Great Britain

Brit Awards 2021: Live music makes triumphant return as Sir Elton John, Coldplay, and Dua Lipa perform

LIVE music made a triumphant UK return after more than a year at the Brit Awards.

Coldplay, Sir Elton John, Rag’n’Bone Man and Pink were among those performing live at the event.

Read our Brit Awards 2021 blog for the latest news and updates

Host Jack Whitehall, 32, got proceedings under way with a comedy sketch featuring Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure, 38, and Martin Compston, 37.

The AC-12 pair pressured the comic into revealing who would open the show, prompting Jack to reply to Martin: “Where’s your waistcoat and why are you putting on that dodgy Scottish accent?”

Their Zoom call was then interrupted by Jackie Weaver, who went viral earlier this year for her authoritative handling of a rowdy parish council meeting.

She called herself Jack’s “worst nightmare” and said: “Now listen up you little twerp. If you don’t get on with this, I’ll kick you off.”

After making good on her threat, she introduced the night’s first performers Coldplay, who lit up the Thames with their show-stopping performance.

The group, led by Chris Martin, 44, sang their latest hit Higher Power from a boat on the water, with fireworks lighting up the sky above London’s O2 Arena.

Their performance was the first of nine on the night and was greeted with wild applause from the 4,000 guests inside the venue.

They included 2,500 key workers who were given free tickets.

The ceremony was able to go ahead as part of the Government’s Events Research Programme.

It meant that all guests had to take two Covid tests before entering the venue and will have to take another in five days.

Findings from the event could help pave the way for a full return for live music across the country.

As Coldplay’s set came to an end, viewers were treated to an energetic performance by British pop star Dua Lipa, 25.

Earlier she told Clara Amfo, 36, on ITV2’s Brits Backstage show: “It’s so surreal to be in an arena and think about the fact there is going to be an audience and feel the energy of real people.

“It feels really special, especially knowing it’s going to be frontline workers.”

Young talent was also celebrated on the night, with Breakthrough Brit award winner Griff, 20, giving a rousing performance of her hit Black Hole.

Arlo Parks, 20, also took to the stage, as did 18-year-old US star Olivia Rodrigo. She performed Driver’s License — which was at No1 for nine weeks earlier this year, becoming the longest-running debut single to top the UK chart in 15 years.

Ahead of what she called her “first real performance ever”, Olivia said: “I had no expectations.

“I really loved the song and I was really proud of it but never in my wildest dreams could I have expected No 1 for nine weeks. That is crazy.”

Sir Elton John, 74, also appeared in a pre-recorded performance — 35 years after winning his first award at the ceremony.

His set with Olly Alexander, 30, saw the pair singing Pet Shop Boys’ 1987 song It’s A Sin — also the name of the Channel 4 series Olly starred in earlier this year.

Olly said: “That is quite iconic. It’s definitely a dream coming true moment. I can’t believe it’s happened, so thank you Brits, thank you Elton.”

Elton, named a Brits Icon in 2013, said on ITV2’s Brits Backstage show: “The age gap is frightening but the electricity is fantastic so it’s wonderful to be here with him. I love him.”

Following the ceremony, the pair officially released a recording of their version of the song, which is raising money for the Elton John Aids Foundation.

Headie One, 26, who missed out on the Male Solo Artist award, also performed, along with the winner of International Male, The Weeknd. Like Coldplay, Super Bowl star The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, 31, pre-recorded his set.

The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Choir brought the ceremony to a close with a touching performance alongside American singer Pink, 41, and Rag’n’Bone Man, 36, who performed their new duet Anywhere Away From Here.

The track is being re-released with the choir’s vocals to raise money for the NHS.

Dua Lipa flashes her bum as she twerks on stage at the Brit Awards in Union Jack mini-skirt

Football news:

Smertin recalls Euro 2004: he almost fought in the joints, defended against the young Cristiano and understood the excitement of the Bridge
Gareth Southgate: We shouldn't be football snobs. In matches with top teams, diversity is important
Leonid Slutsky: I am still sure that the Finnish national team is the outsider of our group. They were very lucky against Denmark
I'm not a racist! Arnautovic apologized for insulting the players of the national team of North Macedonia
Gary Lineker: Mbappe is a world-class star, he will replace Ronaldo, but not Messi. Leo does things that others are not capable of
The Spanish fan has been going to the matches of the national team since 1979. He came to the Euro with the famous drum (he could have lost it during the lockdown)
Ronaldo removed the sponsored Coca-Cola at a press conference. Cristiano is strongly against sugar - does not even advertise it