Welsh singer Duffy swept the BRITs on Wednesday with three awards including the coveted best album prize for “Rockferry,” while English rockers Coldplay were left in the cold with no wins from four nominations.
The prizes seal a remarkable debut for Duffy, a relative unknown just a year ago. Rockferry was Britain’s top-selling album of 2008 and worldwide sales are close to five million.
The 24-year-old, who won a pop vocal album Grammy 10 days ago, also scooped BRITs for British female and British breakthrough act.
“I just want you to know that, for the record, I travelled this whole country, from Wales to London and back again, a thousand times playing my songs to old ladies,” a tearful Duffy told thousands of fans at London’s Earls Court after receiving her third prize.
“So thank you to the British public. I can’t tell you what this means after five years.”
Both Duffy and Coldplay, who performed their single “Viva La Vida” at the ceremony, were nominated for four awards.
After winning three Grammys including song of the year, Coldplay, one of the world’s biggest bands, walked away from the BRITs empty-handed.
The show kicked off with Irish rockers U2’s rendition of “Get On Your Boots,” the first single from their upcoming album “No Line on the Horizon.”
Among the highlights of the night was Take That’s performance of “Greatest Day,” with the group descending on a UFO-type platform into a screaming arena.
Heavy metal is back
In other categories, heavy metal veterans Iron Maiden were the surprise winners of the best British live act award.
Kings of Leon, whose record sales in Britain and Australia eclipse those in the U.S., were the other multiple winners on the night, when they scooped the international group and international album categories.
“We have to give this to England,” said frontman Caleb Followill after receiving the album prize. “If it weren’t for England, Kings of Leon wouldn’t be a band right now. You created Kings of Leon and good luck getting rid of us.”
Katy Perry won best international female act and compatriot Kanye West was named best international male.
“That means in every nation I’m the best male,” he said in a video message.
The British male solo artist prize went to Paul Weller while Girls Aloud won the public vote for best British single with the track they performed on the night, “The Promise.”
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Organizers have highlighted the global impact of British music in 2008, underlined by the flurry of Grammys, the industry’s most coveted honors.
But English artist Robert Plant, former lead singer of Led Zeppelin who picked up five Grammys for his acclaimed collaboration with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, was snubbed by the BRITs, receiving no nominations.
Florence & the Machine won the critics’ choice award while the Pet Shop Boys received an award for outstanding contribution to music, and wound up the show by performing a medley of some of their biggest hits.