By Ian Youngs
Music reporter, BBC News, at the Brit Awards
The Brit Awards have honoured the biggest and best in music from the UK and beyond. Duffy led the winners with three prizes - but there is more to the Brits than the awards.
On a night of joy and disappointment, off-guard celebs and over-the-top appearances, who were the real winners and losers at Earls Court?
MOST EMOTIONAL ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
Duffy fought back tears as she accepted her third award of the night, for best British album.
Duffy was a gracious winner of her three awards
She had been getting more and more emotional with every award and seemed endearingly chuffed to have won.
"Woah. I'm going to keep it together for this one, but thank you so much," she said.
"I just want you to know that for the record I travelled this whole country, from Wales to London and back 1,000 times, playing my songs to old ladies who are probably watching the TV tonight saying they heard some of my songs. So thank you to the British public. I can't tell you what this means after five years."
MOST CANDID ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
Girls Aloud were very pleased to win best single
In a night lacking rock 'n' roll controversy, it was left to a manufactured pop group to veer off the back-slapping script. "Can I just say - it's about time!" screamed Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding, before adding: "I think I just wet myself."
The girls seemed delighted to have won best British single for The Promise - their first Brit.
Take That descended from the ceiling on a UFO-style platform
Take That descended from the planet Manpop, an exotically exclusive world inhabited by a race of chiselled creatures wearing nerdy eyewear.
They appeared above the crowd at Earls Court standing atop a UFO and spreading a message of peace and love through the language of power balladry, before disappearing back into the heavens.
Why? Because it was more interesting than standing on the ground and singing? And maybe because they were having a pop at/making an affectionate gesture towards their former mate Robbie Williams, a well-known alien-spotter.
BEST GLORIOUS REUNION THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN
Robbie Williams didn't jump out of the centre of the UFO in an alien suit, hug all his former bandmates and announce he was rejoining the group. An appearance with the boys - alien suit or no - would have been a genuinely interesting moment on a night of lots of big names but few surprises.
Lady GaGa joined Brandon Flowers and The Pet Shop Boys
A tough category, but it has to go to "outrageous" US singer Lady GaGa's porcelain bikini.
Tough to tell if it was real porcelain, but the pants, vest, hat and elbow pads she wore to accompany the Pet Shop Boys during their greatest hits medley were unfathomably designed to look like Delft Pottery, a cross between skimpy lingerie and a set of breakfast crockery.
She narrowly beat Matthew Horne and James Corden's "trucker trannie" look - the red silk gowns, thigh-high leather boots and plastic red headgear they wore to accompany Kylie on Can't Get You Out Of My Head.
MOST OUT-OF-PLACE NOMINEE
Seasick Steve busked at Earls Court tube station before the ceremony
Seasick Steve, the (roughly) 68-year-old US blues singer, looked lost as he wandered among the posh suits at the posh tables with a denim jacket, baseball cap and shaggy grey beard.
It wouldn't be a surprise if any record company execs tossed some small change his way, if they have any left, and he would have been ejected had he not been nominated for best international male.
He looked more comfortable busking outside Earls Court tube station before the ceremony than among the industry's great and good.
This was a closely contested award. Kings of Leon probably pulled it off, after 12 months that has seen them rise from indie middleweights to true rock heroes.
Runners up: Take That, Gok Wan, U2, David Hasselhoff, Coldplay. In that order.
MOST INAPPROPRIATE QUESTION FOR THE RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC DAVID HASSELHOFF
"Are you up for a bit of a drink later on, David?" Elbow singer Guy Garvey asked during a live TV interview backstage.
"I'll leave the drinking to you," replied the Hoff.
CRAIG DAVID AWARD FOR BIGGEST LOSERS
Coldplay were up for four awards, but came away with none.
That's pretty disappointing for a group who had the world's best-selling album of 2008, at a ceremony that largely rewards commercial success.
MICK FLEETWOOD AND SAM FOX AWARD FOR HOSTING
James Corden (left) and Matthew Horne co-hosted with Kylie Minogue
OK, Kylie Minogue, James Corden and Matthew Horne weren't that bad.
Except when they started growling at each other for no apparent reason.
The rest of the time they were actually quite good. They struck the right balance between loveable and risque, with Kylie the glamorous foil for the Gavin and Stacey pair's prime-time playtime smut.
MOST OVERBLOWN INTRODUCTION
"Two young men whose talents have literally taken this country by storm." Kylie on Jamies Oliver and Cullum, who presented the best British male award.
BELLE & SEBASTIAN AWARD FOR BEST FAN CAMPAIGN
Iron Maiden were named best live act, the result of a public vote. Their massive fanbase mobilised to make sure they triumphed over Coldplay, Elbow, Scouting For Girls and The Verve.
There was a Facebook campaign, and various metal magazines urged their readers to vote. "Anyone who's been to one of our shows knows that they're the most passionate and devoted fans on the planet," said the band when they were nominated.
MOST EASILY AVAILABLE CELEBRITIES
On the running order handed out to the press, two award presenters were listed as TBC. These turned out to be Blur's Alex James and Aussie singer Natalie Imbruglia.
Despite having won four Brits with Blur in 1995, James didn't seem to realise he had to wait until clips of all the nominees had been played before announcing the winner.
He announced that Duffy had scooped best British breakthrough while the clips were still playing, then stood silent when the cameras went back to him.