Last night’s Brits ceremony could well have been the blandest Brits in years. Aside from a frisson of post-breakup tension between Harry Styles and Taylor Swift (who took to the stage wearing a sexy black hot-pant jumpsuit with gold embellishments) there was little in the way of shock, surprises, or backstage gossip (or if there is, it hasn’t made it’s way down to us yet!).

Taylor Swift - Brits

Taylor Swift arrived in a long black dress before changing into her skimpier stage outfit

In fact, the biggest surprise of the night was that the relatively unassuming Ben Howard walked away not only with the British Breakthrough Act but also British Male Solo Artist. For the breakthrough award, he managed to beat Mercury winners Alt-J, pop mega-star and fashion go-to girl Rita Ora, affable troubadour Jake Bugg and fledgling soul star Jessie Ware. All of whom seem to have a little more… je ne sais quoi about them than Mr Howard. That he then went on to take the Male Solo Artist award, over Richard Hawley, Plan B, Olly Murs (OK, the term ‘artist’ can only loosely be applied to Murs, surely?) and Calvin Harris left us with our jaws scraping the pavement. Big news for Ben – still a relative unknown in British pop, though that will surely change with the added exposure that a double Brit win will bring him.

Rita OraBen Howard

Rita Ora (L), didn't win the award, but won in the style stakes, whilst Ben Howard (R) was a surprise double winner

Another big winner on the night was Emeli Sande, who must surely be planning to go into hiding for risk of media overexposure, pretty soon. She landed the British Female Solo Artist statuette as well as the Mastercard British Album of the Year; widely considered to be the major category of The Brits. After the debacle of James Corden cutting off Adele’s speech last year, the singer made sure she was as far away from the comedian as possible this year and sent over a video message thanking everyone for her British Single award. Well, she was busy rehearsing for her Oscars performance, so we’ll let her off. 

Emeli Sande

Emeli Sande, collecting her award from Bryan Ferry