Adele's Brit Awards Gesture: Why Britain Turned A Blind-eye


After a triumphant night at the Grammy awards, photos of Adele began to circulate, cradling her six gramophone-shaped awards in her arms like newborn babies. Earlier that night, her performance of 'Rolling in the Deep' had the entire audience on their feet for a standing ovation. The year before, she had achieved pretty much the same feat at the Brit awards, with her stunning performance of 'Someone Like You.'

Her final Grammys speech was far from an elegant one; clearly overwhelmed by repeatedly hearing her name called out throughout the evening, by the time she won Album of the Year, she was a teary wreck, sobbing gratefully into the microphone. The gathered audience, the majority of whom were Stateside natives, politely overlooked her loud announcement of "oh, I've got snot" as a result of her exuberant crying. Whether or not she was expecting a laugh was unclear but a collective decision appeared to have been made to simply carry on clapping as if she'd never said it.

Adele. 2012 Brit Awards held at the O2 Arena - Winners Board.. London, England - 21.02.12.
In fact, it would seem that the 23 year-old London-based singer, with the broad London accent and powerful singing voice, can do no wrong, right now. Having equalled Beyonce's Grammys-in-one-night record, the young star has all but been proclaimed as the single-handed saviour of the UK economy and is now a bonafide National Treasure. In fact, it would come as no surprise if this time next year, copies of 21 are available from Tourist Information offices around the country, instead of the usual high street outlets. And William and Kate are probably starting to question their decision to have Pixie Lott sing at their wedding reception last year.

So last night, as Adele's acceptance speech for Album of the Year was cut short and she flipped her middle finger to the world, another collective decision was hastily made to turn a blind eye. The organisers of the Brits went one step further - presumably to prevent the new Queen of British pop from declaring war on the music and TV industry - and issued an apology to her, explaining that the decision had been made to cut her speech, as the live show had overrun. After all, Adele's important, but she's not more important than the News At Ten.

Adele. performing live at the Paradiso. Amsterdam, Netherlands - 08.04.11.
Somewhere in the world, Mia will have watched this and scratched her head, thinking. 'hang on a minute. where did I go wrong?' Because it was that very same middle-finger salute that landed Mia in some seriously hot water when she flipped the bird during Madonna's Super Bowl performance. Mia was threatened with fines, whereas Adele gets an apology and, in the words of today's Reuters report (February 22, 2012), has "TV executives running for cover." Adele, of course, can get away with it because she is A National Treasure. She sings about heart-break and loss in a format that we can sing along to and that radio DJs can play all day long. She rose, like a phoenix from the flames, from her vocal cord surgery, to sing another day. And she saved the British economy. Single-handedly.

Mia, on the other hand, isn't a national treasure in her own country, let alone the United States. She makes controversial videos about ginger people getting culled (Ed Sheeran would have been cowering in the corner of the room, had Mia been flipping the bird at the Brits last night). She also makes skittery pop music about Tamil nationalism and ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Perhaps if Adele had shown the middle finger at the Grammy Awards, the response would have been a different story. In fact, it almost definitely would have been. But then, the Americans know how to keep an awards ceremony running on time and didn't have Damon Albarn's lengthy speech of gratitude to contend with. Adele has, at least, confirmed that it was not her fans that she was 'saluting' with her middle finger, but 'the suits.' That's probably about as politicized as Adele is likely to get at this stage of her career. It seems that there are times that the people of Great Britain are willing to overlook the fact that someone has just made a rude gesture on TV and this was one of them. Presumably, though, she's just been crossed off the list for next year's Super Bowl entertainment.

Contactmusic

Tags: Adele - Beyonce Knowles - Pixie Lott - Mia - Madonna - Ed Sheeran - Damon Albarn

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Comments

B_journo's picture

B_journo

MIA giving the middle finger at the Super Bowl didnt make an impact in the UK either. British media reported the incident but it doesn't have the shock factor that it did in the US. Check out previous Brits Awards alot of the musicians who collect awards have been drunk or sworn, so Adele gestures was nothing new. it has nothing to do with preserving a 'Bitish Treasure'. If she had acted like that at the Royal Variety or on a children's show then people would have reacted differently. But it was after the watershed (9pm mark on TV which means shows contain adult content) and on a show known for stars behaving badly. Actions are taken differently in different countries - British TV is much less rigid than US stars swear all the time on it it isn't any big deal.
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B_journo's picture

B_journo

Wow, this is one of the worst pieces of 'journalism' I have ever read. Apart from making incredibly sweeping and inaccurate statements - do you really think one artist can single-handedly save a developed countries economy? You really believe one recording artist has the monetary pull to influence an entire countries economy? You have also completely misunderstood the entire situation. If you compare the British reaction to the Adele situation and to the MIA incident they were practically the same - no one was really offended. The US media was offended by MIA the British weren't. Also you are talking about two completey different shows and audiences - The Super Bowl is a family show - the Brits definitely isn't. Adele's gesture came after the 9pm watershed (Allowing adult content on British TV including swearing) and was on an award show that is notorious for artists being drunk, swearing and doing controversial things. The gesture also was not as obvious as MIA's who swore directly into the camera. Adele gestured at the crowd to the side - she did not aim it at anyone it was just to generally show her feelings. I'm pretty sure that if MIA got up to collect the award and was cut off in the same way then made the same gesture she would be treated exactly the same way by the British media and public. Why on earth are you trying to make it a bigger issue than it is? Why are you bringing race and ethnicity into it? Stop trying to create controversy where there isn't any. And get your facts straight - I'm pretty sure tourist information centres (which provide information on local sites like churches and castles as well as transport timetables) don't sell music.
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