Soul singer Adele added to her awards haul at the 2012 BRITs on Tuesday and set the biggest night in British pop alight with a rousing performance of "Rolling In the Deep".
At the start of the evening, Adele picked up the statuette for British female solo artist and finished off proceedings by scooping the coveted best album honor for "21" at the end of a two-hour televised show.
In between, the 23-year-old captivated a packed O2 Arena in her native London with a vocal display that suggested her husky voice was on its way back after surgery on vocal cords late last year which forced her to cancel part of a tour.
Adele sang the same song earlier this month at the Grammys, where she managed a record-equalling six awards in one night.
The only BRIT award she did not win from three nominations was best British single, which went to TV talent show contestants One Direction for "What Makes You Beautiful".
Receiving her album award, Adele said:
"Nothing makes me prouder than coming home with six Grammys, then coming to the BRITs and winning album of the year. I'm so proud to be British and to be flying the flag and I'm so proud to be in the room with all of you."
She was cut off half way through her speech by presenter and comedian James Corden, presumably to squeeze in band Blur's closing set for broadcast.
Still photographs showed Adele making a gesture with her middle finger, although it was not clear whether it was caught on television.
The gesture quickly became a hot topic on social media sites, forcing broadcasters ITV to apologise for cutting the singer's acceptance speech short.
"The BRITs is a live event. Unfortunately the program was over running and we had to move on. We would like to apologise to Adele for the interruption," an ITV spokesperson said in a statement after the show.
A Brit Awards spokesperson also added their apologies to the singer in a post-show statement.
"We regret this happened and we send our deepest apologies to Adele that her big moment was cut short this evening due to the live show over-running. We don't want this to undermine her incredible achievement in winning our night's biggest award. It tops off what's been an incredible year for her."
Blur, titans of 1990s British pop scene, closed the show with some of their biggest hits including "Girls and Boys", "Song 2" and "Parklife". They had just picked up a lifetime achievement honor.
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Coldplay opened the show with "Charlie Brown" from their hit album "Mylo Xyloto", and Florence + The Machine came next with "No Light No Light".
There were brief video tributes to U.S. superstar Whitney Houston, who died on the eve of the Grammys in California, and Britain's "Rehab" singer Amy Winehouse, found dead in her London home last July aged 27.
The most-nominated act this year was Sheeran, the 21-year-old singer/songwriter who was shortlisted for best album ("+"), best single ("The A Team"), best British male solo artist and British breakthrough act.
After singing his acoustic guitar number "Lego House", in a typically understated performance, he picked up two awards -- breakthrough and male solo.
Rihanna, who won the international female award for the second year in a row, got the thumbs up for a high-energy rendition of "We Found Love".
"At times, when I feel misunderstood, my fans reminded me it's OK to be myself," she said, accepting her award.
Lana Del Rey, the "Video Games" singer tipped as an artist to watch in 2012, scooped the international breakthrough act.
"I just want to say that without the support of everyone in this room and everyone in the UK I would really be lost, so thank you," she said.
Foo Fighters were named best international group, Coldplay scooped best British group and Bruno Mars won the international male solo honor.