Five days after their stunning Grammy Awards duet, Eminem was presented with the award for Best International Male by Elton John at the Brit Awards on Monday night (February 26).
But cheeky English chap Robbie Williams was the man of the hour at the U.K.'s equivalent to the Grammys, held at Earl's Court Arena in London.
Williams, now celebrating his third year as the dominant act in British pop music, took home three awards: Best British Male Solo Artist (which he won in 1999), Best British Single for "Rock DJ" and Best British Video for "Rock DJ," according to a publicist for the ceremony. Williams also won the latter two awards in 1999 and 2000.
Veteran Irish rock deities U2 and this year's brightest hope for British guitar music, Coldplay, snagged two awards each. U2 were named Best International Group and got the award for Outstanding Contribution to the British Music Industry, while Coldplay, who have been said to be influenced by Radiohead, won in two categories Best Group and Best British Album (for Parachutes).
Aggro R&B songstress Kelis received the award for Best International Newcomer, and Fatboy Slim took home an award for Best Dance Artist. Dance artist Sonique of "Feels So Good" fame took Best British Female Solo Artist.
The British Phonographic Industry bestows Brit Awards on a variety of artists, with a focus on recognizing homegrown acts. Except for four of the awards, which the public votes for Best British Single, Best British Video, Best Pop Act, Best British Newcomer members of BPI's academy which encompasses voters from record companies, DJs, media, retailers and music publishers, as well as record producers vote for the Brit Award nominees.
The kind of controversy that suffused the Grammys this year, based on Eminem's nominations, regularly takes place at the Brit Awards, but with a crucial difference. Whereas the firestorm of Eminem protest and commentary built over weeks and subsided almost immediately, Brit Awards controversy tends to be more spontaneous.
In 1996, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker mooned the ceremony's audience during Michael Jackson's performance, to protest what he considered Jackson's messianic imagery. In 1998 leftist pop group Chumbawamba dumped cold water over deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, to protest what they consider the Blair administration's lukewarm liberalism.
There were no controversial moments to rival those Monday night, but the Radiohead's awards shutout came close, as did the fact that UK garage, the dance music that became the sound of urban Britain last year, went unrecognized by the awards. Genre standard bearer Craig David (the most nominated artist, with Best Male Solo Artist, Best British Dance Act, Best British Newcomer, Best British Single, Best British Video and Best British Album) took home no awards, and neither did his colleagues Artful Dodger (who were nominated for Best British Dance Act and Best British Newcomer)
Live performances at the Brit Awards included Williams' "Rock DJ," Craig David's "Fill Me In," Westlife's rendition of "Uptown Girl," Coldplay's "Trouble," Destiny's Child's "Independent Women (Pt. 1)," Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady," Sonique's "Feel's So Good" and a six-song show closer from U2, including "Beautiful Day" and "One."
The following are the winners of the 2001 Brit Awards, according to an event publicist:
- Best British Dance Act: Fatboy Slim
- Best British Female Solo Artist: Sonique
- Best International Newcomer: Kelis
- Best British Newcomer: A1
- Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording: American Beauty
- Best Pop Act: Westlife
- Best British Male Solo Artist: Robbie Williams
- Best International Female Artist: Madonna
- Best British Video: Robbie Williams, "Rock DJ"
- Best International Group: U2
- Best British Group: Coldplay
- Best British Single: Robbie Williams, "Rock DJ"
- Best International Male Artist: Eminem
- Best British Album: Coldplay, Parachutes
- Outstanding Contribution to the British Music Industry: U2