- 13 Feb 23
Meanwhile, Harry Styles swept the board, winning all four of his categories.
Irish rockers Fontaines D.C. secured the award for Best International Group award at the BRITS over the weekend.
The Dublin post-punks triumphed over K-pop girl group Blackpink (whose fans were NOT best pleased), rappers Drake and 21 Savage, Swedish sister folk duo First Aid Kit and US soul outfit Gabriels.
Guitarist Carlos O'Connell was the only band member present at the star-studded event as the rest of the band are currently on tour in Australia, where Phoebe Bridgers posted a photo of their gig.
Taking to the stage to accept the gong, O'Connell explained that his partner, French actress Joséphine de La Baume, is about to give birth to a baby girl - hence his lack of touring.
"I'm having my first kid in 10 days now," O'Connell said. "My heart is fuller than ever, bringing life into this world and making sure that life is full of joy even though this world is hard and difficult.
"I'm happy to be here to celebrate that and to celebrate friendship. They’re my best friends in the world," he grinned.
The rest of the band sent a video message saying: "Thanks for voting us Best International Group. We sent our best man Carlos so we hope he's behaving himself."
Congratulations to @fontainesdublin, they're your International Group of the Year winners! #BRITs pic.twitter.com/y07bFaa92n
— BRIT Awards (@BRITs) February 11, 2023
Some of the biggest names from the world of music, from Stormzy to Sam Smith, descended on London's O2 Arena for the annual ceremony on Saturday night.
Former One Direction star Harry Styles won all four awards he was nominated for and used his speeches to acknowledge his "privilege" and namecheck the female artists who were controversially absent from the Best Artist category this year: Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama, Mabel, Florence + The Machine and Becky Hill.
He also thanked his family and his former One Direction bandmates, saying: "I wouldn’t be here without you."
The last time an act secured four Brits in one year was in 2016 when Adele swept away the competition following the release of her album 25.
The 29-year-old claimed best song – for the ubiquitous 'As It Was', which spent 10 weeks at No 1 last spring – best album (Harry’s House), best pop/R&B act and the controversial best artist award.
Styles’s clean sweep – in front of an audience that included former prime minister Liz Truss – follows similar success at last weekend’s Grammy awards, where he won album of the year and best pop vocal album.
Harry reacting to winning Album of the Year #Brits2023 award!!! pic.twitter.com/joq0gIxhy8
— Harry Styles Updates. (@TheHarryNews) February 11, 2023
The best artist award, which replaced the gendered best artist prizes in 2022, was the subject of a backlash when women and non-binary musicians were entirely excluded from this year’s nominations, which comprised Styles, Central Cee, Stormzy, George Ezra and Fred Again.
In response, a spokesperson for the Brit awards acknowledged that the lack of women and non-binary acts in the category was “disappointing”, but added: “We also have to recognise that 2022 saw fewer high-profile female artists in cycle with major releases as was the case in 2021.”
Brit Award organisers stressed the "high number of overall nominations for female and non-binary acts and the prevalence of women and non-binary stars performing at the ceremony", according to Laura Snapes.
This included Lizzo, Wet Leg, Sam Smith and Kim Petras, Cat Burns, Becky Hill and Ella Henderson joining Styles, Stormzy, David Guetta and Lewis Capaldi.
The awards were also dominated by white artists: Beyoncé and new British girl group Flo were the only artists of colour to take home trophies.
Beyoncé beat Burna Boy, Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo and Taylor Swift to best international artist, and the likes of Jack Harlow and the cast of Disney’s Encanto to international song of the year, for 'Break My Soul'.
She did not appear at the ceremony, instead sending videoed acceptance speeches in which she thanked her fans and primed them for the start of the Renaissance tour this summer.
The Brits also honoured Styles’s primary co-writer, Kid Harpoon, in the second year in the songwriter category (won by Ed Sheeran in 2022). Harpoon, previously a solo musician, is also known for his collaborations with Lizzo, Florence + the Machine, Jessie Ware, Mabel, Maggie Rogers and Miley Cyrus on her current UK No 1 single Flowers.
Isle of Wight indie rockers Wet Leg also followed up on their success at the Grammys last week, where they won two prizes, by claiming the gongs for Best New Artist and Best Group.
Vocalist Rhian Teasdale referenced Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner’s famous acceptance speech at the 2014 ceremony:
"That rock and roll, hey," she said. "That rock and roll, it just won’t go away. It might hibernate for time to time, then sink back into the swamp."
Laughing, she added: "But in seriousness thank you so much. This is so scary because being on the telly can be such a boys’ club thing" before thanking all the women involved in making their debut album.
Wet Leg's acceptance speech:
"Fuck the Tories" !! 👏👏👏👏#BRITs #Brits2023 pic.twitter.com/cWZtVLDSOU
— 🐼💎 | DIAMONDS AND DANCEFLOORS OUT NOW ! (@WhosDatPanda) February 11, 2023
Four genre categories were decided by the public via a vote on TikTok – Alternative Rock Act, Hip Hop/Rap/Grime Act, Dance Act and Pop/R&B Act.
Alternative Rock Act went to The 1975 and Manchester rapper Aitch claimed the prize for Hip Hop/Rap/Grime Act.
Aitch said "not many" people from where he is from in the city win awards, nodding to Harry Styles' Grammy win and speech controversy.
Vocalist Becky Hill, who has lent her voice to numerous top 10 dance-pop singles, won the Dance Act prize for a second consecutive year.
R&B trio Flo were previously announced as the winners of the 2023 Rising Star award and were handed their gong on the red carpet by 2011 recipient Jessie J.