Class acts but no surprises at last night's Brits

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The Independent Culture

There was no mistaking that the crowd were in two camps - those of JLS and Lady Gaga - at last night's Brit awards. The former delivered a spectacularly thumping version of their ever-popular Beat Again, which took on a new dimension with a tougher bass, and the latter similarly delivered a brilliant performance, betraying a rather powerful and beautiful voice before her performance, that could easily lend itself to old-fashioned soul. Her main attraction though remains her ability to command a brilliant piece of stage theatrics, although it would be god to hear more from this softer side in future; this was one Lady definitely worthy of the three BRIT awards she took home.

Most of the awards were predictable (Lily Allen finally notched up a statue), with the British Breakthrough Act nominees reading like a Who's Who of an '09 festival line-up by numbers. Florence Welch and Dizzee Rascal's mash-up of You've Got The Love and Dirty Cash was not overly original, but was impressive all the same. Alicia Keys and Jay-Z performing Empire State Of Mind got a London-based crowd roaring support for New York, and delivered one of the most impressive, confident and powerful performances of the night.

It was disappointing, however, that Cheryl Cole's homage to Michael Jackson was more convincing than her much-anticipated performance. Overall an enjoyable night with strong performances but few surprises.