Over 3 million people watched this year’s Brit awards, bucking a trend that has seen the music award ceremony slip in viewership every year for the past six years. ITV says an average of 3.3 million people watched Saturday night’s two-and-a-half hour show, with viewership peaking at 3.9 million. Last year, an average of 2.7 million people watched, a drop of 200,000 from the 2021 broadcast. This year’s viewership is roughly in line with the most recent pre-pandemic broadcast – 2020’s ceremony, which pulled in 3.8 million viewers – but is still a far cry from the ceremony’s late-90s and early-2000s peak.
This year’s ceremony was held on a weekend for the first time in the show’s 45-year history; broadcast live from London’s O2 Arena, the show was hosted by comedian Mo Gilligan and featured performances from Harry Styles, Sam Smith and Kim Petras, Stormzy, Wet Leg and Lizzo, among others.
Styles was the night’s big winner, taking home the trophies for British album of the year, for his album Harry’s House; British artist of the year; song of the year, for his single As It Was; and best pop/R&B act. In his speech for the gender-neutral artist of the year category, he shouted out a handful of female artists, including Florence + the Machine and Charli XCX, seemingly in reference to the fact that no women had been nominated for the award.
Other artists who won multiple awards on the night included Wet Leg, an indie band from the Isle of Wight who broke out with their debut single Chaise Longue, and Beyoncé, who won the awards for international artist of the year and best international song.
In addition to the controversy over the artist of the year category, this year’s Brits were seemingly plagued with technical difficulties, with ITV failing to censor a joke about drug use from actor Daisy May Cooper, and replaying Adele’s 2022 performance of I Drink Wine due to a fault with Smith and Petras’s stage equipment.
Writing about the ceremony, Guardian chief pop critic Alexis Petridis said this year’s show was unlikely to solve “the Brits’ most obvious problem” – declining Gen Z viewership. “We live in an age when pop’s primary audience of teens and young twentysomethings simply aren’t going to sit down and watch a two-and-a-bit-hour award ceremony on live TV,” he wrote. “Viewing doesn’t work like that any more.”