8 outrageous, wild and WTF things that you might have forgotten happened at the Brit Awards

Sam Smith wears a horned top hat while they sing surrounded by backup dancers during a performance of their song 'Unholy' at the 2023 Brit Awards

The Brit Awards are back tomorrow (2 March), and it’s likely there will be some iconic moments at this year’s ceremony. After all, why break the habit of a lifetime?

This year we can look forward to stellar performances from the likes of Dua Lipa, RAYE, Little Simz and Arlo Parks – not to mention perpetual gay favourite Kylie Minogue who will (rightfully) be presented with a Global Icon award after the huge success of her summer hit “Padam, Padam”.

Clara Amfo, Maya Jama and Roman Kemp will be joining forces as a trio of hosts for the event. Let’s hope that they’re ready for an awards ceremony where, historically, some really wild things have happened.

Here are some outrageous things that happened in previous Brit Awards that you might not remember:

1. Adele getting cut off during her speech

At the 2012 Brit Awards, Adele won Album of the Year for her album 21 – you know, the one with Someone Like You and Rolling in the Deep – and got up to make her speech.

She started off by saying, “Thank you. Thank you very, very much. Nothing makes me prouder than coming home with six Grammys and then coming to the Brits and winning Album of the Year. I’m so so proud to be British and to be flying our flag and so proud to be in the room with all of you.”

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At that point, host James Corden started apologising and cut her off, saying he couldn’t believe he had to do it.

Looking annoyed, Adele then ended her speech with, “Goodbye, and I’ll see you next time round,” before putting her middle finger up.

The awards moved on swiftly to a performance by Blur, who started their set amidst boos from the audience in support of Adele.

2. Robbie Williams challenging Liam Gallagher to a fight

During the 2000 Brit Awards, Robbie Williams challenged the former Oasis lead singer Liam Gallagher to a televised boxing match and a bet of £100,000 during his acceptance speech.

Apparently, Williams was spurred on by Gallagher constantly poking fun at the Take That member.

The boxing match was meant to raise money for the NHS but it doesn’t look like it ever happened – however, Williams has continued to challenge Gallagher to a match up until as recently as 2019.

The pair have an ongoing feud that has spanned over 20 years despite originally being close friends.

3. The Florence + The Machine and Dizzee Rascal collab

Florence + The Machine and Dizzee Rascal were an unlikely collaboration at the 2010 BRIT awards, but the resulting remix was a hit.

They sang You’ve Got The Love and Dirtee Cash together to create You’ve Got The Dirtee Love, which led to massive cheers from the audience.

It was so popular that the pair performed their duet again at Glastonbury and then released it as a single too.

4. Stormzy calling out Theresa May over Grenfell

During Stormzy’s performance of Blinded By Your Grace at the 2018 BRIT awards, he freestyled a verse that called out the then-Prime Minister Theresa May for neglecting the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

While water rained down on him, Stormzy said: “Yo, Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell?”

He added that the government “just forgot about Grenfell, you criminals, and you got the cheek to call us savages, you should do some jail time, you should pay some damages, we should burn your house down and see if you can manage this”.

The performance came after Stormzy won two Brit Awards – one for British Male Solo Artist and one for British Album of the Year for his album Gang Signs & Prayer.

5. The 1975 ‘smoking weed’ underneath their table

Matt Healy from the 1975
The 1975 are considered quite rebellious and have been the subject of several controversies over the years. (Getty)

The 1975’s Matt Healy and George Daniel were allegedly caught smoking weed underneath a table during the 2017 Brit Awards by fellow bandmate Ross MacDonald, who subsequently uploaded a clip of the supposed incident to Instagram.

It doesn’t seem like anyone else noticed though, as the band later appeared on stage to pick up their award for Best British Group.

After causing a stir online at the time, the clip has since been deleted from Instagram.

6. Cheryl saying her safe word is ‘don’t stop’

During the 2018 BRIT awards, Jack Whitehall engaged in a very awkward interview with ex-One Direction member Liam Payne and his then-fiancée Cheryl.

Whitehall mentioned Payne would later be performing his song For You from the film Fifty Shades Freed, and then asked whether he had a “safe word” – a known term in the BDSM community.

Payne laughed and pointed at Cheryl, saying that she would know what it was. Cheryl then responded with, “Don’t stop.”

Whitehall looked shocked and said: “Wow, okay,” and then went to a break. This interview clip is extremely awkward but has the added bonus of Este from the band HAIM sitting in the background and applying her lipgloss very slowly before waving at the camera and mouthing “call me” with a cheeky wink.

Social media users at the time referred to Este as the “mystery drunk woman” as they didn’t recognise her or her band at first.

7. Sam Smith’s raunchy performance causing Ofcom complaints

In 2023, the Brit Awards were the subject of over 100 complaints to the broadcasting regulator Ofcom regarding a risqué performance by Sam Smith.

      Smith performed their song Unholy with Kim Petras, with both wearing black leather outfits along with a crew of backup dancers on a set looking like a creepy “body shop”, another word for garage, like the song says.

      It wasn’t clear what, exactly, about the outré performance led to the complaints, but it could have been the combination of the song’s suggestive lyrics, the performers’ outfits, and a passionate kiss on stage by two dancers.

      8. Madonna takes a tumble

      The Queen of Pop herself was making her first performance at the Brits in two decades in 2015, when just seconds into “Living for Love” she was pulled backwards down a flight of stairs by her backing dancers as they tried to remove her cape.

      The then 56-year-old star’s tumble went viral, with some accusing it of being a publicity stunt, but Madonna denied that and said the infamous Armani cape was tied too tight because choreographers did not want it to fall off.

      How to watch the Brit Awards 2024

      So, what outrageous things will (no doubt) happen at this year’s Brit Awards? You’ll have to tune in to find out. The Brit Awards 2024 are happening this weekend on Saturday, March 2 and will air on ITV1 between 8.30pm and 10.50pm.