Justin Bieber, Adele, and Rihanna ignited the 2016 Brit Awards with their performances among a starry lineup at the U.K.’s biggest annual music event.
First, the Biebs. The 21-year-old superstar turned London’s 02 Center stage into a cozy campfire scene to perform “Love Yourself,” accompanied by James Bay on acoustic guitar, before a literally fiery throwdown of “Sorry” backed by dancers.
Both songs are cuts from Justin’s record-breaking and critically acclaimed latest album Purpose and former No. 1’s on multiple charts. Bieber later won the Brits’ Best International Solo Male Artist Award, beating Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Father John Misty, and The Weeknd.
Bay, who went on to win the Best British Male Solo Artist award, strummed while Justin sang a shortened version of “Love Yourself.” The Canadian wore a stunning Saint Laurent palm tree printed gold baseball jacket teamed with black jeans and white Vans. He kept his platinum blonde locks under wraps with a black baseball cap.
Bay later told reporters that he had met the Biebs and his manager, Scooter Braun, a few times previously, and it just so happened that that the heartthrob needed a guitarist at the Brits. Watch Bay on the video below.
— Chi Chi Izundu (@blondeafro) February 24, 2016
After an a capella finish for “Love Yourself,” Justin skipped to the main stage for a full-on, flawless performance of the island-flavored “Sorry,” complete with fire pyrotechnics, dancers, and a moonlit beach backdrop.
Take a look at Bieber and Bay in action below.
Shortly after the live fun, Bieber won the aforementioned Best International Male award, aptly presented by Diplo and the rest of the Major Lazer crew. During his acceptance speech, the pop icon told the Brits crowd, “Wow. This just shows that life is a journey. Everyone has their own journey, everyone has ups and downs.”
Justin continued, “I just want to take this moment to thank all my fans, thank everyone in the audience tonight…I want to thank Scooter… Man, I’m shaking a little bit right now. I’m just, I’m really appreciative, that’s all. And you guys are awesome, Thank you.”
Watch his speech here.
More significant than the singer’s performance at the Brits is his win of Best International Male over heavy-hitters such as Drake and The Weeknd. As the U.K.’s Independent notes, the Brit awards are not dependent on which artist can rack up the most media attention but on votes from “artists, retailers, DJs and other industry tastemakers,” so the Biebs’ win is an unequivocal indication of the impact of Purpose and its chart-slaying singles.
“The reinvention of Bieber with his Purpose album is one of the most stunning turnarounds in pop. Packed with earworms, the tropical vibe of ‘What Do You Mean?’ lodged itself at the top of the charts, followed by [the] Skrillex collaboration ‘Sorry’ and Ed Sheeran co-write, ‘Love Yourself,’” the paper writes.
The Independent went on to observe that in addition to Bieber’s own maturation, the public “embraced Purpose’s ‘coming of age’ theme and Bieber’s clever assimilation of EDM, R&B and acoustic strumming into a contemporary pop mix primed for Spotify playlists.”
It’s been a historic couple of weeks for the comeback singer. Last weekend, the Biebs performed “Love Yourself” and “Where Are U Now” at the Grammys and won his first ever Grammy for the latter alongside Jack U’s Diplo and Skrillex.
Meanwhile, fresh off her debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with “Work,” Rihanna performed the seductive dancehall charmer with a surprise cameo from Toronto’s finest, Drake. While the songstress’ vocals seemed to still be recovering from the bronchitis which forced her to pull out from the Grammys, her performance was vibey and electric. Watch it below.
Adele, who came away from the Brits with four awards, including the Global Success Award, which was introduced from an actual space station, delivered a beautiful performance of “When We Were Young.”
During her acceptance for Best Female Artist, Adele declared she wanted to “take this moment to publicly support Kesha,” a move which may well have positive consequences for Kesha’s ongoing legal face-off with Sony Music and the producer Dr. Luke to nullify her record contract after alleging abuse, drugging, and rape by Dr. Luke.
This is because Adele, who is signed to Sony’s Columbia Records, is obviously a major player in the industry.
There was a sweet moment between Bieber and Adele when he gave her a peck on the cheek as she walked up to the podium to collect one of her awards.
— Music News & Facts (@musicnews_facts) February 24, 2016
For her part, Adele accepted the award and joked about Bieber’s fiery performance.
— 4Music (@4Music) February 24, 2016
Post-Brits, Justin thrilled numerous London fans with impromptu hugs and selfies in the street, before partying at the Tape nightclub. Small wonder. This now successfully transitioned young adult artist has a lot to celebrate.
For a complete list of the 2016 Brit Award winners click the link.
[Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]