It's not just the Queen's subjects who play the BRITs: the King of Pop was there in 1996. Belting out "Earth Song" while surrounded by gospel singers and children, Michael Jackson gave a vaguely Christ-like performance that was taken as overwrought and self-important by some. One of those people, the lead singer of Pulp, decided to take the wind out of Jackson's sails by making some of his own. While Michael sang about planet earth, Jarvis Cocker whipped out his moon and feigned farting in Jackson's direction (about 5:20 into the video above).
That's British cheek for ya, guv'na.
Since the BRITs are a highly publicized event in the UK, obviously one of the Gallagher brothers has done something stupid there. Collecting an award given to Oasis in 2010 for the best British album of the last 30 years, Liam responded to the honor by flinging the award—and the microphone—into the audience. As the show organizers pleaded with the audience to hand back the mic, the televised event was delayed 10 minutes. The host summed up Liam's appearance: "What a knobhead."
Madonna's stage presence is unlike any other performer's, so it was nothing short of shocking when the Rebel Heart legend took a huge tumble while performing at the 2015 show. Madonna's cape was supposed tear away at the top of her "Living for Love" performance, and instead it tore Madge away with it... but the 57-year-old stood right back up and kept going.
The diva later clarified on Instagram:
"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!"
The worst thing that happens onstage at the GRAMMYs is getting played off—but at the BRITs, you might get a beer in the face from one of The Rolling Stones. A British DJ by the name of Brandon Block was so drunk at the BRITS in 2000 that his friends duped him into thinking he'd won an award. While Stones' guitarist Ronnie Wood and American Beauty actress Thora Birch were presenting Best Soundtrack to Notting Hill, Block stumbled onstage to claim an award he had nothing to do with. Wood tried to laugh it off, but when the bloke resisted security and charged the podium like an angry bull, the Rolling Stone sprayed beer all over DJ Blockhead's face to cool him off. Skip ahead to 2:26 in the video above.
When Icelandic oddball Björk won an award in 1998, she raced onstage, gawked at the audience, and then uttered these immortal words: "I am… grateful… grapefruit." Sure you are, Björk, sure you are. Her Dadaist acceptance speech was times more hilarious given the announcer had opined she would "no doubt" deliver "an acceptance speech with a difference” just before she opened her mouth.
The modern kings of the heartthrob genre up in arms! Okay, not quite, but at the 2014 BRIT Awards, host James Corden made things pretty awkward. He hung out with One Direction during the show and asked them to give Justin Bieber, who was in jail at the moment, some advice. The British babes looked absurdly uncomfortable (who wouldn’t be!) and tried to shrug off the question. When that didn’t work, Louis Tomlinson took over, offering, “Keep strong and keep doing what you’re doing.” We’re not sure if it was meant in a mocking fashion, or he was just flustered, but it was definitely crazy and totally awkward.
Not all of the mustachioed Mumford & Sons were excluded from their own after-party, but if you’re not lead singer Marcus, you had a difficult time. Banjo player Winston Marshall was denied entry to the 2013 Universal Records shindig at London’s East End, regardless of the fact that it was thrown in the band’s honor. Rumor has it that poor ol’ Winnie was stuck outside asking attendees if they could spare an extra ticket. Eventually he made it inside, but not after having to really, really work for it.
But perhaps best of all, the BRITs made an arse out of Rick Astley years before the Internet thought of it. He won Best British single in 1988 for "Never Gonna Give You Up," but were running dangerously close to the 9pm cut-off time at the last minute. Perhaps realizing their poor judgment, the producers had The Who play out the televised broadcast before he even got to the podium to give an acceptance speech.