There were strong performances from Gaga, U.K. rock act Kasabian and the duet between British alt-rock act Florence and the Machine and rapper Dizzee Rascal, while an appearance from Liam Gallagher provided a few welcome moments of controversy.
Following her performance of "Telephone" at the piano and the thumping "Dance In The Dark," a tearful Gaga kept returning to the stage to collect awards - for international breakthrough, international female and international album for "The Fame" (Interscope).
Although the performance, for which she wore a lacy leotard and huge pale wig, was perhaps slightly self-indulgent, Gaga was clearly overwhelmed by her success on the night.
"I was so excited to win the first two but this one [international album] means even more to me because I worked so hard on this album for so long," she said. "My fans were the first people to believe in me." She also thanked Lee McQueen - the given name of the fashion designer Alexander McQueen who died last week.
While Gaga was emotional, comedian Peter Kay was the perfect antidote, although it is actually impossible to translate his comment that Gaga was "New York's answer to Su Pollard" for a U.S. audience. Pollard starred as muddled holiday camp maid Peggy in the British comedy "Hi-de-Hi!" (see YouTube).
Ex-Oasis singer Liam Gallagher collected the award for BRITs Album of 30 Years from Slade's Noddy Holder for "What's The Story Morning Glory?" He then decided to snub brother Noel Gallagher in the acceptance speech and just thank former members of Oasis who departed several years ago when the band was at its peak - "Bonehead, Guigs and Alan White." He then threw the microphone into the audience.
"The best band in the fucking world - live forever," he said, before stalking off stage.
The Spice Girls also won an award for the best performance of the last 30 years, and Mel B and Geri Halliwell collected the award and conspicuously forgot to thank their fellow band mates (they did rectify that later).
The Billboard predictions today were pretty much spot-on: British rock act Kasabian won best British group, U.K. boy band JLS got two awards (British breakthrough act and British single for "Beat Again"), rapper Dizzee Rascal won best British male and Jay-Z snagged the international male award.
Florence and the Machine lost the British female award to Lily Allen, but Florence did win the big award for best British album for "Lungs" (Island/Universal). The duet with Dizzee - a mash up of her version of "You Got The Love" and his "Dirtee Cash" with harpists, a glitter storm and Florence emerging from a giant mirror ball - was also a standout moment that should have looked fantastic on TV.
"I want to thank everyone who bought the album and everyone who liked it," said Florence Welch. "It's been an amazing night. We've had the best time and I hope you have, too."
The duet with Dizzee is available to buy on iTunes in the U.K. from Feb. 17 in aid of the BRIT Trust which supports U.K. charities; Prince Harry also recorded a video message for the Trust, which was received without any of the anticipated anti-royalist jeering from the U.K. music industry.
Robbie Williams got the outstanding contribution award and closed the show with a medley of hits.
The ceremony, organized by U.K. trade body the BPI and sponsored by MasterCard, was broadcast live on ITV1.
BRIT Awards 2010 Winners:
British Male Solo Artist
British Female Solo Artist
British Breakthrough Act
(Winner chosen by Radio 1 listeners)
Florence & the Machine "Lungs" (Island/Universal Music)
(Winner selected by U.K. commercial radio listeners)
JLS "Beat Again" (Epic/Sony Music)
International Male Solo Artist
International Female Solo Artist
International Breakthrough Act
(Winner chosen by MTV viewers)
Lady Gaga "The Fame" (Interscope/Universal Music)
BRITs Album of 30 Years
(Winner chosen by Radio 2 & 6 Music listeners)
Oasis "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" (Big Brother)
BRITS Performance of 30 Years