. Like somebody else’s table. Imagine Chris Martin clambering on top of Adele’s table, doing his best Oli Sykes impression. Also does Martin own any other clothes apart from that blue t-shirt/long-sleeved white shirt combo he seems to live in these days?
Lorde – ‘Life On Mars’
Gaga’s Grammys tribute to Bowie was madcap and breathless and tried to cram as much of the great man’s music into the time allotted. Lorde’s tribute takes a completely different tact. Instead of doing a medley, she stuck to one song – the classic ‘Life On Mars’. As you’d expect from the Kiwi singer, it was a minimal, understated and dignified performance, as is everything she does. Following two heartfelt speeches from Annie Lennox and Gary Oldman about Bowie, it rounded things off beautifully and emotionally. Easily the performance of the night.