Brit Awards 2024: The real winners and losers

Getty Images Kylie Minogue and RayeGetty Images
Kylie Minogue and Raye celebrated their victories together backstage

This year’s Brit Awards are destined for the history books – with pop star Raye winning six trophies, including best artist, best song and album of the year.

“Will it ever get better than this?” the overwhelmed 26-year-old asked backstage. “What is even happening?”

But there’s always more to the Brits than the awards themselves.

On a night of tears, beers and celebrating careers, who were the real winners and losers at the O2 Arena?

Sweetest victory: Raye

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Six Brit awards in one night is astonishing.

David Bowie only got six in his entire career. George Michael got three. Adele, the biggest British artist of the last decade, has a dozen.

In other words, Raye is officially half an Adele.

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Raye’s record-breaking haul is all the sweeter because two years ago she was a self-described “down-and-out” in the music industry.

Prevented from releasing music by a record label that didn’t believe in her, she had to fight for her freedom, finally going independent in 2022.

Since then, her career has exploded: Escapism, a song written in the depths of despair then rejected by her label, became a monster hit. A UK number one, it was the biggest-selling song by a British female artist in 2023 and went platinum all over the world.

Tonight, it won song of the year, proving that success really is the sweetest revenge.

“This has been the best night of my life,” Raye told us afterwards. “And luckily they got it all on camera so I can watch it back.”

Most tears shed: Raye

Getty Images RayeGetty Images

See above.

Biggest Upset: The international artist category

ITV / Brit Awards SZAITV / Brit Awards

Last year, an American pop artist called Taylor Swift had a pretty successful run. Sold a few records, played a few concerts, dated a footballer. You might have heard about it.

So it was a shock to the Swifties when actress Joanne Froggatt opened the envelope marked “best international artist” and read out someone else’s name: Missouri-born R&B singer SZA.

But the shock was short-lived. This was no David-beats-Goliath moment.

SZA’s second album, SOS, is a modern masterpiece: A 23-track opus where she dissects love from every conceivable angle, hopping nimbly between genres and delivering gorgeous, jazzy vocal runs that blur the lines between rapping and singing.

If anything, the Brits did a better job here than this year’s Grammys, where SZA had more nominations than any other artist, but was shut out of all the main categories.

Most impractical outfit: Charli XCX

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Best pop nominee Charli XCX turned up with a hard resin bustier that she had to clutch to her midriff all night, in case she did a Janet Jackson and flashed the audience.

The custom Marni outfit also made eating the slap-up Brits dinner somewhat impractical.

“When I have to sit down, it rises up to my throat,” she said. “It’s not great.”

But all the discomfort was worth it.

“This is the part that I care about. The look. Does any of the rest really matter? I don’t know. Whatever.”

Best-kept secret: Joe Keery

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Here’s something you might not know: Joe Keery, aka Stranger Things’ Steve Harrington, currently has a top 10 single in the UK.

End Of The Beginning, a dreamy indie-rock song he recorded under the pseudonym Djo two years ago, has suddenly gone viral – earning him a seat at the Brit Awards.

But while he was happy to talk about his music, he was sworn to secrecy on the next (and final) season of Stranger Things.

“I have seen the scripts and that is all I can tell you,” he said. “I have received some papers with words written on them that may or may not involve anyone I know.

“Anything more, I can’t say.”

Cheekiest Bottom: CMAT

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Not since Jarvis Cocker waved his posterior at Michael Jackson has the Brits seen such depravity.

As Clara Amfo was introducing a performance from Rema, the Dublin-born singer CMAT shuffled into the back of her shot, and turned around to reveal what you might euphemistically call her “Irish craic”.

Best insult: Roman Kemp

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US punk rockers Green Day attended the Brits to present the best British group award.

But the show’s co-host Roman Kemp managed to land a subtle dig at the band as they took to the stage.

“To present our next award for British group are two genuine rock gods,” he said. “They have sold over 75 million records and released 14 albums… They are very much the American Busted.”

If only the rest of the dull, lifeless script had been this eager to ruffle feathers.

Most sparkling pop legend: Kylie Minogue

Getty Images Kylie MinogueGetty Images

Kylie won the Brits’ Global Icon Award – a lifetime achievement prize without the cruel “your career’s seen better days” subtext.

She celebrated with a career-spanning medley of hits including Padam Padam, Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Love At First Sight and All The Lovers.

Appearing on a plinth high above the audience, she went through four costume changes, serving moves like a choreographical vending machine.

Best of all, she seemed to be having the time of her life – running down the catwalk and high-fiving her dancers with a big, exuberant grin.

Like her Glastonbury performance five years ago, it was a reminder of why she’s so beloved.

Other performers want you to see the effort, the sweat and the tears. Kylie just shimmers.

Hattiest hat: Ella Henderson

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Mistaking the Brit Awards for Royal Ascot, Ella Henderson turned up in a voluminous chapeau, which she then insisted on wearing throughout the ceremony.

And what about the people sitting behind her?

“I’ll turn around and tell them what’s going on,” she laughed.

Least likely to obey Newton’s law of universal gravitation: Dua Lipa

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It’s uncharitable to bring it up again, but Dua Lipa’s first ever Brits performance back in 2018 was so stilted that it spawned the “go girl, give us nothing” meme.

She’s since described the scrutiny as “really painful”.

“I was like, ‘I’m finally getting to do something that I love to do, and I’m being shut down, that I just can’t seem to do anything right,'” she told Rolling Stone.

Dua’s been proving the haters wrong ever since – but her opening performance at this year’s Brits was one for the ages: Dressed in a cropped leather jacket and shorts, she strutted down the catwalk towards a rotating tower of male dancers.

Then she was hoisted into the air by two acrobats, with nary a quiver in her voice, before landing back onstage to finish the song.

In a night filled with eye-catching and creative performances (shout outs to Rema, Tate McRae and Becky Hill), this was a stand-out.

The wet kipper award for lack of enthusiasm: The Brits audience

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Did someone put sedatives in the champagne? The atmosphere in the O2 was as dead as a doornail hammered into a Dodo and buried in a concrete bunker.

The TV audience was not impressed.

“There’s something very icky about this years’ #BritAwards,” wrote Keiran Maddison on X. “The vibes are so off and the crowd is so dead.”

“Is there even anyone in the audience?” asked Hayley Davies.

“Bring back the days when everyone was well oiled and being rock stars,” concluded Ally Fothers.

Next year, maybe put the fans at the front and the industry tables somewhere else. Like the car park.

Most ruinous drink: Kylie’s champagne shoey

Getty Images Kylie Minogue and Roman Kemp drink from a shoeGetty Images

The Brits scriptwriters were oddly fixated on drinking jokes – almost as if they were trying to will a Brandon Block moment into existence.

Roman Kemp even challenged Calvin Harris (who is teetotal) to down a shot, before revealing a bottle labelled “Harry Styles bathwater”.

“I call it the Saltburn,” he winked, in reference to a scene from a film that I won’t describe if you haven’t seen it.

Later, Kemp persuaded Kylie Minogue to do a “shoey”, in the Australian tradition of drinking a beer from a shoe.

“Do I do this?” she asked the crowd, who howled in approval.

Kemp duly poured some of Kylie’s signature sparkling rosé* into a high heel, before they both took a generous sip.

Co-host Maya Jama then informed the audience that Kemp had athlete’s foot, which would have been a decent joke if only they’d been drinking from one of his shoes.

(*It has been brought to the BBC’s attention that the drink came from an unmarked can, which could therefore have contained any number of beverages, up to and including Vimto).

Most grounded winners: Bring Me The Horizon

Bring Me The Horizon

Twenty years after forming, Bring Me The Horizon won their first ever Brit Award, for best rock/alternative act.

Onstage, frontman Oli Sykes suggested their victory over bands like Blur, Young Fathers and the Rolling Stones was all down to a technicality.

“Cheers to the Brits for making the voting system so complicated only our fans could be arsed,” he joked.

Backstage, the band were just as deadpan. Asked what he planned to do with his trophy, Sykes replied: “I think it’ll be a very useful doorstop for the coming summer months.

“With global warming and that, we’ll have to prop the door open to let some of that heat escape.”

Best grandma: Agatha Dawson

Getty Images Raye and her grandmother AgathaGetty Images

Raye’s last award of the night was the biggest: Album of the year, for her genre-hopping debut My 21st Century Blues.

For her final speech at the podium, she brought up her grandmother, Agatha, for moral support.

“She raised me,” explained the singer (whose middle name is Agatha) backstage.

“My parents worked full-time so she came from Ghana to come and raise us, she lived with us, she took us to and from school, and she poured so much love and heart into us”.

What a woman.

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