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Adele takes top prizes in Brit Awards

February 9, 2022

The pop star was the big winner at Britain's annual music awards. Critics feared that eliminating gendered categories would disadvantage female artists — but it didn't.

Adele singing on stage during the 2022 Brit Awards.
Image: Peter Cziborra/REUTERS

Tuesday night's Brit Awards ceremony in London did away for the first time with gender-specific categories, meaning there was no longer best male or female artist, but rather a best artist. 

The organization followed in the footsteps of other major award shows, including the MTV Video Music awards. "It is important that the Brits continue to evolve and aim to be as inclusive as possible," Brit awards chair Tom March said in a statement in November, when the change was first announced.

Last year, leading non-binary artist Sam Smith criticized the prominent British award ceremony for their continued use of gendered award categories. According to Smith, it excludes artists who identify as neither male nor female.

Even though British culture secretary Nadine Dorries said she was concerned that women would not be "fairly represented" following the change, those fears were defied by the results of the evening: Women and female-fronted acts won 10 out 15 prizes.

Among them, Billie Eilish won best international artist, Olivia Rodrigo picked up best international song for "Good 4 U" and rapper Little Simz emerged as best new artist. But the big winner of the evening was pop star Adele.

Little Simz is held up by people while performing during the 2022 Brit Awards.
Many of the performers at the Brit Awards were women, like Little Simz, who also won best new artistImage: Peter Cziborra/REUTERS

Adele remains the queen of pop

Adele won best album for "30," as well as the prize in the hit single category for her soulful track, "Easy on Me," and the top prize: artist of the year.

The pop icon also commented on the gender-neutral category change: "I understand why they changed the name of this award, but I really love being a woman, being a female artist, I do," she said to the crowd in the packed O2 arena in London.

Her hit single won against competition from artists including Glass Animals and KSI, among others. "I can't believe a piano ballad won against so many bangers," Adele said after her name was announced.

Speaking about her album, which saw record sales since its release, she thanked her 9-year-old son, Angelo, and ex-husband, Simon Konecki, dedicating it to them. She had previously stated that the album was made to explain her divorce to her young son.

"This album was all of our journey, not just mine, and I'm very proud of myself for sticking to my guns and putting out an album that was so personal to me — 'cause not many people do that any more. My son has been so kind and gracious and patient with me over the years," said the singer.

The success for the pop icon was a high point after several difficult weeks in which she cancelled her Las Vegas residency.

Ed Sheeran holds up a guitar on stage at the 2022 Brit Awards.
Ed Sheeran won the new best songwriter awardImage: Peter Cziborra/REUTERS

A new category for Ed Sheeran 

Red-headed rocker Ed Sheeran performed not once, but twice in the evening.

Nominated in four categories, he did not win any of those awards, but took home an award in a newly created category, songwriter of the year, which was voted for by an independent panel.

sh/eg (AFP, Reuters)