Great Britain

Pet Shop Boys pulled out of Brits performance with Elton John and Years & Years

SIR ELTON JOHN and YEARS & YEARS’ uplifting performance of It’s A Sin was a highlight of this year’s Brit Awards.

But it had been due to be even bigger because the Pet Shop Boys, who wrote and originally released the song, had been set to join them.

I’m told all three acts had planned to perform it together but the duo — Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe — pulled out on Friday just days before it was filmed.

An insider from the awards, at London’s O2 Arena on Tuesday, said: “The concept of all three acts coming together was really ­exciting but in the end it didn’t work out.

“It seemed like they had different visions of what the performance should look like.

“Some wanted it to be a celebration of gayness, others thought it’d be better to make it more general. Let’s just call it creative differences.”

Olly Alexander, who performs as Years & Years, covered the song earlier this year when he appeared in the TV series of the same name.

But a new version with the Rocket Man singer has now been ­releas­ed to raise money for the Elton John Aids Foundation.

And while the Pet Shop Boys don’t appear on that either, they did produce it and have insisted differing ideas about the performance had nothing to do with the fact they didn’t join in.

Last night a rep for the band said: “It’s true that Pet Shop Boys had been asked to be part of the performance of their song It’s A Sin and that they co- produced the new version for the Brits with their long-term producer Stuart Price.

“It’s not true that creative ­differences led to them not appearing.

“The staging and ­casting ideas were approved by PSB along with Olly and Elton.

“The non-appearance of PSB was ultimately due to a contractual issue that proved unresolvable and about which there will be no further comment.”

It all smells a bit fishy to me.

Turning air b-Lew

LEWIS Capaldi’s potty mouth meant his appearance to present the Mastercard Album gong to Dua Lipa was muted on telly.

But his introduction was so funny I’ve gone to the trouble of writing it up for you.

Lewis started: “Shut up. Hello motherf***ers.

“Man I’m f***ing sweating. It’s like a swamp down there. Sweaty b**ks.

“Hello Brit Awards. Sorry I’m reading off a bit of card here.”

Deliberately awkward and robotic, he went on: “How is everyone doing?

“It’s great to be here tonight. It’s just great to be out of the house, to be honest.

“It’s been a great year for albums, most of all because I haven’t fing released one.

“Let’s hope that this year is even bigger and better for British music.”

Addressing the audience in London, the Scot added: “And obviously let’s also hope that Scotland win at the Euros.”

After then being booed, he waved his card and said: “I didn’t f***ing write it. I’m just doing a job.”

The campaign to make him next year’s host should start right now.

Lewis said in January he was, “Going to f*** off now for a wee bit to crack on and finish the second album”.

But I’m told the chance to go to the Brits after a year of barely being able to do anything was too good to turn down. I can’t say I blame him.

Booze that girl Jade

LITTLE Mix’s Jade Thirlwall was celebrating for three, as her pregnant bandmates Perrie Edwards and Leigh-Anne Pinnock had to stay off the booze.

But it looked like she more than made up for them as she cheered and stuck her tongue out in the car home.

Little Mix became the first girl band to win the British Group gong, and Jade looked just like a wild Britpopper as she stuck two fingers up in the air.

After coming around yesterday, the group shared a sweet message on Instagram thanking fans for their support, adding: “It’s not easy being a female in the pop industry – we’ve seen the white male dominance, sexism and lack of diversity.

“The fact that this award has never been won by a girl group speaks volumes.

“This award is not just for us, it’s for all the incredible female groups that have come before us.”

It’s well deserved.

Big wins

RIFF landed the Rising Star award and also won when it came to her streaming figures – getting a 248 per cent surge in plays on Spotify following her performance.

Breakthrough Artist winner Arlo Parks saw her streams shoot up 140 per cent while Headie One’s song Ain’t It Different saw a 167 per cent uplift.

Elsewhere, Haim had 146 per cent more people listening to their back catalogue on Spotify after being crowned winners in the International Group category.

Rainy Weeknd

I COULD, ahem, bearly recognise The Weeknd during his slot – in fact he looked just like Paddington.

The Canadian singer sang his hit Save Your Tears by video link in the pouring rain from the US, wearing an all-black fisherman’s outfit complete with rain slicker, boots and Valentino bucket hat, leading to some hilarious comparisons.

Many thought the get-up was appropriate for Brits drinking in pub beer gardens at the moment. And posting a snap of Paddington, someone else commented: “The Weeknd channelling a true British fashion icon.”

That’s what you get for trying your luck with trendy clobber.

Safe stars party on

THE official after-parties were non-starters due to Covid but that didn’t stop the celebs letting their hair down well into the night after the awards bash ended.

After rigorous testing at the event, meaning everyone at London’s O2 Arena had showed negative for coronavirus, top acts including Taylor Swift and Maya Jama partied with their pals safe in the knowledge they wouldn’t be putting anyone at risk.

Taylor joined her friends Haim for a knees-up after the event and shared a snap of herself drinking a glass of wine with Danielle, Alana and Este.

Alongside the American sisters, Taylor – who had picked up the Global Icon award – took time to hang out with Drivers License singer Olivia Rodrigo and Game Of Thrones actress Maisie Williams.

Elsewhere, Brits backstage host Maya held court as a whole host of stars dropped by for a drink and picture.

Cheeky Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi stuck his middle fingers up at the camera, while Amber Davies, Roman Kemp and Alex Scott were also pictured partying with Maya.

DJ Nick Grimshaw also stopped by for a selfie. But while these lot carried on the party, the same could not be said for Radio 1 presenter Arielle Free.

She was spotted looking a little the worse for wear as she went home on the Tube – and ended up calling in sick for her 5am radio show yesterday morning.

Arielle was covered by fellow DJ Katie Thistleton, and when she woke up later she rang into Greg James’ Breakfast Show and revealed she had just eaten a hash brown in bed.

She later tweeted: “Think it would’ve been illegal if I’d gone on air this morning.”

It's a Rome from home for Mabel

THEY say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but for London-based Mabel that old adage was turned on its head.

The singer, who presented Dua Lipa with her Female Solo Artist gong, split with boyfriend Rome Flynn at the start of the year after they struggled to make the long-distance romance work.

However, friends say they have been working to get things back on track after she flew to Los Angeles, where the US actor lives, to work on her second album.

A pal said: “Spending time in the US allowed Mabel to see Rome and it really helped kick-start that spark between them.

“They’re taking it slow but Mabel and Rome both really like one another and they want to see if they can make it work in the long-run. Mabel is happier than ever at the moment.

“She has new music on the way and things with Rome seem to be going from strength to strength.”

Just like she sang in her 2020 hit Boyfriend, Mabel wants a man to “love me better”. I certainly hope Rome can give her what she deserves.

Elton John accompanies It's A Sin star Olly Alexander on the piano at the Brit Awards 2021

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