Cast your mind back to the time when the BRIT Awards made for enjoyable and entertaining television. Some of you reading this blog might even be too young to remember such a period in history, but anyone who saw them before the early 2000s might know what I’m talking about here.
For example, in 2000, a heavily drunk DJ Brandon Block appeared on stage convinced he’d won an award – much to the chagrin of Ronnie Wood who was up there at the time receiving one. The two men almost ended up having a fight and had to separated by security. Or there was the time Michael Jackson’s performance in 1996 got stage crashed by Jarvis Cocker.
These weren’t the most dignified moments in the show’s history, but they were memorable. Whereas I can’t recall a single moment from the show over the past decade or so. And something else which has changed over the years are the show’s categories.
One category which ran from 1994 to 2004 was Best British Dance Act. The category has been brought back this year after several others were either merged or scrapped altogether – otherwise, the whole show would have been over in 20 minutes. And the five nominees for the 2022 awards are… Becky Hill, Calvin Harris, Fred Again, Joel Corry and singer RAYE.
Yes, these are really the most exciting names the panel who chooses these things could conjure up. The list consists of a singer who can’t decide what she is and was allowed to leave her contract with Polydor Records after having a Twitter tantrum, a man who’s worth £220million and only released three songs in 2021, and another man who started his career on reality TV show Geordie Shore and whose songs nearly all appear to be collaborations.
It’s a far cry from what the category used to look like. In its halcyon days in 2000, the nominees were Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, Jamiroquai, Leftfield and winners The Chemical Brothers. And even in 2004 – the year of its demise – the category’s nominees consisted of Goldfrapp, Groove Armada, Kosheen, Girls Aloud and winners Basement Jaxx. Girls Aloud possibly excepted, these are all acts which made significant contributions to the world of dance music.
Can the same honestly be said of the likes of RAYE, Calvin Harris and Joel Corry? Back in the day, I used to play records by all of the named acts in the BRIT Awards – the house remixes of Jamiroquai songs often became as well known as the originals. It’s true that I played the early works of Calvin Harris – but he lost touch with his roots a long time ago.
Whereas I have never played a single Joel Corry track. And having seen his “performance” of one of his songs at the end of the end of a BRIT Awards preview show on ITV last night, I can’t say I’ll be rushing to the download stores to grab his work.
If this is really the best the BRIT Awards can do, it might be time to stick this zombie category firmly back in the coffin. And nail the lid down shut this time…