2021 Brit Awards: five things you need to know ahead of the live event on Tuesday

The ceremony will be held in London in front of an audience at the O2 Arena

The Brit Awards 2021 will be more of a restart than a recap for the UK music industry.

As well as highlighting important releases and artists from the past year, the London ceremony, taking place on Tuesday, is set to be one of the first major music events held in the UK with a physical audience.

It will include performances by Coldplay, Dua Lipa and The Weeknd, while a record number of women have been nominated for the marque award of British Album of the Year.

More than the glitz and glamour, however, this year's ceremony aims to put the UK music scene back on the map after a quieter year.

Here are five things you need to know about the event.

1. There will be an audience

No more award shows resembling intimate cocktail parties.

The Brit Awards is going all out this year. It will take place at London's O2 Arena, home to numerous concerts by nominees, including Coldplay and Dua Lipa.

While the venue is able to hold up to 20,000 people, the ceremony will welcome a maximum of 4,000.

All attendees are required to take a rapid diagnostic test (a nose or throat swab similar to a PCR test) within 36 hours before the event, followed by a PCR test on the day of the ceremony and another test five days after.

Once the pre-show tests return negative results, attendees will gain access to the venue and take their seats, with no social distancing requirements and no face cover required.

Masks, however, will need to be worn at all times in communal areas of the arena, including the concourse and toilets.

2. Who will perform?

The last time the arena welcomed a concert crowd was in March 2020 for a show by US rapper Nelly.

The venue aims to roar back to life with a dazzling display of British star power through live performances by Dua Lipa, Rag'n'Bone Man Man, Arlo Parks, Headie One and Griff.

Two of the biggest performances, however, were reportedly pre-recorded outside the arena.

Coldplay will showcase new single Higher Power on a pontoon on the Thames, while Canadian star The Weeknd is filming his contribution from North America.

3. Who is nominated?

The Brit Awards has faced criticism over the years for a lack of gender diversity amid its nominees. Dua Lipa called out organisers on stage when picking up the 2018 award for British Female Solo Artist, and last year the ceremony faced a backlash because of the all-male shortlist for Album of the Year.

The feedback has been heard and this year there's an unprecedented four female nominees for Album of the Year. Singers Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware, Arlo Parks and Celeste are joined by rapper J Hus in the running for the night's biggest prize.

RnB singer Lianne La Havas also joins the four women for the British Female Solo Artist nod.

Best British Male Solo Artist is a tussle between AJ Tracey, Headie One, J Hus, Joel Corry and Yungblud.

The most intriguing battle of the night will be for British Single, with Dua Lipa (Physical) and Harry Styles (Watermelon Sugar) amid the eight nominees, while Little Mix, 1975 and Biffy Clyro are also up for British Group.

For the non-UK categories, K-pop supergroup BTS, Foo Fighters and Haim are in the running for International Group, while this year's Grammy Awards queen Taylor Swift is joined by Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish as nominees for International Female Solo Artist.

The International Male category has the most eclectic nominees, featuring veteran US rocker Bruce Springsteen, Nigerian Afro-pop artist Burna Boy, US rapper Childish Gambino, Aussie indie group Tame Impala and The Weeknd.

4. Not one, but two awards each

The Brit Awards has an esteemed history with the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Zaha Hadid having designed trophies in the past.

For the first time, this year's commission was given to two designers: London's Es Devlin and Yinka Ilori.

The first and larger statue has earthy colours paying tribute to British designer Ilori's Nigerian heritage. The smaller statue is engraved in a maze pattern that’s meant to illustrate the interconnectedness of UK's creative industries.

With each winner receiving both trophies, Devlin is encouraging recipients to give the smaller accolade “to someone they consider worthy”.

5. Where to watch it from home?

The UK audience can tune in to the ceremony on ITV from 8pm GMT (11pm UAE time), while international viewers can catch the live feed on YouTube.

For more details and a full list of nominees, visit the Brit Awards website.


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