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Best, Worst, and Most Political Moments of the 2024 BRIT Awards: U.K.’s Top Night in Music

7 minute read

The BRITs is an annual night of celebration for the music industry in the U.K., with the nation’s most talented and impactful artists honored for their successes. While the focus is on homegrown talent, international acts are also recognized for their contribution to music. The ceremony—often thought of as the U.K.’s answer to the Grammy Awards—is known for delivering incredible performances, which often go down in history. Perhaps none is more iconic than the Spice Girls’ 1997 medley of their hit songs “Wannabe” and “Who Do You Think You Are.” Thanks in part to the Union Jack dress adorned by Geri Halliwell (aka Ginger Spice), the performance is still spoken of today, especially when the subject of the BRITs comes up. While few BRITs moments since have managed to reach that stratospheric level of fame, there’s still a bevy of landmark performances to enjoy each year.

At the 2024 ceremony, which took place at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday, March 3, Australian superstar Kylie Minogue performed a streamlined medley of her greatest hits, in honor of her winning the coveted Global Icon Award. The “Padam Padam” singer was presented with the trophy by Dua Lipa, who also performed at the event, and took to the stage elsewhere in the show to accept the Best Pop Act award. Lipa beat out London-born singer Raye for the achievement, marking the only loss among Raye’s seven nominations. It was a wildly successful night for Raye. With six wins, she broke the record for the most gongs awarded to a single act in one night. The previous record of four was held by Adele, Harry Styles, and Blur.

It was a full-circle moment for Raye, who is a former pupil of London’s BRIT School, which is partially funded by the BRIT Trust. Some of the proceeds from the annual BRIT awards go toward the school, which is free to attend. Other notable alumni include Adele and Amy Winehouse. As well as celebrating the successes of former pupils, the BRITs, along with its sponsor, Mastercard, efforts a Next Generation campaign, aiming to spotlight and nurture up-and-coming talent. At the 2024 ceremony, Raye shared a sweet reunion with her old headteacher, Stuart Walden, and encouraged greener musicians to not give up.

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Six-time BRIT winner Raye performed a medley for the live audience and viewers at home. Karwai Tang—WireImage

Alongside performances and noteworthy acceptance speeches, there were also surprise cameos and skits along the way, and some rather impressive presenters.

See below for the best and worst moments from the 2024 BRIT Awards.

Most elevated performance

Dua Lipa made sure her show-opening performance of “Training Season” was one to remember and hard to miss. While BRIT-winner Lipa initially stayed grounded for the event, her dancers were suspended high above the stage in a circle formation ahead of her set, only to hurtle down to the stage mid-performance. They then lifted the singer into the air. You could say that Lipa and her creative team got things off to a flying start.

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Dua Lipa performs "Training Season" on stage at the BRIT Awards 2024.Samir Hussein—WireImage

Most political statement

The BRITs aired on U.K. television network ITV, which is also known for its prominent dramas. One such drama, a short series titled Mr Bates vs the Post Office, debuted on the channel earlier this year. Based on the real-life Post Office scandal, the program explored the years-long debacle whereby Post Office employees were wrongfully convicted of fraud because of faulty software. The show tells the story with a focus on former sub-postmaster Alan Bates, who led the campaign for justice at the High Court. Victims of the scandal waited years to get convictions overturned and are still chasing compensation.

At the BRITs 2024, former sub-post office operator Jo Hamilton presented an award alongside actor Monica Dolan, who portrayed her in the ITV drama. Hamilton used the highly-watch moment to campaign for those who, like herself, were unfairly prosecuted. Calling out the authorities, she said: "I want to thank everyone in the country for the love and support they have given the postmasters. Please can you keep on supporting us because, despite what the government says, they’re not paying the postmasters.”

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Former sub-post office operator Jo Hamilton, alongside actor Monica Dolan, made a political statement on stage during the BRIT Awards 2024.Gareth Cattermole—Getty Images

Best nostalgia hit

Global Icon Award winner Kylie Minogue continues to dominate the music charts each decade, and even won a Grammy Award earlier this year on account of her viral song “Padam Padam.” Alongside singing her more recent hit single, Minogue also delivered a welcome dose of nostalgia, belting out her beloved 2001 song “Can't Get You Out of My Head” before launching into her sultry 2010 track “All the Lovers.” Our only complaint about her set? It wasn’t quite long enough for our liking.

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Global Icon Award winner Kylie Minogue delivered an energetic set.JMEnternational—Getty Images

Sweet and sour moment

The live crowd erupted into applause when Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Tré Cool took to the stage to present the International Group of the Year Award (which ended up going to Boygenius). It’s an award they’ve previously won themselves, so it was fitting they should be the ones to present it. However, the sweetness was somewhat undercut by a sour aftertaste, with the downside of their appearance being that they didn’t take to the stage to perform during the night. Perhaps next year, instead!

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Tré Cool and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day came on stage to present an award.Gareth Cattermole—Getty Images

A wickedly good cameo

Bridgerton’s very own Jonathan Bailey, who will star opposite Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo in the big screen adaptation of the musical Wicked, presented Raye with the Artist of the Year award. The actor said it was an “unbelievable honor” to hand over the gong, and later attended Raye’s BRITs after-party.

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Jonathan Bailey presented Raye with the Artist of the Year award at the 2024 BRITs.Max Cisotti/Dave Benett—Getty Images

Best no-show

Miley Cyrus won the International Song of the Year award for her hit 2023 track “Flowers.” She couldn’t be in attendance, so sent a short acceptance speech via video, which ended up being one of the highlights of the night. Wearing a sparkly, backless minidress, Cyrus turned around and said: “Thanks for giving me somewhere to wear this dress.” She signed off by quipping: “I know this video is a little short, but I just wanted it to match my dress. Thank you.”

Best family moment

When collecting her sixth and final award of the night, the coveted British Album of the Year gong, Raye brought her grandmother, Agatha, on stage. The duo hugged and shared a sweet moment, as the visibly emotional singer admitted she was overwhelmed. Raye, born Rachel Agatha Keen, gets her middle name from her gran, who she thanked in front of the live audience.

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Raye accepted the Album Of The Year award for My 21st Century Blues with grandmother Agatha Dawson-Amoah by her side. Karwai Tang—WireImage

Best new power duo

Alison Owen, known for her roles in 2023 blockbuster Saltburn and the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends, walked onto the stage with none other than singer Charli XCX. With their dark, long dresses complimenting each other, the duo joined forces to present DJ Calvin Harris with the Dance Act award.

Most traitorous appearance

Much like in the U.S., hit reality show The Traitors has a strong hold on U.K. audiences. The most recent season finished airing on BBC One in January, but mother-and-son duo, fan favorites Diane and Ross, returned to the small screen for a fun cameo at the BRITs. Dressed in the famed Traitors cloaks they, along with the ceremony’s main hosts, teased Raye’s upcoming performance by writing her name down on a chalkboard in a similar fashion to what is done on the reality show.

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Write to Olivia-Anne Cleary at olivia-anne.cleary@time.com