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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 01:43 GMT
Back to basics at the Brit Awards
By Tom Bishop
BBC News website entertainment reporter

KT Tunstall
KT Tunstall added showmanship to her black and white performance
Kaiser Chiefs, James Blunt and Coldplay have triumphed in a solid but unremarkable Brit Awards ceremony.

As the resurgence of UK guitar pop continues, the Brits traded flamboyance and colour for no-nonsense performances and straightforward speeches.

So instead of inventive duets and surprise appearances, performers relived their recent singles until Paul Weller gave the shortest acceptance speech on record and rattled through some of his hits.

Acoustic sets by James Blunt and Jack Johnson, and the fact that host Chris Evans wore a velvet suit that Austin Powers would have been proud of, added to the sense of deja vu.

The night was not completely predictable, however. After accepting his international male award, US hip hop star Kanye West took full advantage of the Brits' hangar-sized Earls Court home.

As he sang Gold Digger, one glittering model after another emerged from behind the stage until no fewer than 77 female dancers lit up the venue.

Sassy performance

KT Tunstall also injected some showmanship and colour, perversely by opting for a black and white theme to her jazzy rendition of Suddenly I See.

After an acoustic introduction, the Scottish star launched into a sassy performance accompanied by monochrome dancers wielding canes, showing why she deserved her UK female solo artist award.

Gorillaz provided the night's most exhilarating set-piece by piling dozens of schoolchildren onto the stage to sing Dirty Harry.

Coldplay and Madonna
Coldplay's Chris Martin (left) accepted their award from Madonna

As the animated band danced in time on giant screens behind them, the children clapped and started to breakdance as Pharcyde rapper Bootie Brown took centre stage. It shouldn't have worked, yet somehow it did.

In comparison, the night's big winners Kaiser Chiefs gave a workmanlike run-through of I Predict a Riot.

Uninspired as they collected their prizes - singer Ricky Wilson admitted: "We have been trying to think of something to say." - two stage invaders provided the entertainment on their behalf.

After an unidentified man rushed onstage to bellow: "I've got my own award, it's better than that!" at them, Kaiser Chiefs' next moment of glory was shared with comedian Vic Reeves who - for no obvious reason - helped them collect their British group trophy.

Poor substitute

James Blunt was pleasant but forgettable, while half-hearted video messages were a poor substitute for the presence of fellow winners Green Day and Arctic Monkeys.

Madonna showed them how to deliver a speech, accepting her international female award by paying tribute to "brilliant British artists" such as Portishead, Pet Shop Boys and Goldfrapp.

She didn't follow this up with a performance, however, leaving the stage to fellow US icon Prince.

Dressed in a white linen suit, his renditions of Purple Rain and Let's Go Crazy were as funky as ever but inexplicable as part of the Brits ceremony, considering Prince's last UK hit arrived six years ago.

Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson's Since U Been Gone was a hit with the audience

The Brit School for Performing Arts students were much more impressed by Kelly Clarkson, who ran among them barefoot while belting out Since U Been Gone.

The reception they gave to the American Idol winner would surely have been shared by UK talent show graduates Girls Aloud and Will Young had they performed.

Instead it was left to Coldplay's Chris Martin to steal the show, going down on his knees, calling Madonna a "superbabe" and jumping to the defence of James Blunt while collected their UK album and single prizes.

"It's hard for us sometimes because we are English and we do not like to admit that we think we are great," Martin said, "so tonight we would like to agree with you for giving us this award."

Hinting that Coldplay would take a break from the limelight, Brit Award organisers will be unable to rely upon them to spice up next year's ceremony.


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