Pop rockers The 1975 win big at Brits

British band ‘The 1975’, Matthew Healy, Ross MacDonald, George Daniel and Adam Hann pose on the red carpet on arrival for the BRIT Awards 2019 in London on February 20, 2019. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP)

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Pop rockers The 1975 stole the show at British pop music’s annual celebration on Wednesday, winning the coveted Best Album Brit award with US singer Pink also honored.

The Manchester four-piece claimed the prize for their raw number one album  “A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships” ahead of Florence + The Machine and indie singer George Ezra.

The band also claimed the best British group award — speaking out against misogyny in their acceptance speech — before performing “Sincerity Is Scary” for the thousands packed into the London’s O2 Arena at the 39th annual ceremony, which recognized Britain’s top talent of 2018.

Australian A-lister Hugh Jackman kicked off proceedings in a blaze of Hollywood razzamatazz, performing “the Greatest Show” from the hit musical “The Greatest Showman” accompanied by scores of gravity-defying dancers.

British singer-songwriter George Ezra collects his British Male Solo Artist award during the BRIT Awards 2019 ceremony and live show in London on February 20, 2019. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

George Ezra was the night’s early winner, taking the Best Male Solo Artist award, beating off competition from garage pioneer Craig David, veteran avant-garde techno producer Aphex Twin and soul singer Sam Smith.

He followed up by performing upbeat summer chart-topper “Shotgun”, shortly before 21-year-old soul diva Jorga Smith was named best female solo artist.

US superstar Ariana Grande and hip-hop giants Drake and The Carters — comprised of power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce — scooped the international awards, with the latter sending a video thank you message in front of a regal painting of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

Dua Lipa, the big winner of last year’s Brits, made a show-stopping performance as part of a superstar collaboration with hit producer Calvin Harris and singer Sam Smith.

Rising star Anne-Marie, who shot to fame as the vocalist on Clean Bandit’s worldwide hit “Rockabye”, was nominated for four awards, including for the Britney Spears-inspired video to “2002”, but left empty-handed.

US singer-songwriter Pink performs during the BRIT Awards 2019 ceremony and live show in London on February 20, 2019. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

‘This is all too much’

Multi-million record selling US artist Pink closed out the show with a medley of hits after being presented the outstanding achievement award recognizing her 20-year career.

“This is all too much, my dad’s really excited,” she told the crowd. “It’s beyond anything my brain can comprehend. It’s been an awesome journey.”

The Brit Awards have recognized the cream of British pop music since they were first held in 1977.

The British music industry contributed £4.5 billion ($5.8 billion, 5.1 billion euros) to the UK economy in 2015, and British artists accounted for one of every eight albums purchased worldwide.

© Agence France-Presse