Published Wednesday, 20 February 2013
Taylor Swift took to the stage to present the night's first trophy, handing the British Female Solo Artist prize to Next To Me hitmaker Sandé, who gushed: "Wow this feels amazing. This is incredible."
She later returned to the O2 Arena stage to claim the award for British Album for Our Version of Events, and called herself "a very unlikely pop star" in her acceptance speech.
Sandé was pleased to finally get up onstage at the BRITs after she was denied the chance to accept her Critic's Choice Award at last year's ceremony due to time constraints.
Another singer who finally got the chance to make a full acceptance speech was Adele, who scooped the British Single award for Bond theme Skyfall.
She was unable to attend the ceremony as she is currently in Los Angeles rehearsing for her performance at the Oscars on Sunday, so she sent a pre-recorded message which included a jab at BRITs bosses, who cut her off while she was accepting the 2012 British Album prize.
She said: "Thank you so much for this BRIT award. Sorry I can't be with you tonight because I'm in LA rehearsing for the Oscars. I don't want to keep you too long because I don't want to interrupt the Best Album speech at the end of the night."
Other no-shows at the ceremony included Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, who left his bandmates to pick up the British Live Act trophy, and The Black Keys, who asked Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl to accept the International Group prize on their behalf.
It was a huge night for rising singer-songwriter Ben Howard, who scooped both British Breakthrough Act and British Male Solo Artist honours - and performed at the show.
Other performers included One Direction, who debuted their new charity single One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks), a mash-up of Blondie's hit and Teenage Kicks by The Undertones, by performing on top of a giant pinball machine. The boyband stars didn't leave empty-handed - they received a special new prize called the Global Success Award in honour of their extensive worldwide record sales.
Taylor Swift performed a highly theatrical rendition of her song I Knew You Were Trouble, starting the set in a long, flowing white gown which was ripped off to reveal a racy and revealing black number underneath. Pop star Justin Timberlake also sang during the show, along with Robbie Williams, Mumford & Sons and Sande, who closed the show with a medley of hits.
Rock group Muse kicked off the show with a pyrotechnic-packed performance of their anthem Supremacy.