Adele Flipped Off the Producers of the BRIT Awards, Not Her Fans

Adele hopped on the M.I.A. bandwagon by flipping the bird at the BRIT Awards last night. But what really happened?

Adele Flipped Off the Producers of the BRIT Awards, Not Her Fans

Adele hopped on the M.I.A. bandwagon by flipping the bird at the BRIT Awards last night. But what really happened?

-Lucia Peters


Awards season giveth and awards season taketh away—especially when it comes to acceptance speeches. It’s no secret that awards shows are as much a race against time as they are a celebration of fantastic artistic achievement, and to put it simply, that sucks. The really unfortunate thing is that the biggest awards are always given at the end of the night—usually when the shows are already pressed for time and running over. This means that, invariably, the people who win those awards constantly get cut off while giving their acceptance speeches.

This is what happened to Adele last night at the BRIT Awards when she won the coveted award of Album of The Year. She started her speech… and then she had to end it almost immediately because of time constraints. So what did she do in response? She flipped the bird, of course. Watch it here:

Now, here’s what makes it a little different from M.I.A.’s bird-flipping at the Super Bowl: a) It had a purpose, and b) It wasn’t aimed at the audience or her fans. According to the BBC, the “Rolling in the Deep” singer said after the fact, “I flung the middle finger. That was for the suits at the BRIT Awards, not my fans. I’m sorry if I offended anyone but the suits offended me.”

And I get that. I really do. Was it the right thing to do? Maybe not, but at the same time, I don’t think it was really the wrong thing to do, either. Sometimes, all it take to get heard is one simple gesture—even if that gesture happens to be considered socially a rude one.

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There’s another bit to the tale which sets it further apart from the Super Bowl incident: ITV, which aired the event, actually issued an apology to Adele, rather than trying to blame her or everyone else for it. Here’s the statement ITV released: “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.”

So at least there’s that. It’s a good statement in that it acknowledges that the issue was about time, but still offers a pretty heartfelt apology to her for having had to cut her off in the first place. I have respect for that; it was handled well.

You know who I really  feel bad for, though? James Corden. For those of you who don’t know who James Corden is, he’s a British actor and comedian who is probably most well known for his appearances in The History Boys, Britcom Gavin ad Stacy, and (of course!) Doctor Who. He also happened to be the host of the Brit Awards, and as such, he’s the one who had to do the actual cutting off. Poor guy. How awful must it be to have to cut off Adele in the middle of an acceptance speech for one of the most important British popular music awards? In his defense, there’s really no “good” way to cut someone off, but he handled it as gracefully as he could. Moreover, he wasn’t happy about having to do it in the first place. After the show, he said “I don’t understand quite why I was made to [cut her short]. I was having the best night of my life and then I had to cut Adele off before she’s even had the chance to say thank you. She’s the biggest star in the world. I don’t understand what happened, but I’m upset about it.” He added, “Blur played for 11 minutes and she didn’t the chance to say thank you once.”

What I can’t really wrap my head around is this: If time at awards shows is always such an issue—and the producers know that it’s going to be an issue—then why the heck doesn’t anyone ever try to police the lengths of the speeches throughout the night? I mean, really: If you manage to keep everyone to a decent length right from the get-go, then you’ll come pretty close to solving the whole problem. Early winners won’t be able to waffle on for ten minutes, meaning that later winners won’t get cut off after 2 seconds. Yes, it may still mean cutting people off, but at least it evens the field a little and gives everyone an equal amount of time for speechifying.

Ah well. First world problems, right? Let’s finish up by applauding all of the winners of the BRIT Awards. Bravo! See the full list of winners here.

Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.

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