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2021 BRIT Awards highlights

For this week’s Good in the ‘Wood Wednesday, we’re highlighting the 2021 BRIT Awards, which took place Tuesday, May 11 as the first live event back in London’s O2 Arena. The show celebrated our favorite musicians from around the world who continued to create and connect with fans despite the hardships faced globally last year. 

The socially distanced event honored the UK’s “key” workers (essential workers) by inviting them to be in the audience. Presenters included some of Hollywood’s biggest names: Adam Lambert, Billy Porter, Lewis Capaldi, Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, and even former First Lady Michelle Obama.  

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Taylor Swift takes home Global Icon Award

The BRITs honored Taylor Swift with the Global Icon Award, making her the first female to receive this title. The award was presented to her by Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, who played Arya Stark and called Taylor “an inspiration to all.” Taylor pointed out how big of a deal that was for her as she is a huge Game of Thrones fan. 

A dedication video featuring Ed Sheeran, Selena Gomez, Zoë Kravitz, Griff, and Annie Lennox praised Taylor Swift, showcasing why she deserved this award which she called an “incredible honor.” 

During her acceptance speech, Taylor Swift thanked the UK’s National Health Service and key workers. Taylor went on to say that “making folklore and evermore was one of the most unique, cathartic, extraordinary experiences [she’s] ever had” and encouraged other artists to prove their doubters wrong. 

Taylor Swift of course celebrated with her favorite sisters, Haim, sharing the interaction on Instagram with a lyric from their collaboration, “no body, no crime.”

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Fans also got their wish and were blessed with a photo of Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo meeting after the show. 

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2021 BRIT Award performances that stole the show 

Coldplay made a memorable return to the BRITs stage, opening the show on the River Thames. The performance of their latest single “Higher Power” was accompanied by colorful pyrotechnics and their stage and outfits featured the band’s signature vibrant decorations. Futuristic visuals contained holographic figures dancing on the stage.

Dua Lipa’s performance turned the stage into a metro car as she strutted in a UK flag ensemble. Dua sang a medley from her 2020 album Future Nostalgia, consisting of songs “Love Again,” “Physical,” “Pretty Please,” “Hallucinate,” “Don’t Start Now,” and “Future Nostalgia.”

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Olivia Rodrigo graced the BRITs stage in a floor-length red dress singing a soft version of her hit song “driver’s license.” Olivia was accompanied by a harp and piano while visuals of butterflies fluttered around her and key workers swayed their phone flashlights. 

Elton John and Years & Years’ performance was inspired by the Russell T. Davies TV series It’s A Sin, which David Furnish (Elton John’s husband) said “rightfully brought the fight against HIV/ AIDS back into the public conversation. The live recording of this performance was made into a charity single with the proceeds going to the Elton Johnn AIDS Foundation. 

The Weeknd gave a performance of his single “Save Your Tears” that was broadcasted from the U.S. Graphics depicted the artists singing in a concrete box in the middle of a stormy landscape. 

Arlo Parks sang “Hope” from her album Collapsed on Sunbeams surrounded by a beautiful, multi-story set covered in sunflowers. 

Griff gave a lively performance of her song “Black Hole” that made viewers instantly fall in love with the track. 

Acceptance speeches that touched our hearts

Little Mix made history by being the first female group to win the award for British Group. Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Perrie Edwards thanked their fans, team, and former bandmate Jesy Nelson. The trio also went on to talk about being female in the UK pop industry, addressing issues of misogyny, sexism, and lack of diversity.

The Haim sister appeared shocked to receive the award for International Group. Haim thanked their fans and recognized the UK as the first place to ever embrace them as a band. 

Michelle Obama virtually presented the award for International Male Solo Artist to The Weeknd, saying “he’s provided a light that is blinding” with his philanthropic work. The Weeknd said his heart is with those in Ethiopia and encouraged his fans to help those in need where they can. 

Dua Lipa took home the awards for both Female Solo Artist and Mastercard Album. Dua said it is “such an honor to be a part of this wave of women in music” and thanked her fans, saying that she only ever wants to make them proud. 

Dua Lipa dedicated her Female Solo Artist award to nurse Dame Elizabeth Anionwu for fighting racial injustice and advocating for frontline workers. Dua also called for higher wages for key workers. The singer dedicated her second award to Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole and Joaquin Garcia who tried to rescue a woman who had fallen from the London Bridge

Other winners included Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar” for British Single and Billie Eilish for International Female Solo Artist. You can view a complete list of winners and nominees here

Our favorite 2021 Brit Awards red carpet looks 

Breakthrough Artist Arlo Parks donned a gorgeous berry suit that made her shine on the red carpet. 

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Olivia Rodrigo wore a simple, yet bold dress for her first awards show. The bright green instantly caught our eye and was paired perfectly with a minimalist black belt.

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Global Icon Taylor Swift stunned in a two-piece sparkly dress that gave us folklore meets 1989 vibes. 

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The always-matching Haim sisters walked the red carpet in a business-chic, neutral look.