CRAIG DAVID may have been snubbed by the BRIT AWARDS when it came to collecting gongs tonight (February 26), but the biggest names in the UK music scene made sure the night belonged to him.
The music industry had been scandalised when it emerged earlier today that David, who was nominated in six categories – Best Newcomer, Best Album, Best Single, Best Video, Best Dance Act and Best British Male Solo Artist – would not be receiving any awards at the glittering bash at London Earl’s Court.
But with plaudits from the stage coming from Sir Elton John, Bono and Noel Gallagher, his fellow musicians made sure he was conspicuous by his absence from the roll of honour.
Gallagher was presenting U2 with the award for Best International Group, when he commented: “This awards ceremony has often been accused of not having a sense of humour. But when you see who they’ve awarded Best British Newcomer to [a1], you know they’re taking the piss.” Bono followed his comments by adding: “I want to dedicate this song to Craig David”, before they launched into ‘One’, which he wound up by singing the words to David’s song ‘Walking Away’.
David aside, the other acts who stole the show were Coldplay, U2 and Robbie Williams.
U2 collected the trophy for Best International Group, and Bono took a swipe at fellow nominees and compatriots The Corrs. He said: “This is the year of pop and hip hop, and we feel really great that you have given this award to a guitar band with soul and attitude. Not The Corrs.”
Later, when they accepted the Outstanding Achievement Award, The Edge said: “I want to thank the Brits for giving this to an Irish band. Ironically enough, I was born about 10 miles from here.”
Bono went on to thank the producers who had helped the band in their career, including Brian Eno and Steve Lillywhite and as with the NME Carling Awards earlier in the month, again thanked NME. He said: “Aside from The Edge, there’s a few other Brits I’d like to thank who’ve helped us along… NME, Q, Radio 1, The Beatles – three of them were Irish – and Oasis, and two of them are Irish…”
Announcing the winner of Best British Male Solo Artist, Geri Halliwell said: “He’s very male, he’s very healthy, he’s a talented artist, he’s got the biggest heart and according to the press he’s been giving me one. Let me return the favour by giving him one. My dearest friend, Mr Robbie Williams.”
Robbie responded: “Thanks, guys, thank you everybody out there. I normally stand up here and say something stupid, offering to fight people. I did that because I never thought I deserved it before. This is my fourth year of coming back and getting awards. I’m going to say nothing, but thank you very much.”
After collecting his award for Best British Single for ‘Rock DJ’, he told Radio 1 that he “hates” the song. He said: “I don’t like awards ceremonies, and it’s weird cos I hate that song as well. I hate ‘Rock DJ’, I think it’s pants. It’s great that everybody voted for it, but I can’t wait to write a decent song so that they can vote for something decent.” He added that in his book Coldplay should have taken the honours for ‘Yellow’, and also lauded All Saints’ ‘Pure Shores’ as another favourite.
While accepting the award for Best Video, he alluded to last week’s incident in Europe where an audience member shoved him offstage at a gig, saying: “Excuse the big security presence here tonight. I’ve not gone big, it’s the people trying to throw me offstage!” He dedicated the award to his five-month-old nephew, Freddie Robert, and said: “His mum can play it [the video for ‘Rock DJ’] back to him and say, ‘This is when your uncle was famous.'”
Receiving the first of his band’s two awards, Coldplay’s Chris Martin was considerably more composed than his showing at the NME Carling Awards earlier in the month, and wisely omitted mention of Craig David this time, having made a gaffe when poking fun at him previously. When he took the stage to accept the Best British Band award, he said: “Shit, shit, shit. This is the weirdest thing that ever happened to us. All around us are bands we used to listen to when we were at school, sitting eating their tea. It’s weird, and it’s great. Thanks very much.” When he returned to the stage to accept Best Album for ‘Parachutes’, Martin reminisced about a schoolday when he was supposed to be playing cricket and doing a gig on the same day, but his teacher told him he was no good at cricket and should go off and do the gig. “If we hadn’t have done that, I’d probably be playing for Essex or something now. Thank you to him for making us what we are.”
Eminem took his opportunity to have a swipe at the Grammys, saying: “The winner is Steely Dan [who won two awards at the US awards last week]. Who the fuck is Steely Dan?” He went on to thank his record label, and offshoot project D-12, taking the chance to plug their album coming out in May.
Westlife trounced their former mentor Ronan Keating to become victors in the Best Pop Act category. The group performed their cover of Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’, despite Mark from the band suffering from ‘flu. Speaking after the event to Radio 1, the band dismissed rumours that they would be working with Dane Bowers, saying that while Bryan could be planning to write with him, it was unlikely any songs produced would be recorded by the entire group.
Madonna sent a tongue-in-cheek video link-up when accepting the Best International Female Solo Artist award, with her polishing, wearing a dressing gown behind husband Guy Ritchie, who said: “Thank you very much. Madonna would have liked to have shared this personally, but she’s busy.” The queen of pop then came up and in a plummy mock-English accent asked him: “Would you like a cup of tea, darling? God save the Queen.”
The evening saw an ostentatious live performance by Robbie Williams, and Eminem replicating his live stage show, chainsaw and all, and kicking off ‘Real Slim Shady’ with an excerpt from his side-project D-12’s single ‘Shit On You’. Also performing were Destiny’s Child and Hear’Say, who despite looking nervous and being subjected to heckling from the industry section of the audience, received an enthusiastic reception from the kids at the front of the stage.
U2 played a total of four songs, winding up the show with ‘One’, ‘Beautiful Day’, ‘End Of The World’ and ‘Mysterious Ways’.
BEST BRITISH GROUP: COLDPLAY
Nominees: All Saints, Moloko, Radiohead, Toploader
BEST BRITISH ALBUM: COLDPLAY ‘PARACHUTES’
Nominees: Craig David ‘Born To Do It’, David Gray ‘Lost Songs’, Robbie Williams ‘Sing When You’re Winning’, Radiohead ‘Kid A’
BEST POP ACT: WESTLIFE
Nominees: Britney Spears, Ronan Keating, S Club 7, Steps
BEST BRITISH DANCE ACT: FATBOY SLIM
Nominees: Artful Dodger, Craig David, Moloko, Sonique
BEST BRITISH FEMALE SOLO ARTIST: SONIQUE
Nominees: Dido, PJ Harvey, Jamelia, Sade
BEST BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST: ROBBIE WILLIAMS
Nominees: Badly Drawn Boy, Craig David, David Gray, Fatboy Slim
BEST BRITISH NEWCOMER: A1
Nominees: Coldplay, Toploader, Craig David, Artful Dodger
BEST BRITISH SINGLE: ROBBIE WILLIAMS ‘ROCK DJ’
Nominees: All Saints ‘Pure Shores’, Coldplay ‘Yellow’, Craig David ‘7Days’, David Gray ‘Babylon’, Moloko ‘The Time Is Now’, Sonique ‘It Feels So Good’, Spiller ‘Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)’, Sugababes ‘Overload’, Toploader ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’
BEST BRITISH VIDEO: ROBBIE WILLIAMS ‘ROCK DJ’
Nominees: All Saints ‘Pure Shores’, Coldplay ‘Yellow’, Craig David ‘7 Days’, Jamelia ‘Money’, Moloko ‘The Time Is Now’, Sonique ‘It Feels So Good’, Texas ‘In Demand’, Toploader ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’, Travis ‘Coming Around’
BEST SOUNDTRACK: ‘AMERICAN BEAUTY’
Nominees: Air ‘The Virgin Suicides’, Bjork ‘Dancer In The Dark’, Billy Elliot, Shaft, The Beach
BEST INTERNATIONAL GROUP: U2
Nominees: The Corrs, Santana, Savage Garden, Westlife
BEST INTERNATIONAL NEWCOMER: KELIS
Nominees: Jill Scott, Lene Marlin, Pink, Westlife
BEST INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST: EMINEM
Nominees: Ricky Martin, Ronan Keating, Sisqo, Wyclef Jean
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST: MADONNA
Nominees: Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Pink, Jill Scott
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC: U2