Party Of The Week: The Brit school of awards

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The Independent Culture

Once symbolic of the eclecticism present in the UK music market – the meeting point, as it were, of Jarvis Cocker's buttocks and Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" – the Brit Awards these days tend to be dominated by mainstream pop-rockers and graduates of the Brit stage school.

Appropriate then, that the guests at this year's televised nominations party should be a camera-friendly mix of well-groomed pop stars, stripe-shirted executives, and the odd skinny-jeaned TV presenter for good measure.

The evening rolled out like a well-coordinated school assembly, with guests free to roam the Roundhouse Theatre when cameras were off, but kept firmly in check while recording took place. BBC presenter Fearne Cotton presided over events, diamante-clad and perched on a podium like a left-over Christmas fairy.

She kept guests abreast of the running order: when we were being filmed, when we weren't, when the bar was open, when a performance was about to begin. She was joined by a succession of celebrity guests – including Cheryl Cole, accompanied by Girls Aloud sidekick Kimberley Walsh, and up-and-coming singer VV Brown.

The highlight of the evening were the live performances. "Next big thing" Florence and the Machine showed to be a cut above the army of "quirky" female soloists tipped for 2009. Less compelling was Australian soloist Gabriella Cilmi, whose earlier appearance had sent a drift of smokers out on to the terrace. Last up was indie-pop band Scouting for Girls, whose peppy smash hit "She's So Lovely" managed to get the crowd dancing.