BRITs 2023: A look back at the Brit Awards’ most iconic moments
The 2023 BRIT Awards is shaping up to be quite the affair on Saturday night, and the annual ceremony has played host to an array of shocking and awkward moments over the years.
Almost every year there has been a surprise occasion worth talking about, from show-stopping music performances to shocking moments and unplanned gaffes.
Arguably one of the most talked about BRITs moments from recent years was when veteran performer Madonna shocked audiences by falling backwards off the stage back in 2015.
Another moment that went down in history was the Spice Girls performance in 1997, which saw Geri Halliwell wear a skimpy Union Jack mini dress that has now become a popular fancy dress outfit and one of her most memorable looks.
Elsewhere, Adele gave a career-defining performance in 2011 when she belted out an emotional rendition of Someone Like You, rocketing her album 21 straight to the top of the charts.
Watch the video here:
Ouch! Veteran performer Madonna also shocked audiences when she fell off the stage in 2015 in an awkward gaffe
Iconic: Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress went down in history as she took to the stage in the ensemble alongside her Spice Girls bandmates back in 1997
Memorable: The 2023 BRIT Awards is shaping up to be quite the affair, but will it produce any more shocking moments, like Jarvis Cocker gatecrashing Michael Jackson’s performance
Emotional: She took to stage to belt out a chilling rendition of Someone Like You, which shot straight to number one after fans were blown away by her emotional performance
Another shocking moment that left fans very surprised was when Jarvis Cocker gatecrashed Michael Jackson’s performance in 1996, bending over and showing his backside to the audience.
The BRITs have also played host to an array of rambling and drunken speeches, and while the 2023 annual ceremony is shaping up to be as memorable as ever, it remains to be seen whether it will produce any more truly iconic moments.
And as music fans eagerly await the much-anticipated 2023 BRIT Awards, MailOnline takes a look back at the ceremony’s most shocking moments…
2015: Madonna being pulled off the stage BACKWARDS
Madonna’s 2015 performance at the BRITs ended up being memorable for all the wrong reasons after she took a shocking stumble down a set of stairs.
The singer, 64, was the last performer to take to the stage during the star-studded evening and she belted out Living For Love at London’s O2 Arena.
However, her much-anticipated performance took a turn for the worse when she fell backwards down a set of steps in an embarrassing gaffe.
Madonna appeared to land on her back with a bang after she careered down the steps during her performance, forcing her to briefly stop singing.
Ouch! Madonna’s 2015 performance at the BRITs ended up being memorable for all the wrong reasons after she took a shocking stumble down a set of stairs
Ever the professional, veteran Madonna quickly recovered after the stumble and continued her performance until the very end in true popstar style.
Amid her stumble, Karlie Kloss was seen turning to her pal Taylor Swift in the audience as they shared shocked looks.
Ironic lines including ‘pick me up’ and ‘I’m gonna carry on’ featured in her performance as she battled to the end in her elaborate matador-inspired costume.
Madonna was making her triumphant return to the BRIT Awards stage after 20 years, when she performed on the annual television show in front of stars including Prince and Oasis.
Later taking to Instagram to comment on the shocking moment, Madonna explained that the fall came about because her Armani cloak was tied ‘too tight’.
She wrote: ‘Armani hooked me up! My beautiful cape was tied too tight! But nothing can stop me and love really lifted me up! Thanks for your good wishes! I’m fine! #livingforlove.’
Gaffe: Later taking to Instagram to comment on the shocking moment, Madonna explained that the fall came about because her Armani cloak was tied ‘too tight’
1997: Geri Halliwell’s iconic Union Jack dress
An outfit that is often replicated on fancy dress nights and has become synonymous with the BRIT Awards was Geri Halliwell’s iconic Union Jack mini dress.
The Spice Girl, 50, famously wore the patriotic dress when she took to the stage with her bandmates to perform at the 1997 awards ceremony.
The very skimpy dress had a plunging neckline and featured a Union Jack across the front and a peace sign down the back, while she styled the look with leather boots.
Her outfit became one of the most memorable moments from the entire night, with viewers going wild for the unique outfit.
In 2020, Geri said she came up with the patriotic design because she wanted to spruce up her plain black Gucci dress.
Memorable look: The very skimpy dress had a plunging neckline and featured a Union Jack across the front and a peace sign down the back, while she styled the look with leather boots
Racy: An outfit that is often replicated on fancy dress nights and has become synonymous with the BRIT Awards was Geri Halliwell’s iconic Union Jack mini dress
She said: ‘I remember this little black Gucci dress that was lent to me and they said ‘you can wear this’ [at the awards].’
Referring to Tom Ford and his work with the brand at the time, she added: ‘I looked at it and thought it’s not really saying much.
‘I’ve always tried to put my finger to the wind and feel whats going on right now, and if I feel it then you’ll feel it and we’ll connect it. So I thought, [it’s] The Brits why not a British flag?’
Detailing how she came to alter the dress, she added: ‘I don’t know if this is true, but you’re not meant to cut up a flag…so I found a tea towel. My sister did it, she was better at sewing than I am.’
But when a stylist told her it could be seen as ‘racist’ because it could be associated with The National Front’, she decided to add a peace sign to the outfit.
‘I was like, oh my goodness… no, stop. We celebrate all cultures,’ she explained. ‘So that’s why I put the peace sign on the back.
Patriotic look: Her outfit became one of the most memorable moments from the entire night, with her look featuring across the front pages of newspapers the next day
‘And then the actual performance, we had our backs to the audience, so you could see the peace sign… I think we found power in each other. That was the whole point of the group.’
Gushing about the impact the outfit had at the time, she added: ‘I woke up the next morning, and the picture of me in that dress was in the front page of every newspaper.
‘That dress really became the identity of what girl power stood for. People would wear their own version of it.
‘Suddenly, you saw the British flag on a lot of fashion…I’ve always been, like, a secret fashion designer.’
2011: Adele’s career-making performance
She has become a household name throughout her exceptional music career and is currently doing a Las Vegas residency while she also won Best Solo Performance at the 2023 Grammys.
At the start of her career, she won the BBC Sound of 2008, the BRITs Critics’ Choice, and debuted her first album, 19, to massive acclaim.
Defining moment: She has become a household name throughout her exceptional music career but she rocketed to success after blowing crowds away at the 2011 BRIT Awards
But a huge career defining moment for the songstress, 34, came just a few years later when she took to the stage in 2011 for her BRITs performance.
She belt out a chilling rendition of Someone Like You, which shot straight to number one after fans were blown away by her emotional performance.
The spine-tingling rendition also saw her second album, 21, spent an impressive 18 weeks at the top of the albums chart as her performance gained her further acclaim.
Rocketing to acclaim soon after, Adele went on to make a name for herself at the BRITs, winning the British Female Solo Artist prize in 2012, and British Single Of The Year in 2013 for her James Bond theme song Skyfall.
1996: Jarvis Cocker gatecrashing Michael Jackson’s performance
Perhaps one of the most infamous moments in BRITs history was when Jarvis Cocker stormed the stage during Michael Jackson’s performance of Earth Song in 1996.
The Pulp singer, 59, took to the stage and ran around bending over and showing his bottom to the world as the late singer performed.
Outraged: Perhaps one of the most infamous moments in BRITs history was when Jarvis Cocker stormed the stage during Michael Jackson’s performance of Earth Song in 1996
Gatecrashing: Jarvis later said that he acted the way he did because he couldn’t handle the fact that Michael was pretending to be Jesus
Jarvis later said that he acted the way he did because he couldn’t handle the fact that Michael was pretending to be Jesus.
He said: ‘He was pretending to be Jesus – I’m not religious but I think, as a performer myself, the idea of someone pretending to have the power of healing is just not right.’Rock stars have big enough egos without pretending to be Jesus – that was what got my goat, that one particular thing.’
2000: Robbie Williams challenging Liam Gallagher to a FIGHT
At the 2000 BRIT Awards, Robbie Williams decided to use his moment on stage to challenge Oasis star Liam Gallagher to a fight.
There had long been brewing tension between the pair after Liam had branded Robbie the ‘fat dancer from Take That’.
And their conflict came to a head when an inebriated-seeming Robbie took to the stage whilst accepting his best British Song award and said to the audience: ‘So, anybody like to see me fight Liam? Would you pay to come and see it?’
Conflict: At the 2000 BRIT Awards, Robbie Williams decided to use his moment on stage to challenge Oasis star Liam Gallagher to a fight
He added: ‘Liam, a hundred grand of your money and a hundred grand of my money. We’ll get in a ring and we’ll have a fight and you can all watch it on TV.’
Despite Robbie’s bravado and willingness to fight Liam, the event never ended up taking place.
2010: AND Liam Gallagher throwing his award into the audience
Liam Gallagher has been involved in his fair share of awards show dramas, and was embroiled in another controversial BRITs moment in 2010.
The Oasis star was awarded a special Best Album of 30 Years award for (What’s the story) Morning Glory? and took to stage to accept the gong.
However, not only did he snub his own brother and bandmate Noel in his acceptance speech, but swore his way through a 10-minute-long ramble.
Controversial: Liam Gallagher has been involved in his fair share of dramas, and was embroiled in another controversial BRITs moment in 2010 when he threw his award into the audience
And when he’d finally finished, Liam threw his microphone and his actual award into the audience.
It was reported at the time that BRIT officials had to bargain with a fan to retrieve the statue and it meant the whole of the rest of the evening was delayed.
2019: Este Haim being labelled as the ‘drunk girl’
Este Haim, one third of pop-rock trio HAIM, was hilariously labelled as ‘the drunk girl’ following her cheeky antics at the 2019 BRIT Awards.
The bass player, 36, was seen getting involved in the backdrop of a shot as she cheekily flirted and winked at the camera.
As Jack Whitehall chatted to Liam Payne and his then-girlfriend Cheryl, she was seen giving cheeky glances and ‘call me’ signs to the camera.
Photobombing: Este Haim, one third of pop-rock trio HAIM, was hilariously labelled as ‘the drunk girl’ following her cheeky antics at the 2019 BRIT Awards
The hilarious over-dramatics caught the attention of viewers at home, who were left in stitches at the musician’s comical moment.
One fan wrote: ‘Este Haim at the BRITs is everything I aspire to be in life’, while another said: ‘Este Haim was the most memorable moment of this years BRITs and I am living for it’.
A third wrote: ‘Este Haim being referred to as ‘the drunk girl’ is honestly giving me life’, while a forth excitedly commented: ‘Este Haim is at the back of the BRITs. I AM SCREAMING!’
Este herself got in on the reaction, clarifying that she was ‘not drunk’ in her viral moment but just ‘living her truth’.
Sober! Este (pictured left with her sisters on the red carpet) herself got in on the reaction, clarifying that she was ‘not drunk’ in her viral moment but just ‘living her truth’
2014: Arctic Monkeys bizarre acceptance speech
In 2014, a very awkward BRIT Awards moment came into being when Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner took to the stage.
His rock band were awarded Best British Group and lead singer Alex took to the stage to give an acceptance speech on behalf of his group.
However, his rambling acceptance speech divided opinion as he lambasted the British music industry and claimed that rock ‘n’ roll wouldn’t go away.
He said: ‘It will never die. And there’s nothing you can do about it.’
The speech was met with mass criticism as he seemed to be berating the very people who had given the band the accolade.
Yikes! In 2014, a very awkward BRIT Awards moment came into being when Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner gave a rambling speech and lambasted the British music industry
The singer then ended his rambling message by dropping his microphone on the floor and walking off, leaving the audience stunned.
Alex later insisted that he was ‘just nervous’ and described himself as a ‘quiet guy’ as he discussed his car crash speech.
He told The Mail On Sunday: ‘People always assume if you’re in a band that’s been on the scene for ages that you’re going to be really confident, but that’s not true.’
2017: The 1975 smoking under the table
One shocking moment came when The 1975’s Ross MacDonald revealed that two of the group broke the no smoking rules inside the O2 at the 2017 BRIT Awards.
The bass guitarist took to Instagram after the ceremony to share a clip of Matty Healy and George Daniel passing around a cigarette underneath one of the tables during the performances.
Rule breakers: Another shocking moment came when The 1975’s Ross MacDonald revealed that two of the group broke the no smoking rules inside the O2 at the 2017 BRIT Awards
In the clip, frontman Matt Healy was seen taking the cigarette before pushing the camera out of his face.
The camera then panned back to the ceremony on the stage, where hosts Emma Willis and Dermot O’Leary were seen giving out awards.
Not all the band members were seen in the clip, which Ross captioned: ‘@brits LOL.’
The 1975 had cause to celebrate on the night as they picked up the BRIT Award for Best Band, beating Bastille, Biffy Clyro, Little Mix and Radiohead for the honour.
Thrilled: The 1975 had cause to celebrate on the night as they picked up the BRIT Award for Best Band, beating Bastille, Biffy Clyro, Little Mix and Radiohead for the honour
2012: Adele sticking up the middle finger
One thing that certainly didn’t go to plan at the 2012 BRITs was Adele’s reaction to James Cordon interrupting her as she gave her acceptance speech for Album Of The Year.
In a rush to introduce Blur and apparently spurred on by the show’s producers, James came on stage as Adele was making her thank yous and said, ‘I’m so sorry, can I just cut off?’
Adele said: ‘Are you about to cut me off? Can I just say then, goodbye and I’ll see you next time round.’
When James conceded that she needed to end her speech, she then stuck her middle finger up to the camera live on television, and was greeted by cheers from the audience.
As James Cordon came up behind Adele, interrupting her acceptance speech she swore at the cameras live on television
Adele later said that she had been offended by the ‘suits,’ who had stopped her making her full acceptance speech.
‘I was about to thank the British public for their support. They cut me off, sorry if I offended anyone but the suits offended me,’ she said.
She added: ‘I got cut off during my speech and flung the middle finger. But that finger was to the suits at the Brit Awards, not to my fans.’
1998: Lead singer of Chumbawumba throws water over John Prescott
John Prescott was rather bizarrely invited to the BRIT Awards back in 1998, and things did not go to plan for the politician, who attended the ceremony with his wife.
As John, who served as deputy prime minister from 1997 to 2007, sat down at his table, Chumbawumba star Danbert Nobacon threw a bucket of water over his head.
Soaked: John Prescott was rather bizarrely invited to the BRIT Awards back in 1998, and things did not go to plan for the politician as he was drenched with a bucket of water
Danbert, who had earlier joined his band’s performing their hit Tubthumping at the ceremony, was seized by security and handed over to the police. The drummer was later released.
Despite ending up drenched, the Labour politician decided not to make a formal complaint and brushed it off as a publicity stunt by the band.
Danbert showed no regret at his actions and later said: ‘If John Prescott has the nerve to turn up at events like the BRIT Awards in a vain attempt to make Labour seem cool and trendy, then he deserves all we can throw at him.’
2000: DJ Brandon Block wrongly thinking he won an award
Back in 2000, one very awkward came about as DJ Brandon Block was convinced by his friends that he had won an award.
As Ronnie Wood presented the Best Soundtrack, pals of the British club DJ joked to him that he was the winner.
Drunken: Back in 2000, one very awkward came about as DJ Brandon Block was convinced by his friends that he had won an award
But the drunken star actually believed them and then stumbled on stage to collect his honour.
When he was challenged by Ronnie, who called him a c***, Brandon tried to get into a fight with the Rolling Stones drummer and eventually ended up with his drink in his face.
2008: Sharon Osbourne’s angry tirade at Vic Reeves
The Osbourne family were asked to present The BRIT Awards in 2008, but didn’t quite adhere to the ‘no swearing on live television’ rule.
Not only did they fill the whole show with expletives, but Sharon got particularly angry at comedian Vic Reeves in one awkward moment.
When he came on stage to present the Best Album award, Sharon deemed him too drunk to do the job after he stumbled over his words.
Conflict: In 2008, Sharon Osbourne was presenting but got particularly angry at comedian Vic Reeves in one awkward moment as she deemed him too drunk to give out an award
His ill-judged quip about singer Kylie Minogue – that she was ‘all right, a bit of work there and she will be OK’ – appeared to only enrage her further.
She barged him away and said: ‘Shut up, you’re p***ed, p*** off you b******,’ before deciding to reveal who the winner of the Best British Album award was herself.
The incident prompted 128 complaints about bad language to Ofcom, but the TV regulator did not discipline ITV1 for the verbal attack.
1989: Sam Fox and Mick Westwood’s DISASTROUS presenting gig
In 1989, the show’s producers made an attempt to revamp the BRIT Awards with a unique presenting duo – Page 3 model Sam Fox and Fleetwood Mac star Mick Fleetwood.
Hosts: In 1989, the show’s producers made an attempt to revamp the BRIT Awards with a unique presenting duo – Page 3 model Sam Fox and Fleetwood Mac star Mick Fleetwood
Oh dear! But it was a disastrous show where little went as planned as guests came on at the wrong time, they fluffed their lines and a pre-recorded Michael Jackson speech wasn’t aired
However, it was a disastrous show where little went as planned and their awkward co-presenting gig is arguably one of the most memorable BRITs gaffes.
During the show, guests came on at the wrong time, they fluffed their lines and they had a pre-recorded Michael Jackson speech which they forgot to air altogether.
After the error-filled ceremony, which was widely criticised at the time, the BRITs stopped being broadcast live and was pre-recorded from 1990 until 2006.
In 2007, the BRIT Awards reverted to being broadcast live, with the 2023 ceremony set to be held on a Saturday night for the first time ever.
BRIT AWARDS 2023: THE NOMINATIONS
Mastercard Album Of The Year
The 1975 – Being Funny In A Foreign Language
Wet Leg – Wet Leg
Harry Styles – Harry’s House
Stormzy – This Is What I Mean
Fred Again – Actual Life 3 (January 1 – September 9 2022)
Artist Of The Year
Group Of The Year
Bad Boy Chiller Crew
Best New Artist
Song Of The Year With Mastercard
Aitch – Baby Ft Ashanti
Cat Burns – Go
Dave – Starlight
Ed Sheeran And Elton John – Merry Christmas
Eliza Rose And Interplanetary Criminal – Baddest Of Them All
George Ezra – Green Green Grass
Harry Styles – As It Was
Lewis Capaldi – Forget Me
Lf System – Afraid To Feel
Sam Smith And Kim Petras – Unholy
Best Alt Rock
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR
Kid Harpoon – co-writer and co-producer on Harry’s House
Hip Hop/ Grime/ Rap
International Artist Of The Year
International Group Of The Year
Drake And 21 Savage
First Aid Kit
International Song Of The Year
Beyonce – Break My Soul
David Guetta And Bebe Rexa – I’m Good (Blue)
Fireboy Dml & Ed Sheeran – Peru
Mauro Castillo, Stephanie Beatriz, Carolina Gaitán, Rhenzy Feliz, Encanto – Cast, Adassa, Diane Guerrero – We Dont Talk About Bruno
Gayle – Abcdefu
Jack Harlow – First Class
Lizzo – About Damn Time
Calum Scott And Lost Frequencies – Where Are You Npow
One Republic – I Ain’t Worried
Taylor Swift – Antihero