After winning a half-dozen Grammy Awards in the U.S. earlier this month, Adele was also 2012’s champion back home, during Tuesday’s annual Brit Awards telecast from London’s O2 Arena. The Tottenham-born singer/songwriter earned two trophies: Best British Female and Best Album, for her 21.
“Nothing beats coming home with six Grammys and then coming to the Brits and winning album of the year. I’m so proud to be flying the British flag for all of you,” the 23 year old told the audience, after being awarded Best Album for sales of 4 million in the U.K., by presenter George Michael.
When accepting her Best Female award from Kylie Minogue, Adele quipped, “You look stunning. I look like a drag queen next to you.”
Ed Sheeran was the night’s other double Brits Award winner, named Best British Male solo artist and Best British Breakthrough. After building a name for himself on the U.K.’s live scene, Sheeran broke into the mainstream in 2011 with a string of hits and his (stupidly titled) album +. He was this year’s most-nominated Brits artist, with four nods.
Single of the Year—chosen by public vote—went to X Factor boy band One Direction with “What Makes You Beautiful,” which trumped nine other nominees, including Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Best Brit Group was Coldplay; while Best Contribution To Music was awarded to Blur.
International awards went to Bruno Mars (Best Male), Rihanna (Best Female) and Foo Fighters (Best Group). Melancholy pop singer Lana Del Rey won Best International Breakthrough act, while Emeli Sande took home the Critics’ Choice award, for the artist most destined for 2012 success.
Without a doubt, the biggest story of the night came when Adele thrust her middle finger onstage after Brit Awards host James Corden interrupted her acceptance speech for 21.
Earlier winner Damon Albarn of Blur had eaten up more than 3 minutes with his acceptance, putting the show behind schedule. When Corden appeared on stage and said: “I’m so sorry, can I just cut off?” the crowd booed him. Adele responded: “Are you about to cut me off? Can I just say then, goodbye and I’ll see you next time round.” She then proceeded to flip the bird, amid hearty cheers from the audience. An endless 11 minute musical performance from Blur followed.
Adele told press backstage: “I flipped the finger but it wasn’t to my fans. I’m sorry if I offended anyone. It was the suits that offended me.” Numerous online polls in the U.K. and U.S. overwhelmingly agree that Adele’s gesture was appropriate.
Adele said after the show that the “insult” wasn’t aimed at fans: “It was the suits that offended me.” Show organizer ITV was quick to release a statement saying, “We regret this happened and send our deepest apologies to Adele that her big moment was cut short due to the live show overrunning.” *