Music

The 11 Best Collaborations To Ever Happen On Stage At The BRITs

Last night’s performance from Elton John & Olly Alexander joins a long list of legendary BRITs duos.

Olly Alexander & Elton John performing "It's A Sin" at the 2021 BRIT Awards.
JMEnternational/Getty

Between Michelle Obama’s cameo, the NHS choir performance, and Olivia Rodrigo’s handwritten notes, this year’s BRIT awards provided a a night to remember. But for many people, Elton John’s performance with Olly Alexander will be remembered as the standout moment.

The duo – who are known to be fans of one another – performed a cover of the Pet Shop Boys’ “It’s a Sin”, a nod to the Channel 4 series that Alexander starred in with the same name, which followed a group of friends living amidst the AIDs crisis of the 1980s.

The performance opened with an introduction from David Furnish, who revealed that sales from the single would support the AIDS Foundation his husband established in 1990. Then the stage was plunged into darkness with a spotlight on Elton at the piano. Next, Olly appeared, lying across Elton’s piano, wearing a gorgeous lace two-piece. As the lights went up, dancers, confetti, and drag queens filled the stunning, geometric-shaped stage. It was pure joy with a powerful message

In its 43 year history, the BRITs has become renowned for hosting legendary on-stage collaborations, with the Elton x Olly moment joining a long line of prestigious and surprising performances between two musicians. Florence + The Machine and Dizzee Rascal immediately come to mind, as does 2019’s performance from Little Mix and Ms. Banks, but there are so many other collabs we’ve loved over the years. Below is our pick of the best.

Elton John & RuPaul, 1994

Last night’s performance wasn’t Elton’s first iconic BRITs collab. Oh no. This buried gem from Elton John and RuPaul was an actual single in the ’90s, and the duo sashayed their way onto the BRITs stage in 1994 to perform it to the masses.

Diana Ross & Jamiroquai, 1997

Another unlikely duo, Diana Ross and Jamiroquai absolutely slayed their collab with a funky AF version of Ross’s ‘Upside Down’.

Billie Piper, B*Witched, Steps, Tina Cousins & Cleopatra, 1999

I have no recollection of this ever happening either but what better way to pay tribute to ABBA than with a collaboration between Billie Piper, B*Witched, Steps, Tina Cousins and Cleopatra?

Justin Timberlake & Kylie Minogue, 2003

Performing a cover of Blondie’s “Rapture”, pop titans Kylie Minogue and Justin Timberlake totally owned the stage at the 2003 BRITs.

Mark Ronson, Adele, Amy Winehouse & Daniel Merriweather, 2008

Thanks to the collaboration master Mark Ronson, the world was blessed with Adele and Amy Winehouse performing on the same stage, alongside Daniel Merriweather in 2008.

Rihanna & The Klaxons, 2008

Rihanna and The Klaxons were definitely one of the more... unlikely BRITs collabs, let’s say. The Klaxons put an electronic rock spin on “Umbrella” with Rihanna’s flawless vocals and it weirdly works.

Pet Shop Boys, Lady Gaga & Brandon Flowers, 2009

The Pet Shop Boys, Lady Gaga, and Brandon Flowers are all musical icons in their own right so when they joined up for a Pet Shop Boys song medley in 2009 it felt like three musical genres colliding.

Florence + The Machine & Dizzie Rascal, 2010

Florence + The Machine topped the charts in 2010 with “You’ve Got The Love” so how do you make it better? Have Dizzie Rascal remix it and rap the intro live on the BRITs.

Ed Sheeran & Stormzy, 2017

Everything that Stormzy and Ed Sheeran seems to touch turns to gold. At the 2017 BRITs they wowed fans with a performance of “Castle On The Hill.” It’d seem they enjoyed working together as they went on to release “Take Me To London” and “Own It” two years later.

Calvin Harris, Rag’n’Bone Man, Sam Smith & Dua Lipa, 2019

At the 2019 BRITs Calvin Harris, Rag’n’Bone Man, Sam Smith and Dua Lipa remixed three of the hottest songs of the year. The quartet performed “Giant”, “Promises”, and “One Kiss” and made it seem like the songs were seamlessly made for one another.

Little Mix & Ms. Banks, 2019

“Woman Like Me” was one of the hottest anthems to come out of 2019. Little Mix brought it to the BRITs and shared the stage with British rapper Ms. Banks.