No surprises among Brit Awards

Tom Odell with the Critics' Choice award in the press room at the 2013 Brit Awards at the O2 Arena, London, tonight. Scottish singer Emeli Sande won two Brit awards. Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire

Tom Odell with the Critics' Choice award in the press room at the 2013 Brit Awards at the O2 Arena, London, tonight. Scottish singer Emeli Sande won two Brit awards. Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire


The singer Emeli Sandé tonight crowned an extraordinary year, in which she had the best-selling album in Britain and appeared to great acclaim at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, by winning two Brit awards.

The Scottish singer, whose debut album Our Version Of Events overtook Adele’s 21 to become the best-selling album of 2012 in September, accepted awards for British album of the year and best female solo artist. A year ago, she was presciently named rising star at the Brits in the critics’ choice award.

With only the Beatles spending more consecutive weeks in the charts, Sandé has been the standout success story of the year, with her brand of turbo-powered soul and R&B filling the airwaves and propping up album sales in the UK.

Other winners at the ceremony included Mumford & Sons, following on from the band’s success at the Grammys, Lana Del Ray and One Direction. The departing chairman and chief executive of Universal Music UK, David Joseph, noted that Sande was “an important story for the Brits”, having won the critics’ choice award last year. “She could, and should, get a whole new international audience,” he said.

Singer-songwriter Ben Howard - who was nominated for the 2012 Mercury Music prize for his album Every Kingdom - matched Sandé’s success last night, taking home two awards for British breakthrough act and best British male. With half a million album sales behind him, the Devon singer has already made his mark on the UK music scene but can now expect even richer rewards.

There was little room for modesty at the event held in London’s O2 Arena, for the third year, as the UK music industry trumpeted the big British successes of 2012. With UK acts taking a 13 per cent chunk of all global record sales - and creating four of the top five best-selling albums in America - a new category - the global success award - was created to provide a suitable focus for the self congratulation.

There were deafening cheers as it was announced that it had gone to the US-conquering boyband One Direction, who released two of America’s top five selling albums last year, seeing off competition from Adele and Mumford & Sons. Stadium rockers

Muse opened the ceremony with their single Supremacy, backed by a 75-piece orchestra. Other performances at the south-east London venue came from American country star Taylor Swift and two boyband members who became solo stars, Justin Timberlake and Brits veteran Robbie Williams.

For the third year running, the event was hosted by James Corden, who was reported to be struggling with tonsilitis earlier in the week. After the controversy last year when Adele was cut off during her acceptance speech for best album, the singer was finally given the chance to make her uninterrupted thank yous when she received the award for best British single for the James Bond move theme tune Skyfall.

She may have been angry enough to give a one-fingered salute to “the suits” in the room after the incident last year, but appeared to have moved on, choosing to remain in Los Angeles to rehearse for an Oscars performance on Sunday, rather than attend the party at home. The singer, who gave birth to a baby boy last year, is due to publicly perform Skyfall for the first time, despite it being released in October 2012, at the film awards ceremony.

Mumford & Sons, who have conquered America, took home the award for best British group. The Rolling Stones missed out in the best British live act category, which went to Coldplay.

The Black Keys were named best international group, Lana Del Ray took home the award for best international female and Frank Ocean was named best international male.

The global recognition award went to the charity Warchild, which will receive all proceeds from iTunes downloads of Brit award performances made in the next month.