Harry Styles dominates Brit awards and voices support for female artists

Harry Styles won in four categories while indie band Wet Leg and Beyoncé were also big winners of the night.

Harry Styles dominated Saturday night’s Brit Awards, winning all four awards he received nominations for.

The biggest names in music across the UK and internationally, from Sam Smith to Charli XCX, descended on London’s O2 Arena for the annual ceremony.

The former One Direction star picked up album of the year, artist of the year and best pop/R&B act.

He also beat Lewis Capaldi to claim song of the year for the chart-topping As It Was.

The last time an act secured four Brits in one year was 2016 when Adele swept away the competition following the release of her album 25.

Lewis Capaldi was nominated for Song of the Year. Getty Images

Styles, 29, used his acceptance speeches to acknowledge his “privilege” and namechecked female artists who were controversially absent from the best artist category.

The awards, in the second year of gender-neutral categories, faced backlash after failing to nominate a single female act for best artist.

The all-male lineup included Central Cee, Fred Again, George Ezra, Stormzy and Styles.

This was despite an increase in female artists or all-women groups across the board.

Styles acknowledged Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama, Mabel, Florence + The Machine and Becky Hill while on stage.

He added that he was “very aware of my privilege up here tonight”.

He also thanked his family and his former One Direction bandmates, saying: “I wouldn’t be here without you.”

While claiming his fourth award of the night, the coveted album of the year presented by Hollywood actor Stanley Tucci, he said: “Thanks for the welcome home…I’m so proud to be a British artist.”

Meanwhile, Wet Leg were another success of the night, following up on their Grammy success last week by wining best new artist and best group.

The Indie rock band from The Isle of Wight, comprised of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, are due to head out on tour as Styles’ opening act in the coming months.

Vocalist Teasdale appeared to poke fun at Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner’s acceptance speech at the 2014 ceremony by quoting it closely.

She said: “That rock and roll, hey. 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 then 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.

Beyoncé also won two Brits – best international artist and best international song for her dancefloor inspired anthem Break My Soul.

She bet Lizzo, Burna Boy, Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift in the best international artist category.

Beyoncé was not in attendance at The Brits but accepted her awards via video message.

The superstar was not present but in a video message said: “Thank you so much for this incredible recognition” before thanking her British fans and adding: “The renaissance begins!”

International group went to Irish post-punks Fontaines DC – their first win at the Brits.

Carlos O’Connell said he had not wanted to accept the award on his own while the rest of his band was in Australia.

He said he “loved” the other members and said his new baby was bringing him “joy”.

He said: “My heart is full…I’m happy to be (here) to celebrate that.”

Also on the night, Eurovision Song Contest runner-up Sam Ryder said US singer Lizzo should represent the UK at the competition in Liverpool.

He also said that the UK has a responsibility to “lift up Ukraine and celebrate their arts and culture”.

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the song contest last year.

This year, 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.

Styles claimed best pop/R&B act while alternative rock act went to The 1975 and Manchester rapper Aitch claimed the prize for hip hop/rap/grime act.

Aitch thanked the fans for voting, his team and his record label and added “not many” people from where he is from in the city win awards.

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.

Tearfully, Hill said she was touched by the comments on being nominated and felt she was getting over her “imposter syndrome”.

R&B girl group Flo were previously announced as the winners of the 2023 Rising Star award and were handed their gong on the red carpet by Jessie J, the recipient of the 2011 prize.

Host Mo Gilligan kicked off the ceremony with a skit in which he arrived at the O2 Arena via a helicopter organised by Lizzo.

Styles then opened the show with a performance of his hit As It Was wearing an unbuttoned glittering gold jacket and flared trousers.

The night also saw a raunchy performance of Unholy by Smith and Kim Petras set inside a car repair shop that featured a close-up shot of a kiss between two dancers.

Close to the climax of the event, Gilligan was forced to apologise for “technical difficulties” that meant viewers were shown archive footage of Adele performing at last year’s ceremony.

Black was the dominant colour on the red carpet ahead of the show, with Styles, Smith, Salma Hayek Pinault and many more opting for all-black outfits.

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