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The Brit Awards 2009

Nicola Mostyn enjoys a belting British bash

Published on February 20th 2009.

The Brit Awards 2009

It was clear that this year’s Brits was going to be all about putting on a good show when, to kick off proceedings, Kylie was joined by Gavin and Stacey’s James Corden and Matt Horne, to sing “Can’t Get You out of My Head,” with the actors giving the dance moves their all whilst wearing red satin dresses and some kind of futuristic plastic bonnets.

It was an unsettling sight. Kylie is looking more fabulous than ever, but I could have done without seeing Corden in PVC go-go boots. However, it did set the standard for spectacle for the night to come.

The set was sort of Magic Roundabout meets a Persil ad with a voiceover by Johnny Vegas and the focus of the evening was good, fun, flashy entertainment. And why not?

First mention must, of course, go to Manc heroes Elbow who deservedly won Best British Band. Well done guys. Much has been made of the fact that they beat Coldplay. Forget that, what about Duffy beating them to Best British Album?

Duffy scares me. She’s like a haunted doll with lashes so thick she must need to tip back her head to open her eyes. And there’s something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on. As she performed 'Warwick Avenue' in a long red dress, I couldn’t fail to recognise her amazing vocals and evident ability, but mostly I was thinking how she reminded me of the evil dwarf lady in Don’t Look Now. She swept the Brits, of course – as well as Best Album she won Best Breakthrough Act and Best British Female “I don’t know what that means” she said as she collected the latter award, proving she is, indeed, not of our species.

Speaking of which, topping the evening’s performances for sheer chutzpah, Take That came down in a space ship dressed as alien librarians. This is funny because a) old band mate Robbie was last seen in Nevada sporting a ZZ top beard and trying to commune with UFOs and b) the idea that there is intelligent life on Mark Owen is patently preposterous. The loveable foursome absolutely rocked it as they sang 'Greatest Day' whilst the giant metallic structure descended to the stage. Must have brought back Jason Orange’s cage dancing days.

Girl’s Aloud won best single for 'The Promise' and, as is their habit, put on an amazing show with their visually brilliant (if vocally dubious) performance of the song, complete with gigantic pink feathers and stunning jewelled corsets.

In fact, the whole evening had a real focus on proper, well orchestrated entertainment this year, with everyone seeming to go that extra mile. Bono did his bit to save the world, telling us “The future needs a big kiss” as the band launched into 'Get on Your Boots'. Yeah that. And maybe a loan? Coldplay performed 'Viva La Vida' in a set of raining red petals – or were they votes for Elbow? – and even the potentially cringeable mash up between The Ting Tings and Estelle was great.

The International awards went to Katie Perry, Kanye West and Kings of Leon, Florence and the Machine got Critics’ Choice and Best Live Act went to Iron Maiden.

And eventually it was time for the Outstanding Contribution to Music award. The award was introduced by the Killers’ Brandon Flowers who explained to the crowd that in his early teens he only had enough money to buy an album by The Smiths or the Pet Shops Boys. He chose the latter and it was a pivotal point in his musical life. I know what he means. I once did the same thing with Five Star and Brother Beyond. When I think of what could have been.

Obviously, then, the award went to the Pet Shop Boys. The kids TV vibe felt very apt, here, since The Pet Shop Boys always remind me of Trevor and Simon.

Their performance was interesting: the duo’s giant faces appeared on the background screen and went about graciously thanking everyone for the award before Neil and Chris clambered out of their own heads to perform a ten minute PSB medley, an idea presumably conceived whilst off their heads on ecstasy in 1982.

I rather like the Pet Shop Boys but ten minutes of their music is more than any person has played in the past decade and is nine and a half minutes more than any right thinking person needs. Plus, it rapidly became clear that Trev and Simon have been releasing the same record repeatedly for the last twenty years, a clever trick but not one which lends itself to a Jive Bunny style megamix.

The audience looked slightly stunned. Though that might have been the men in grey flannel leotards, though. Not to be outdone, Lady Ga Ga turned up in her leotard and sang along to 'What Have I Done To Deserve This?' And then Flowers popped back for 'It’s a Sin'. Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat, indeed.

It wasn’t the greatest show on earth, but it did sum up the longevity and resilience of good old British pop music. Forget Outstanding Contribution awards, I can see Neil and Chris living on as heads in glass jars well into the next millennium. As for Duffy? I give her six months, tops.

The Brit Awards 2009 are repeated on Saturday, 1.35pm, ITV 2

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