LONDON (Reuters) - Indie quartet Arctic Monkeys triumphed over boy band One Direction to take the best group accolade at British pop's show of the year on Wednesday, an event featuring performances by global stars including Beyonce.
The best album prize was the only head-to-head between Sheffield-born Arctic Monkeys and One Direction, the five-piece band formed in 2010 on the TV singing contest The X Factor.
"There's that fifteen quid we put on One Direction to win down the drain," joked Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner as he received a mohawk-inspired black and white gong designed by milliner-to-the-stars Philip Treacy.
Arctic Monkeys opened the event with their track "R U Mine", in the shadow of giant versions of the letters "AM", flaming and suspended in mid-air, in what was the group's first BRITs performance despite their multiple successes at the event over the last eight years.
"Thank you for the acknowledgement," Turner told London's packed O2 arena in a short acceptance speech.
The band, who in the past have responded frostily to their BRIT wins, are also odds-on favourites to win the coveted best album honour due to be awarded later on Wednesday.
One Direction won the BRITs global success award, joined late on stage by a panting Harry Styles, making up the five-man group. He said he was late because he had been off "having a wee" when the prize was announced.
The band look to be a shoo-in for a second award, the best British video which is being decided by votes on twitter. With 17.8 million followers, dubbed "Directioners", One Direction's support dwarfs that of the other nominees.
Event organisers were counting on an attention-grabbing performance by Katy Perry, arriving in a chariot on stage and clad in a neon Cleopatra outfit, and Bruno Mars's energetic routine, which included dancing saxophonists, to breathe new life into the ceremony which last year failed to impress.
For the first time, the BRITs also has a global audience with YouTube streaming the show live worldwide in addition to the usual broadcast on Britain's commercial channel ITV.
Last year's BRIT Awards were labelled "boring" by singer Robbie Williams, while Christian Tattersfield, current chairman of the BRIT Awards committee, recently admitted in a British newspaper that the 2013 event "lacked superstars".
The BRITs harnessing of twitter reflects the growing digital revenues powering the British music industry. Figures released earlier on Wednesday show that revenues in the UK recorded music sector rose 1.9 percent 730.4 million pounds ($1.22 billion) in 2013. ($1 = 0.5983 British pounds)
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Alistair Lyon)