Skip To Content

    17 Outrageous Things That Actually Happened At The Brit Awards, Which I Still Haven't Come To Terms With

    Yes, this list does include Geri Halliwell's Union Jack dress.

    The 2021 BRIT Awards are happening TONIGHT, people! So to celebrate, I thought I would look back at the most iconic things to ever have happened at the BRITs, since they began wayyy back in 1977.

    1. Starting with, of course, the time the queen of pop flew off the stage at the 2015 BRIT Awards.

    View this video on YouTube

    Madonna was in the middle of singing "Living for Love" when she was yanked off stage by a dancer. It was only her Armani cape that was supposed to come away, but it had been tied too tight for the singer to undo it in time. The incident was only made more awkward by the next lyrics in the song — "Now that it's over I'm gonna carry on / Lifted me up, and watched me stumble."

    2. When Freddie Mercury made his last public appearance at the 1990 BRIT Awards.

    View this video on YouTube

    The Queen frontman appeared at the awards to accept his Outstanding Contribution to Music Award with the rest of the band. Though Freddie was known for his extravagant stage presence, it was Brian May who did most of the speaking, with a noticeably gaunt Freddie simply adding, "Thank you. Goodnight". He died the next year on 24 November from an AIDS-related illness.

    3. The time Adele got savagely cut off during her acceptance speech to make way for Blur's live performance.

    View this video on YouTube

    It's 2012, and Adele has just won Album of the Year. The crowds were lavishing her with applause, but she barely got out a couple of thank yous before the host of the evening, James Corden, appeared to cut her off. Visibly pissed, Adele ended her speech with "Goodbye, and I'll see you next time round", before putting up her middle finger. Poor Blur then had to begin their set to the sound of raucous boos!

    4. The time that Jarvis Cocker ran onstage and pointed his ass at Michael Jackson during his performance.

    View this video on YouTube

    Michael Jackson is a legendary performer, but I think many would agree that his 1996 BRITs appearance was a little...much. The singer pulled out all the stops for a rendition of "Earth Song", even appearing at the culmination of the ballad as a Christ-like figure surrounded by children.

    Pulp frontman, Jarvis, thought the performance was "in bad taste", so he impulsively ran onstage and began fooling around, lifting his shirt and pointing his butt in Michael's direction. Jarvis would later claim it was a protest of the way he felt Michael saw himself as a messiah-type individual.

    5. When Billie Eilish performed her Bond theme song for the first ever time and proved she could SAAANG.

    View this video on YouTube

    Since she's best known as an exponent of whisper-pop (which I personally love), sceptics doubted that Billie could ever stand up to the Shirley Bassey–like vocals required for a classic Bond song. But she proved everybody wrong when she unveiled "No Time to Die" at the awards last year, alongside her brother and frequent collaborator, Finneas, as well as Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr. Billie also won International Female Solo Artist that night.

    6. When Geri Halliwell wore THAT Union Jack dress at the 1997 BRITs.

    View this video on YouTube

    Ginger Spice's Union Jack dress might just be as imitable and iconic as the Spice Girls themselves — it even has its own Wikipedia page! Geri was actually due to wear a lil' black Gucci dress for the band's performance, but she thought it was too boring, so she had her sister stitch a Union Jack tea towel to the front. The next day the dress was splashed over all the newspapers and the rest, as they say, is history.

    7. When Alex Turner made a truly bizarre speech after the Arctic Monkeys won Album of the Year.

    View this video on YouTube

    The Arctic Monkeys won big at the 2014 BRIT Awards, earning a best album award for AM, but when they took to the podium to give thanks...well, they didn't really. Instead, Alex made a speech about the cyclical nature of rock 'n' roll, commenting that "it might hibernate from time to time and sink back into the swamp...but it will never die". Alex later said to Rolling Stone that his speech was about his indifference to awards ceremonies.

    8. When Little Mix tore up the stage during a performance of "Woman Like Me" at the 2019 awards.

    Remember when fucking little mix did this on the BRITs, no one is at their level

    Twitter: @jeonshalaa

    The British girl band were fresh off the success of their album LM5 when they showed up to the BRITs to show just how much they'd grown since their reality-show beginnings. Little Mix performed with London rapper Ms Banks and showed off some serious choreo that had the crowd going wild. Later on, they would win British Video of the Year for the song!

    9. The time that Robbie Williams challenged Liam Gallagher to a fight.

    View this video on YouTube

    At the 2000 awards, during an acceptance speech, Robbie challenged the Oasis lead singer to a £100,000 bet and a televised boxing match. The event was apparently sparked by Liam's constant jabs at Robbie, and it marked a significant development in the ongoing feud between the pair. The speech has gone down as a bit of an iconic moment, with celebs like Mel C and Craig Cash quoting Robbie in subsequent ceremonies!

    10. When Brandon Block ran up onstage thinking he'd won an award and got into a tussle with Ronnie Wood.

    View this video on YouTube

    In the same year as Robbie's challenge to Liam, DJ Brandon Block – who no one had ever really heard of – stormed the stage just as Ronnie Wood and Thora Birch were about to announce the winner of Best Soundtrack Album. He'd apparently been convinced by a friend that he'd won the award. The Rolling Stones alumnus was so unimpressed that he threw a drink over Brandon. It's literally one of the most chaotic things you'll ever watch.

    11. When Lady Gaga paid tribute to Alexander McQueen at the 2010 BRIT Awards.

    View this video on YouTube

    During her second appearance at the BRITs, Gaga ended up winning three awards, but it was her musical tribute to English fashion designer Alexander McQueen – who had just died by suicide – that really stood out. Gaga had planned a different performance but changed it at the last minute to a slowed-down piano performance of "Telephone" in honour of Alexander.

    12. When Florence + the Machine and Dizzee Rascal mashed up "You Got the Love" and "Dirtee Cash" to create "You Got the Dirtee Love."

    View this video on YouTube

    In the same year as Gaga's tribute to Alexander McQueen, Florence took to the stage to sing her mega-hit "You've Got the Love" with London-born rapper Dizzee Rascal. The resulting collaboration was a hit, with both artists delivering top-notch performances. People loved it so much that the pair performed their duet again at Glastonbury Festival, and even released it as a single!

    13. And if we're gonna talk about BRITs mashups, we'd better cover the performance that kicked off the trend – "Can't Get Blue Monday Out of My Head".

    View this video on YouTube

    Kylie Minogue debuted this genius mashup at the 2002 BRITs, and it has since become one of the most memorable performances the awards has ever seen. Conceived by DJ Erol Alkan, the track was also released as its own single, and both Kylie and New Order have been known to play it at their respective shows!

    14. When Stormzy called out Theresa May over Grenfell.

    View this video on YouTube

    During an unforgettable performance of "Blinded by Your Grace", Stormzy delivered an unexpected freestyle that called out the then Prime Minister Theresa May for neglecting the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. This was Stormzy's second BRIT Awards appearance, and he took home two prizes — one for British Male Solo Artist, and another for British Album of the Year for Gang Signs & Prayer.

    15. When Adele gave an emotional rendition of "Someone Like You" at the 2011 BRIT Awards.

    View this video on YouTube

    A year before she would be cut off by producers at the 2012 awards, Adele delivered a stand-out performance of her latest hit at the time, "Someone Like You". It was a stripped-back performance that sent fans wild and helped to solidify Adele as one of the most spellbinding musical artists of the 2010s (and beyond)!

    16. The time that Kanye West got censored to fuck during a performance of "All Day" in 2015.

    View this video on YouTube

    At the 2015 awards, Kanye West debuted his brand new track "All Day" onstage accompanied by a ton of US rappers and UK grime artists, including Krept & Konan, Boy Better Know, Novelist, Q-Tip, and Stormzy. The performance was totally enthralling, but for viewers at home, it was mostly silent due to Kanye repeatedly using the n-word, which was bleeped out of the broadcast version.

    17. And finally, the time that Amy Winehouse performed "Valerie" onstage with an orchestra and producer Mark Ronson.

    View this video on YouTube

    Back in 2008, critics of Amy Winehouse had dubbed her an unreliable performer, but this performance showed that while she struggled behind the scenes, Amy always shined onstage. The iconic singer provided a show-stopping end to Mark's medley set, which also featured fellow London-born musician Adele singing "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face".

    You can watch the BRITs live on ITV1 or the ITV Hub from 8pm. You can also catch the backstage show, hosted by Maya Jama and Clara Amfo, on ITV2 from 7pm to 8pm.

    Did we miss any iconic BRIT Awards moments? Shout them out in the comments below!