Everything that happened at the BRIT Awards 2022

Adele's clean sweep at the 41st BRITs came as no surprise
Adele's clean sweep at the 41st BRITs came as no surprise   -   Copyright  AP
By Shannon McDonagh

The 41st BRIT Awards kicked off music's award season at London's O2 Arena with Adele picking up three of the four main prizes.

Renowned for being the more chaotic cousin of the US' prim and proper proceedings, the show was filled was performances and honours celebrating the best of British music.

This year's ceremony was a year of firsts: a new host, genderless categories, and first-time performances from the burgeoning talents like Little Simz, Holly Humberstone, and Sam Fender.

Here's what everything that went down that night.

1. A change of host paid off considerably

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Comedian Mo Gilligan took jabs at Prime Minister Boris Johnson this yearAP

Until this year's ceremony, the BRITs had held itself hostage to Jack Whitehall's hosting abilities for four years.

It didn't take an expert to see that a change serve the evening well, and it did – there are already calls for his replacement, comedian and Masked Singer judge Mo Gilligan, to return next year.

His jabs at attendees were well-timed and didn't veer into the discomfort of previous shows.

At one point in the ceremony, he asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson to join him for the evening.

"Boris I know you are watching, I know you love a party," he quipped.

"Come on my guy! Come down, man! I know you love your cheeseboard."

2. Upholding a history of unexpected collaborations

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Bring Me The Horizon perform with Ed Sheeran on stage at the Brit Awards 2022AP

The BRITs have an unofficial tradition of concocting weird and wonderful duets.

Whether it's Florence + the Machine and Dizzee Rascal's 2010 face-off or Ru Paul joining Elton John for a peak-camp performance, the result is always memorable.

Ed Sheeran opened the show this year with a performance of megahit 'Bad Habits' unlike any other.

Viewers were bemused when the song took a heavier turn early on as the 30-year-old was joined by rock quintet Bring Me The Horizon.

Lead singer Oli Sykes backed Sheeran with vigour, screaming the vocals to one of the biggest pop songs of last year.

Though it was pleasing to see the out-of-the-box thinking from the show's organisers, the theatrics of the performance – which included hoardes of dancers and stunt performers – fell flat.

Sheeran also confirmed a new collaboration with Taylor Swift on the red carpet, due to be released this Friday.

3. Adele's clean sweep

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Adele appeared at the ceremony fresh from rescheduling her Vegas residencyAP

Adele was the night's big winner, taking home every award she was nominated for.

The singer's performance of 'Someone Like You' at the BRIT Awards 2011 is widely attributed as the moment that elevated her from a talented vocalist to worldwide superstar.

She performed her song 'I Drink Wine' as a comeback performance earlier in the night.

The BRITs' genderless category switch makes her the first-ever recipient of the 'Best Artist' award.

"I really wasn't expecting this one at all," she announced on stage, having won for both her album '30' and its lead single 'Easy On Me'.

'I want to say a massive congratulations to Little Simz, Dave, Ed [Sheeran], Sam [Fender]. I'm so proud to be in your company. I love being an artist. I can't believe it's my job. England, the UK, we have so many incredible young artists coming up."

4. Who won the genderless categories?

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The BRITs rethought their awards criteria following comments made by Sam Smith in 2021AP

This year's ceremony marked the first time the BRITs has opted to use genderless categories.

'Best Male Solo Artist' and 'Best Female Solo Artist' were merged into 'Artist of the Year', the same applying to the international solo artist categories.

The switch up came when three-time Brit winner Sam Smith announced in 2021 that they would not be entering material from their latest album 'Love Goes' on the basis they identify as non-binary.

Host Mo Gilligan joked the move was "great for everyone, except the male artists who realise they’re up against Adele.”

Commentators had expressed fears that this would limit the prospects of female artists. Until Little Mix's historic win last year, the genderless 'Best British Group' award had never been won by a female or female-lead group.

All three categories ended up in the hands of women – Adele took home 'Artist of the Year', Billie Eilish scored 'Best International Artist', her second BRIT, and Wolf Alice were awarded 'Best British Group'.

5. Two generations of Eurovision winner went head to head

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ManeskinAP

Eurovision winners Måneskin had a hell of a 2021 that culminated in the Brit nomination for Best International Group.

The band found themselves in a cross-generational Eurovision battle as they ended up against BTS, Silk Sonic, the War on Drugs, and ABBA, who as we all know won the competition 48 years ago.

Neither representative of Europe's most beloved annual event ended up walking away with the gong.

Instead, the judges opted for Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak's supergroup Silk Sonic.

But London was treated to a healthy dose of the glam-rock debauchery these Italians have made themselves known for over the past year regardless.

6. Not a dry eye in the house over Little Simz' acceptance speech

Joel C Ryan/Invision
Little SimzJoel C Ryan/Invision

Little Simz conquered 2021 with one of the UK's most celebrated albums in 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert'.

At one point the soulful, reflective work had more five star reviews to know what to do with.

She took home 'Best New Artist' and was joined on stage by her mother for an undeniably moving speech.

"Look what you've done, mum," said Simz on stage as she collected the award.

"I am living proof that if you work hard at something, no matter where you come from, no matter your background and your race, you can do something extraordinary."

Here are the BRIT Awards 2022 winners in full:

Album of the Year

  • Adele - 30
  • Dave - We're All Alone In This Together
  • Ed Sheeran - =
  • Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
  • Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under

Artist of the Year

  • Adele
  • Dave
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Little Simz
  • Sam Fender

Best Group

  • Wolf Alice
  • Coldplay
  • D-Block Europe
  • Little Mix
  • London Grammar

Song of the Year

  • Adele - Easy On Me
  • A1 & J1 - Latest Trends
  • Anne-Marie, KSI & Digital Farm Animals - Don't Play
  • Becky Hill & David Guetta - Remember
  • Central Cee - Obsessed With You
  • Dave ft Stormzy - Clash
  • Ed Sheeran - Bad Habits
  • Elton John & Dua Lipa - Cold Heart (Pnau Mix)
  • Glass Animals - Heat Waves
  • Joel Corry, Raye & David Guetta - Bed
  • KSI - Holiday
  • Nathan & 220Kid & Billen Ted - Wellerman
  • Riton, Nightcrawlers & Mufasa - Friday
  • Tion Wayne & Russ Millions - Body
  • Tom Grennan - Little Bit Of Love

Best New Artist

  • Little Simz
  • Central Cee
  • Griff
  • Joy Crookes
  • Self Esteem

Best International Artist

  • Billie Eilish
  • Doja Cat
  • Lil Nas X
  • Olivia Rodrigo
  • Taylor Swift

Best International Group

  • Silk Sonic
  • Abba
  • BTS
  • Maneskin
  • War On Drugs

Best International Song

  • Olivia Rodrigo - Good 4U
  • ATB / Topic / A7S - Your Love (9PM)
  • Billie Eilish - Happier Than Ever
  • Ckay - Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah)
  • Doja Cat ft SZA - Kiss Me More
  • Drake ft Lil Baby - Girls Want Girls
  • Galantis, David Guetta & Little Mix - Heartbreak Anthem
  • Jonasu - Black Magic
  • Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber - Stay
  • Lil Nas X - Montero (Call Me By Your Name)
  • Lil TJ & 6lack - Calling My Phone
  • Maneskin - I Wanna Be Your Slave
  • Polo G - Rapstar
  • Tiesto - The Business
  • The Weeknd - Save Your Tears

Brits Rising Star

  • Holly Humberstone
  • Bree Runway
  • Lola Young

Best Dance

  • Becky Hill
  • Calvin Harris
  • Fred Again
  • Joel Corry
  • Raye

Best Rock/Alternative

  • Sam Fender
  • Coldplay
  • Glass Animals
  • Tom Grennan
  • Wolf Alice

Best Pop/R&B

  • Dua Lipa
  • Adele
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Griff
  • Joy Crookes

Best Hip-hop/Grime/Rap

  • Dave
  • AJ Tracey
  • Central Cee
  • Ghetts
  • Little Simz
  • Producer of the year
  • Inflo

Songwriter of the Year

  • Ed Sheeran