The BRIT Awards are often described as the British version of the GRAMMYs, which is sort of true, but also totally misleading. Yes, people watch the BRITs for knock-out musical performances, but also they tune in for the high probability of lewd acts, celebrity train wrecks and bizarre acceptance speeches.
Ever since Mick Fleetwood co-hosted the ceremony in 1992—bringing performers out at the wrong times and forgetting to air a clip Michael Jackson recorded specially for the night—UK residents have been tuning in just in case something goes wrong. And usually, they get what they want.
We've rounded up and ranked the five strangest moments from the BRIT Award history. See if anything equally bananas happens this year and watch the show in the U.S. on Fuse tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 11:30/10:30c, right after the season premiere of Big Freedia.
7. Mumford & Sons Denied Entry to Own BRIT Award After Party (2013)
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.
6. One Direction Give Advice to Jailed Justin Bieber (2014)
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.
5. Björk’s Succinct, Senseless Acceptance Speech (1998)
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, Bjork, 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.
4. Ronnie Wood Throws Beer at Drunken DJ (2000)
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 below.
3. Liam Gallagher Hurls Oasis’ Award, Mic at Audience (2010)
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."
2. Adele Flips the Bird After Her Acceptance Speech is Cut Short (2012)
Just 20 seconds into her 2012 acceptance speech for British Album of the Year, Adele was cut off to make time for Blur's show-closing performance. When she realized what was happening, she took matters into her own hands and gave the show's producers a special "thank you." Can't say we blame her!
1. Jarvis Cocker Flashes His Bum at Michael Jackson (1996)
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 below). That's British cheek for ya, guv'na.
HONORABLE MENTION: Making a Mockery of Rick Astley Before It Was Cool (1988)
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" and perhaps realizing their poor judgment at the last minute, the producers had the Who play out the televised broadcast before he even got to the podium to give an acceptance speech.