Being invited to perform at the Brit Awards is one of the biggest honours an artist can have, and every year, the acts attempt to put on a show befitting of the occasion.
Among the artists who took to the stage during Tuesday night’s 40th anniversary show were newcomers like Dave and Mabel, US superstars Lizzo and Billie Eilish and British icon Rod Stewart – but which of them really stood out?
Here’s our definitive run down of this year’s offerings...
9. Rod Stewart – I Don’t Wanna Talk About It / Stay With Me
Absolutely no disrespect to Sir Rod putting him at this end of our ranking, for the Brit Awards’ 40th anniversary it felt fitting to have such a long-serving British talent closing the show (particularly so soon after he beat both Stormzy and Harry Styles to the number one spot, lest we forget). His reunion with The Faces was a nice touch, too.
However, while I Don’t Wanna Talk About It is an obvious crowd-pleaser, we can’t help but feel other performers on the night thought more outside the box, and therefore stuck out in our minds a little bit more.
8. Celeste – Strange
As part of changes to the Brits this year, the winner of the Rising Star award was also invited to perform during the main ceremony, meaning we were treated to a rendition of Strange by this year’s recipient, Celeste.
The main thing we’ll take away from her performance is her voice (which, given how stripped back everything was, we assume was the point), and hopefully the Brits stage has set her up nicely for a huge year.
7. Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up
Choreography, chair-ography, even phone-ography – Mabel chucked all the “ographies” at her Brits opener, with staging that looked like it was inspired by Phillip Schofield’s 90s gameshow Talking Telephone Numbers.
However, Mabel suffered slightly with being first up on the bill, and come the end of the evening, it wasn’t one we immediately remembered.
6. Billie Eilish – No Time To Die
For the first performance of her new James Bond theme No Time To Die, the singer made sure she went all out, teaming up not just with her brother and co-writer Finneas, but composer extraordinaire Hans Zimmer and guitar legend Johnny Marr.
The stripped-back approach definitely worked with the song, and this performance was further proof that Billie’s vocal abilities are seriously underrated. But on a night with so many stand-outs, this one may have got a little bit lost.
5. Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
Lewis’ number one smash packs an emotional punch at the best of times, but it hit even harder than usual as it came after host Jack Whitehall paid tribute to Love Island host and regular Brits attendee Caroline Flack, who he called “a kind and vibrant person with an infectious sense of fun”.
4. Harry Styles – Falling
The former One Directioner chose to showcase a heartbreaking ballad from Brits-nominated album Fine Line for his debut solo slot at the ceremony, which was absolutely on-point vocally.
His muted performance seemed especially poignant given the recent news about his ex-girlfriend Caroline Flack, who it was reported over the weekend had taken her own life.
3. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You medley
After an astronomical rise over the last 12 months, Lizzo showcased why we’ve all fallen in love with her with a medley of her biggest songs.
In an evening of fairly sombre performances, the US star lifted the mood with her energetic display – which was nearly as iconic as her downing a wine glass of Harry Styles’ tequila later in the evening.
2. Stormzy – Heavy Is The Head medley
This is what you call a victory lap. After an incredible 12 months, that has seen the rapper landing three number one singles, a chart-topping album and a headlining slot at Glastonbury, he returned to the stage where he first made headlines two years ago to whizz through tracks from his latest release, Heavy Is The Head.
Combining a gospel choir, backing dancers and a guest appearance from Burna Boy, the whole thing ended with a jam-packed stage dancing in the rain, in a callback to his 2018 performance. True, it didn’t prove to be quite as impactful as that freestyle rap, but Stormzy has nothing to prove in 2020, and it was just great to watch him celebrate his success on such a huge platform.
1. Dave – Black
Dave proved exactly why he is one of the most exciting artists this country has right now as he delivered a politically-charged performance of his song Black, with freestyle raps taking aim at the prime minister, the treatment of the Grenfell Tower victims, the media’s coverage of Meghan Markle and the need for support towards the Windrush generation.
Much like fellow British rapper Stormzy’s 2018 Brits performance that lambasted then-PM Theresa May over the Grenfell tragedy, we expect this is the one people will be talking about for years to come.