On Twitter and the music blogs, the questions are ringing out, like the agonised wailing of medieval plague victims imploring a vengeful God. WHAT is Alesha Dixon doing in the British Single category? WHY have Animal Collective been nominated – twice – when they’re on their eighth album?
And HOW can the BRIT panel call Pixie Lott an ‘artist’, when everyone knows she’s a hologram designed with the sole purpose of flogging Nokias (seriously, this woman’s phone-obsession is weird – in addition to plugging Nokia’s ‘Illuvial Range’, she recently did a gig at the Carphone Warehouse. Interviewed afterwards she confessed: “I’ve always been a big fan of phones” – but, of course, it’s all about the music).
All these anguished commenters are forgetting the essentially random nature of the BRITs. We shouldn’t expect sense or consistency – this an awards show that once featured Peter Gabriel aggressively thrusting his crotch while wearing a giant muscle suit. BRIT world is a crazy, hall-of-mirrors kind of place, an alternate dimension where JLS can appear in the same category as Friendly Fires (British Breakthrough), and Michael Buble rubs shoulders with Bruce Springsteen (International Male).
Faced with such surreal juxtapositions, the only real criticism you can make is that organisers lack the courage of their convictions. Look at the major categories and you’re led to assume that record sales is the only criterion that matters – how else to explain the nod for Paolo Nutini? But then, if it’s all about sales, why no love for Susan Boyle, the biggest selling British artist of last year?
The Daily Mail interpreted this as a “snub for Simon Cowell”, while Idolator speculated that Boyle’s reliance on cover versions dissuaded the panel from giving her a single nomination. But if either of those were deciding factors, how come X Factor winner/Xmas No.1 loser Joe McElderry gets a nomination for his gas-weak ballad, ‘The Climb’?
As always with the BRITs, it’s a puzzle wrapped in an enigma topped off with a shrug, and attempting to make sense of it all is like bellowing at snow. The results are already set in stone – Lady GaGa’s booked to play on the night, so no doubt she’ll win big – especially since the only random element, the Best Live Act category (previously voted for by the public) has been expunged. Last year that was won by Iron Maiden. Evidently organisers found the presence of a heavy metal band distasteful, and are determined not to let ‘the people’ have a say in the awards again.
Apart, that is, from the all-new, all-baffling Best Performance Of The Past 30 Years category, which is open to a public vote. I say we all vote for Bros’ ‘I Owe You Nothing’. Why? Because it’d be funny. And it’d make about as much sense as anything else in these awards.