Welsh singer Duffy has scored a Brit Awards hat-trick, picking up three prizes including the coveted statue for best British album.
The 24-year-old fought back tears as she accepted the award, saying it was the result of "five years' work".
Duffy was also named best British female and won the British breakthrough award at the ceremony in west London.
Elbow were named best British group, Girls Aloud won best British single and Paul Weller took best British male.
Accepting her British female award, Duffy said: "It's a real honour to be here. British female - I don't know what that means, but it's a good job my mum didn't have a boy."
Kylie Minogue hosted the show with James Corden and Matthew Horne
I Kissed a Girl singer Katy Perry flew into the UK to pick up best international female despite being ill.
She said: "I'm so sick right now, but they said to show up to the Brits because something special might happen... Obviously I've worked pretty hard because I want to die now."
This year's stage had a music festival theme, with the stars performing under a giant Glastonbury-style pyramid, flanked by cows, a caravan and a tipi.
Overnight viewing figures looked weaker than for last year, when performances by Amy Winehouse and Sir Paul McCartney pulled in an average of 6.3 million viewers. This year, the audience peaked at 5.7 million.
Irish rockers U2 opened the show with a performance of their new single, Get On Your Boots. A heavily made-up Bono told the crowd it was "good to be back".
Hosts James Corden and Matt Horne then appeared, dressed in red skirts and thigh length boots, as backing dancers as co-host Kylie Minogue sang Can't Get You Out Of My Head.
Veteran singer Paul Weller, who beat Will Young, Ian Brown, James Morrison and The Streets to win best British male, was not at the ceremony.
Girls Aloud celebrated their first ever Brit Award
He accepted the award from singer Adele in a pre-taped video, saying: "I'm sorry, I can't be there tonight but thank you very much for this award."
US rockers Kings of Leon won two awards - best international group and best international album.
Dressed in suits, they collected the first from former Neighbours star Natalie Imbruglia, joking that "it was not just for our good looks - it was for our music as well".
The best British live act, chosen by listeners of BBC Radio 2, went to heavy metal legends Iron Maiden.
They were a no-show and thanked their fans in a video, standing in front of their huge skeleton mascot, Eddie.
Singer Bruce Dickinson said: "We couldn't keep this entire show on the road without our fans. They're the people that keep this band alive."
Take a tour around the Brit Awards after-show bash
He added: "And I do hope that Eddie doesn't get too jealous."
Another absentee was Kanye West, who received the best international male award. He joked that he was taking his new title literally, claiming "in every nation I'm the best male".
He added: "That means if you go to a club, and you're a girl, and you're looking for a male, and you see me, you now have the best."
Best British group went to Elbow, who can add the Brit to the Mercury Prize they won for their album The Seldom Seen Kid last year.
Receiving the prize from David Hasselhoff, they paid a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the former Baywatch star.
Singer Guy Garvey joked: "You will not believe how long it has taken to get this close to the Hoff - but it's worth it."
The Pet Shop Boys were joined by Brandon Flowers and Lady GaGa
Viewers voted throughout the show for the winner of best British single, which went to Girls Aloud for The Promise.
A clearly delighted Sarah Harding screamed: "Can I just say, it's about time."
The Pet Shop Boys received an outstanding contribution award and closed the show with a medley of greatest hits including Go West, West End Girls and Always On My Mind.
They were joined on stage by US chart-topper Lady GaGa and The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers.
Flowers, who presented the award, told how he was one of the group's greatest fans and once chose Pet Shop Boys over The Smiths when he only had enough cash for one album.
Former Suede star Bernard Butler had already been named producer of the year for his work on records by Duffy and Black Kids.
Meanwhile, Florence and the Machine received the Critics' Choice prize for new talent.
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