The 2021 BRIT Awards took place last night, with viewers being treated to a surprise duet from Elton John and Olly Alexander. The pair covered Pet Shop Boys’ 1987 hit ‘It’s a Sin’ to pay tribute to the incredibly popular Channel 4 show of the same name, and to remind people that the fight against HIV and AIDS is not over yet.
The performance began as a ballad with the Years & Years singer leading the vocals, accompanied by Sir Elton on the piano. They then progressed to a more upbeat, synth version of the song, similar to the original track. Assisted by fabulous stage production, backing dancers, drag queens, and rainbow confetti, the duet captivated audiences, both at home and in person, as London’s O2 Arena welcomed spectators to the event.
Elton John’s husband, David Furnish, introduced the performance and reminded viewers that “by fighting together, we’ve changed the world. Today, HIV is no longer a death sentence.” He continued by saying “The fight goes on until we can banish stigma, ignorance, fear and the virus itself forever.”
A man of many talents, Olly Alexander held a leading role in the record-breaking Channel 4 mini-series It’s a Sin. The show highlighted the devastation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, while simultaneously raising awareness and funds for organisations still working to fight the virus. This cover will also aid that fight, as the pair have released a studio version of the song, with proceeds going to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Another highlight of the award show was Little Mix becoming the first girl band to be crowned ‘Best British Group’. In their acceptance speech, they thanked former band-mate Jesy Nelson, along with other groups such as Girls Aloud and the Spice Girls who had paved the way before them. But perhaps the most important part of their speech was addressing the “white male dominance, misogyny, sexism and lack of diversity” in the UK pop industry.
The ceremony took place as a part of a government-led research initiative, testing how crowds can safely return to events in the age of COVID-19. The live version of the Elton John and Olly Alexander duet is available to view on YouTube, while the recorded version can be found across streaming platforms.
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