Earls Court was pimped out Monday evening to welcome the biggest names in the British and International music scene for the 2010 BRIT Awards (UK’s Answer to the Grammys).  Earls Court’s versatile convention facility that one week houses the UK’s largest beer fest then showcases the latest in baby products the next (and is slated to house volleyball tournaments in the 2012 Olympics) is practically unrecognizable on the inside with the elaborate set designs on stage and opulent table seating for the stars and industry-connected—reserving the upper nose-bleed balcony seats for the regular schmucks like me.  I don’t think a majority of the public realizes that you can, indeed, attend the award show for a mere £75 per person.  Sponsored by Mastercard, when the tickets become open to the public a few weeks before the event, Mastercard holders get priority access for the first week or so before it then becomes a free for all.

And let me tell you, it is SO worth it:  it’s an excuse to get dolled up in the sparkles and bling that you bought for fun but really never have any place to wear, and you can bring your wine or beer right to your seats to sit back and just enjoy the show.  Even for me, whose musical tastes are more alternative than the pop stars the awards seem to glorify, there’s nothing like a live performance—and we all know that sometimes the top mainstream hits we like to pretend we hate are now and then the ones we bust out singing and/or dancing to when we’re alone.  Nothing wrong with indulging guilty pleasures once in a while.

Speaking of performances, the bass was booming in the house and throbbing in my chest when the likes of Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Dizzee Rascal, Florence & the Machine, JLS, Kasabian, Robbie Williams, Lily Allen, and Lady Gaga graced the stage and emitted their total energy through the microphone (I deliberately leave Cheryl Cole off this list as it’s been speculated she was the lip-syncer…there’s always one, isn’t there).  The award presenters in themselves are a treat to see, such as Dame Shirley Bassey (she’s a legend!), the Spice Girls (well, at least Scary & Ginger), comedian Alan Carr, and the gorgeous Cat Deeley (people in the States may know her from So You Think You Can Dance; speaking of guilty pleasures, that show is one of my faves).

Lady Gaga really cleaned up with her 3 awards for International Female Solo Artist, International Album, and International Breakthrough Act.  Her own performance was a bit of a shock—rather than delivering one of her better known hits like “Just Dance” or “Paparazzi,” she shifted gears to sombre, avant-garde renditions of “Telephone” and “Dance in the Dark,” which she dedicated to her friend and fashion designer, the late Alexander McQueen.  Almost as shocking as her towering blond bouffant was the electric orange wig worn by Lily Allen when she accepted her award for British Female Solo Artist—evidently, she was so convinced she wasn’t going to win that she deliberately disguised herself so the cameras couldn’t capture her disappointment if she lost.  She herself had delivered a darling performance of “The Fear” (I could listen to that song set to loop for ages…), reminding me very much of a darker version of Madonna’s “Material Girl” with her black leather leotard and combat soldiers parachuting down holding dainty pink-trimmed umbrellas.  Florence & the Machine’s unlikely pairing with Dizzee Rascal for their duet overlapping Florence’s “You’ve Got the Love” with Dizzee’s “Dirtee Love” was a glimmering spectacle for the eyes, and my other favourite was Jay-Z and Alicia Keys thumpin’ out the edgy urban soundscape of “Empire State of Mind.”

So there’s one more item to add to your list of London Things-to-Do when you move to England.  Look forward to it next February, and, in the meantime, to have a comfortable set within which to stage the performance that is your rockstar life, contact London Relocation Ltd., the London relocation specialists, as your home search provider.

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