The 2019 Brit Awards took place on Feb. 20 at The O2 arena in London.

By Phil Boucher
February 21, 2019 01:05 AM
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Meghan Markle stole the show at the 2019 Brit Awards Wednesday — despite being 3,500 miles away in New York.

The appearance of the Duchess of Sussex in a painting behind Beyonce and JAY-Z drew audible gasps and giggles from the audience as the Carters picked up the award for Best International Group in a pre-recorded video clip.

“Thank you so much to the Brit awards for this incredible honor,” Beyoncé, 37, said to the camera. “You guys have always been so supportive. Everything is love. Thank you.”

Yet the Carters were by no means the only act to leave the audience at London’s O2 Arena gasping. Minutes before the show began, a crowd of performers dressed in top hats and tails could be seen gathering behind a giant on-stage video screen.

Hugh Jackman
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Moments later the screen lifted to reveal Hugh Jackman standing at the peak of a pyramid of dancers while singing the theme from hit movie The Greatest Showman, as fire eaters, trapeze artists and acrobats danced all around.

Moving energetically towards the front of the stage dressed in a silver tux, Jackman, 50, gave a faultless performance as eight acrobats performed gymnastics on flimsy lengths of fabric more than 40 feet above his head.

With the song over, the lights dimmed and smoke wafting through the audience, Jackman left the stage high-fiving guests in the front row, beaming from ear-to-ear and waving at fans in the bleachers.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z

The show went on to include performances from Brit award winners George Ezra and Little Mix, plus a quirky yet beautiful set from Jess Glynne with H.E.R., which saw them perform Glynne’s hit single “Thursday” from behind a set of large, circular make-up screens that completely obscured them from the audience — leaving those on the arena floor with little to do but talk to their neighbor over a glass of wine.

This was soon rectified by the triple threat of Dua Lipa, Sam Smith and Rag’n’Bone Man performing back-to-back dance hits with Calvin Harris – not least because the set involved a giant glitter ball suspended high above the arena that turned the venue into one enormous disco.

The entire crowd got to their feet as Harris, 35, ran through “One Kiss,” “Promises” and “Giant.” One notable exception being Shawn Mendes, who scooped the award for ‘least dancing at an awards show’ by basically remaining seated throughout the entire show. The “In My Blood” singer only raised himself to applaud The 1975, as they walked past his stage-side table to collect the award for Best British Group.

Dua Lipa, 23, meanwhile, went to the other extreme. The two-time Grammy winner received a hug from pretty much the entire auditorium after accepting Best British Single with Harris for “One Love.” When she finally reached her table after 10 minutes of back-slapping, Dua Lipa celebrated with a dance to Coldplay’s “Something Like This” as it played over the arena’s speakers and a group photograph with her friends.

She also admitted that meeting her idol Pink backstage had been slightly overwhelming.

Hugh Jackman
Gareth Cattermole/Getty

“I absolutely love her,” she told host Jack Whitehall. “I cried a little bit — but not in front of her. I kind of welled up and then when she was gone, I was like ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe that happened!’”

She added, “You know when people say, ‘don’t meet your idols’? I’m so glad that she’s my idol because she’s the best person ever and it was so nice.”

With the stage firmly set, Pink, 39, then brought the show to a close after receiving the Outstanding Contribution to Music award.

“To be considered in the same category as David Bowie and the Beatles and Sir Elton and Sir Paul and Eurythmics and Fleetwood Mac — it’s beyond anything my brain can comprehend,” said Pink. “It’s been an awesome 20 years. Here’s to 20 more!”

Pink
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She was then rapidly surrounded by a small army of hair, make-up and wardrobe assistants as a circular lighting rig descended from the sky to hide them all from the audience. The rig then rose to unfurl a 40-foot-long black cloak screening the stage. In a sudden twist, Pink then appeared on screen singing from outside her changing room and walking towards the arena in a bathroom, giving the impression that she’d performed a magic trick and stepped backstage.

The sharp-eyed among the audience, however, could see the subtle hint of a pink, feathered tail resting high above the audience where the lighting rig had come to a halt. A couple of minutes later Pink descended from the skies on an aerial ring to sing a medley of her hits, including a surprise duet of her 2012 hit “Try” with Bastille frontman Dan Smith.

The 2019 Brit Awards took place on Wednesday at The O2 arena in London.