THE COUCH POTATO: No direction for the aimless Brit Awards
YOU can imagine the panic, at ITV, in the run-up to Wednesday night’s big pop bash. The network’s unofficial patron Simon Cowell would be there, along with his biggest X Factor success story, One Direction.
But looking down the list of winners, it seems they’ve been overlooked for a gong.
“No matter,” thought ITV. “Let’s get the organisers to make one up and give it to them anyway to keep Simon sweet. Call it, I don’t know, Global Success award.”
And thus it unfolded, at The Brits, a lifeless occasion which started with ITV2’s Laura Whitmore tempting fate: “There’s always something controversial that happens every year.”
The big controversy this time around, of course, was that precisely nothing controversial happened throughout the two-and-a-quarter-hour duration.
George Michael didn’t show up slurring his words, nobody stormed the stage, and host James Corden, dressed like a 15-year-old at his first end-of-year prom and armed with a terrible script, spent the evening making jokes about Harry Styles fancying older women and sucking up to the stars: “It’s the beautiful Miss Taylor Swift.” “The mighty Robbie Williams.” “The super, super talented Ed Sheeran.” “The dynamic and effortless Emeli Sandé.”
The grovelling James Corden, if you ask me, who caught a dose of “incredible” Tourette’s mid-show, of which I’ll spare you the details.
Likewise his constant references to the elephant in the room, Adele’s speech he cut short last year, firing away at it like a biggame hunter with a blunderbuss.
And the way he was squeezing information out of the acts about their forthcoming concert tours, they might as well have just gone the whole hog and hired Dermot O’Leary instead.
The sparse moments that tickled amounted to guest presenter Rafe Spall’s room-clearing request for the crowd to applaud the host, tongue-tied Corden announcing Robbie Williams as “Whoopee Williams”, and his introduction of Jack Whitehall: “To present the award, the unfunny one from A League Of Their Own.”
Hardly fair, James. He’s also the unfunny one from Fresh Meat and Hit The Road Jack.
I’d had more than enough long before the five Best Album nominees disappeared up their own backsides.
Mumford & Sons: “This album is us harnessing each of our different creative outputs.”
Plan B: “Ill Manners is more important for what it’s saying as a social comment on the society we live in. It’s the music of the environment.”
Paloma Faith: “This album is about love and observing the human condition.”
Emeli Sandé: “Our Version of Events is our truth and at the end of the day that’s all we really have.”
Alt-J: “We focus on the power of the track, not the ego of the band.”
So it was over to ITV2’s backstage after-show which turned out to be the unpredictably entertaining shambles the ceremony should have been.
Hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks were on interview duty and quickly established they’re no Ant and Dec, talking over each other, sounding like an impregnable wall of verbal diarrhoea, and jumping an increasingly flappable Laura Whitmore’s autocue lines to the point where she ended up out of her seat screeching: “Don’t read my line! Don’t read my line!”
The lunacy continued during a segment called “Brits rules”, with a Mumford & Son saying: “Rule number one about awards shows is take a hipflask.”
Rule number two? Spell the ceremony MC’s name correctly on screen (it’s Corden, not Cordon, ITV2).
I’m left, though, with the memory of the host telling Rizzle Kicks the secret to his job: “Try to be fun, not funny. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Missions accomplished, James.
● C4’s The Fried Chicken Shop: Life In A Day.
● ITV’s HMP: Aylesbury.
● Saturday night TV saviours Ant and Dec’s interview on The Jonathan Ross Show.
● Ed Leigh’s nod to classic R&B single No Diggity while discussing the giant slalom world champion on Ski Sunday: “I like the way he works it. Ted Ligerty.”
● Eric Clapton’s 20-second gig and Lewis Hamilton obliterating the F1 Star in a Reasonably Priced Car lap record on Top Gear.
● Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday hero Jeff Stelling outwitting the host and her army of seven writers on The Sarah Millican Show.
● The unintentionally hilarious séance on Mr Selfridge by a spiritual medium friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (ele-mental, my dear Watson).
● Buck-toothed thumb-sucking Embarrassing Bodies patient Nicole recalling a, ahem, nasty accident during an intimate moment with her boyfriend. I can say no more, but let’s just say he can now sing Stayin’ Alive pitch perfect.
● All four Loose Women turning a discussion about the late, great Richard Briers to their favourite subject: themselves.
● Sarah Millican and her army of seven writers regurgitating the old “Kate Adie in a warzone means the soldiers are in trouble” 23 years after it first appeared in a newspaper cartoon during the First Gulf War.
● The BBC choosing the wrong show to introduce free voting on the internet: Let’s Dance For Comic Relief.
● On the same show, One Direction’s Zayn keeping his stupid baseball cap on while visiting desperately ill children in Accra. Show some damn respect, son.