Brit AwardsThe Brit Awards are annual United Kingdom pop music awards, considered to be on a par with the Grammys in the United States. The awards were founded in 1977 as the Britannia Awards and were renamed The Brit Awards in 1989.
Strong music industry sponsorship and involvement mean that awards are given without much democratic process and, many suspect, for strongly commercial reasons. These are awards given by the music industry to the music industry. Robbie Williams pointed this out accepting an award a few years back, and winners over previous years have included artists who haven't charted for some time (the nominations for Best Female Vocalist in 2003 included Alison Moyet, for example, who has not had a chart or album hit for many years). However, more recently the awards have more reflected the tastes of the record buying public with an artist needing to prove popular and chart-topping before they are rewarded.
The Brit Awards used to be broadcast live until in the late Eighties Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood hosted a shambolic show in which just about everything went wrong - lines were fluffed, bands miss-cued, and airtime filled with embarrassing silence. After this the show was recorded and broadcast the following night. This worked in the programme-maker's favour when, during a Michael Jackson performance in 1996, Jarvis Cocker from the band Pulp invaded the stage in a comedic protest at Jackson's messianic performance. There have been many such notable instances, including several UK politicians presenting awards and being heckled (and, in the case of John Prescott, having water thrown over him, at the 1998 awards, by Chumbawamba vocalist Danbert Nobacon ) and a remarkable performance by The KLF in 1992.
There's a classical music Brit Awards show too.