The Brits ceremony is often an endurance test – there’s so much of it you just can’t bear to watch. Here’s our run-down of the most teeth-pullingly awful single plugs, incongruous collaborations and conceptual stillbirths that have blighted the event over the years…


8Olly Murs and Rizzle Kicks – 2012

You’d have been forgiven for thinking that the Brits had become so accustomed to nobodies invading the stage that they’d let a few of them do a song. While not actively awful, Olly Murs singing ‘My Heart Skips A Beat’ with Rizzle Kicks was undoubtedly the biggest Meh Moment in Brits history. If they’re literally scraping right through the bottom of the barrel and into the cesspool its sunk in, they’ll have One Direction playing one ye… sorry, what?
Cringe rating: 58%
7Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield – 2005

The 2005 event was opened by Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield doing an orchestral Bond-style butchering of ‘Aint Nobody’ complete with Arabian interlude and tribal drum circle. Word to the Beddos – they’ve invented Wii karaoke now, so save it for the family at Christmas, capice?
Cringe rating: 62%
6Mumford & Sons – 2011

Shortly after Adele stopped the show with her solo performance of ‘Someone Like You’, Mumford tried the same trick, playing ‘Timshel’ on acoustic guitars crowded around a single microphone on a stage full of candles. If ever there’d have been a good time for the Brits stage to catch fire, it would’ve been then – the song was so painfully archaic that had we been watching the Estonian Esties ceremony we’d have been mocking them for still having a chart full of farmers.
Cringe rating: 65%
5Geri Halliwell – 2000

In a year when we all should’ve left Earls Court laughing at the appalling collaborations – Five and Queen! Stereophonics and Tom Jones! – Geri Halliwell somehow managed to provide the most watch-between-your-fingers moment by appearing onstage pole-dancing in a gigantic vagina. And as for the tasteless subtext of emerging from between a pair of huge spread legs singing “bag it up/Don’t drop the baby”… let’s just say this was a performance that should’ve been terminated at its conception.
Cringe rating: 78%
4James Blunt – 2006

Joss Stone and Robbie Williams doing ‘Angels’. Ed Sheeran doing ‘Lego House’. Anything by David Gray or fucking Dido. The Brits has had its fill of soporific tossers spewing vomit-inducing balladry of the most culturally toxic hue, but in thirty-five years it’s yet to top (or should that be ‘bottom’) the grotesque mewlings of James Blunt doing ‘You’re Beautiful’ in 2006 in front of a screen showing himself submerged in water for frustratingly not long enough.
Cringe rating: 88%
3ABBA Tribute – 1999

‘Thank ABBA For The Music’ went the song that closed a medley of classic Swedish pop at the opening of the 1999 shindig, the combined forces of B*Witched, Billie Piper, Cleopatra, Tina Cousins (nope, us neither) and a pre-pie Steps presumably thanking ABBA for the chance to murder their music in a sloppy great disco cheesefest complete with the most stilted dance moves this side of an ITV show called Dancing On Stilts.
Cringe rating: 94%
2Boyzone and boxers – 1999

A real nadir for the ceremony, 1999 also saw a phoned-in and static run through ‘When The Going Gets Tough’ by Boyzone, flanked by an army of weedy Rockys and bizarrely interrupted towards the end by Chris Eubank, Barry McGuigan and Nigel Benn just about punching their way through a paper Comic Relief nose to, um, stand there and do absolutely nothing. If you that wasn’t enough to make you want to try to stab yourself through the heart with your own telly remote, up next were The Corrs.
Cringe rating: 98%
1Michael Jackson – 1996

So legendarily cringe-worthy was Jacko’s Christ impression during ‘Earth Song’ in 1996 that – even more legendarily – Jarvis Cocker was prompted to leap onstage and furtively waggle his arse at it, much to the chagrin of the heavy security disguised as dancers who set about chasing him across the stage to break his scrawny, sardonic neck. Making ‘Earth Song’ both the best AND worst Brits performance of all time.
Cringe/Comedy rating: 100%