Some six million people watched the BRIT Awards on ITV1, ITV2 and, let's face it, Twitter. There was music, of a sort. There was James Corden, hosting again. There was a schedule to keep to, but it fell apart, much like George Michael's link speech. And there were suits. Many, many suits.
Controvery was restricted to a matter of timekeeping. Blur's Damon Albarn waffled a speech of thanks that went on for several epochs. Adele won some things that Ed Sheeran didn't, but was cut off mid-flow during her second speech due to late running. She flicked the bird.
Blur still played five songs in sequence – a new interpretation of the word 'medley' – including Tender, with the London Community Gospel Choir, but half of their set was shuffled off to ITV2 and the 10 O'Clock News started late anyway. So far, so racy.
musicOMH's features editor Ben Hogwood was in the O2 Arena. Here's his account of how things looked off camera…
It's always a matter of varying opinion as to how relevant the BRIT awards are these days. Is it the musical equivalent of watching the bankers get their bonuses (substituting the major record companies for the likes of RBS) or is it really an accurate round up of the year just gone?
In truth, the 2012 version – with James Corden at the helm again – was better than expected. And, on the day they were announced as headliners for an Olympian closing ceremony concert, Blur accepted a lifetime achievement award to give a timely reminder that 'indie' is so often where the great music starts, even if it isn't always where it ends.
There were two genuine goosebump moments in the O2. First of these was Adele's voice. On a night where lightshows dominated the likes of Florence (we don't really see the Machine these days), and the voting power of the fans held sway for One Direction and Coldplay, all Adele had to do to win her audience over was stand there and sing. Which she did. She deserved her ovations, but not the 'Cordening' off she suffered at the hands of ITV, instructing their host to cut her off in the middle of an acceptance speech. It was yet another own goal from a broadcaster still on very shaky ground when it comes to covering live events.
At least they cut to Blur, though a 'refreshed' Damon Albarn took a while to find his voice in Girls And Boys, complete with a giant image of a kebab. Phil Daniels – now 'that man from Eastenders' – roused the pigeons with Parklife, but the best was saved for post 10 o'clock and sweeping accounts of Tender and This Is A Low.
They crowned an event where tributes to Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse, smuggled in to the schedule, made for awkward asides to the live music. Some of this was impressive, with Rihanna and perhaps surprisingly Noel Gallagher leading the field. Some was routine in the extreme – Coldplay, with added fireworks – while some was wildly misplaced, with Ed Sheeran getting an inevitable mention. His music surely belongs more in the bedroom than in these cavernous surroundings.
The BRITs isn't what it used to be for controversial incidents, but this is good since it means more people talk about the music itself. And here, thanks mainly to five true Brits, our faith was reassured.
(Picture of Damon Albarn not quite falling over courtesy of John Marshall Enternational/DawBell.)