Duffy Three, Coldplay Zero

For those who thought this year’s Grammy Awards were a shameless spectacle, we’ve got news. They didn’t hold a candle to the British Phonographic Industry’s annual Brit Awards.

Whether it was Take That descending from the rafters in a UFO to perform a Kraftwerk-like version of their hit “Greatest Day” or Lady GaGa joining Pet Shop Boys onstage wearing an outfit that appeared to come from a Dutch pottery shop, over the top was the name of the game.

Of course, never one to be outdone, host Kylie Minogue was at her glamorous best as she performed “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” flanked by co-hosts and “Gavin and Stacey” stars James Corden and Matthew Horn dressed in red silk gowns, thigh-high leather boots and red plastic headgear.

Photo: AP Photo
Host Kylie Minogue performs "Can’t Get You Out of My Head" accompanied by co-hosts James Corden and Matthew Horn decked out in "trucker trannie" regalia.

The big winner of the night was blue-eyed soul singer Duffy, who walked away with Brits for British female solo artist, British breakthrough act and – because the BPI has obviously sold naming rights to its top award – the Mastercard British album of the year.

Duffy’s biggest coup was shutting out both Radiohead and Coldplay for the album of the year award, which Brit bookmakers had predicted would go to Coldplay.

Photo: AP Photo
Music legend Tom Jones passes the torch as he presents the newest Welsh superstar with the award for best British album.

Speaking of bookmakers, the Guardian reports singer/songwriter Paul Weller found himself at the center of some controversy in the days prior to the awards when a sudden rush of bets were placed on him in the race for best solo male artist.

A spokesman for the bookmakers told the Guardian: “The odds for him to win moved from 5-1 to 1-5. We’re not pointing fingers at the Brits committee; it could be anyone from a judge to the guy who engraves the awards. But we became suspicious and decided to close all bets.”

Suspicious indeed. Especially when you consider the fact that Weller took home the award. Looks like somebody’s going to be in trouble.

Other big winners were Nashville quartet Kings of Leon, who return to the States the proud new owners of trophies for best international album and best international group, and Elbow, who bested Coldplay, Girls Aloud, Radiohead and Take That to score the best British group nod.

While KoL was obviously grateful for the validation, the Guardian said the band warned the British they might be sorry for the warm welcome.

“If it wasn’t for England, Kings of Leon wouldn’t be here right now,” Jared Followill, the band’s bass player said. “You created Kings of Leon, good luck getting rid of us.”

Photo: AP Photo
Yanks Kings of Leon salute the Brits as they pick up one of their two awards for the evening.

KoL wasn’t the only U.S. act to come home with awards. International female solo artist went to Katy Perry and Kanye West scored the international male solo artist nod. (Wonder if that was just to keep him from storming the stage to throw a temper tantrum again?)

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was the winner of best British live act, which went to venerable rockers Iron Maiden by public vote.

Photo: AP Photo
Pet Shop Boys get an assist from one of their biggest fans, The Killers’ Brandon Flowers, as they perform a career retrospective.

Not to be outdone by the BPI, BBC music reporter Ian Youngs came up with his own list of winners and losers. The categories are definitely more interesting than the official awards. For example:

Most Candid Acceptance Speech
In a night lacking rock ‘n’ roll controversy, it was left to a manufactured pop group to veer off the back-slapping script. “Can I just say – it’s about time!” screamed Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding before adding: “I think I just wet myself.”

Other winners in Youngs’ take on the Brits include Lady GaGa (worst outfit for the aforementioned crockery bikini), Take That (strangest performance for their Spielbergian set), Seasick Steve (most out of place nominee for looking “lost as he wandered among the posh suits at the posh tables with a denim jacket, baseball cap and shaggy gray beard) and Elbow (most inappropriate question for the recovering alcoholic David Hasselhoff: “Are you up for a bit of a drink later on David?”)

Since most of you probably didn’t get a chance to catch the awards in all their outlandish glory, here’s a clip of Pet Shop Boys, who picked up a Brit for outstanding contribution to music, performing a medley of their hits with help from The Killers’ Brandon Flowers and Lady GaGa.

For more on the Brits, read the Guardian’s story here and read Youngs’ complete list of winners here.