SAM Smith caused more controversy at The BRITs Awards 2023 turning up in an inflated GIMP suit and ‘they’ have been compared to Xi Jinping’s ‘Chinese Weather Balloon’ – minus the intelligence capabilities.
Sam, 30, who identifies as non-binary and goes by the pronouns they/them, shocked BRITs fans when they walked the red carpet in the balloon-style black latex outfit – compared to a GIMP suit and a pair of stacked black platform boots.
Footage of them in the outrageous look, which they sported as they joined celebrity arrivals at The O2 Arena in London for the ceremony on Saturday, was almost immediately turned into memes by fans – many of whom joked he looked like the Chinese Spy Balloon, and a GIMP – and some wondered how they are going to use the toilet.
Others pointed out the similarity between Sam’s look and one sported by David Bowie in 1978 in a look dubbed his “parachute pants” due to the late singer’s balloon-style striped trousers.
Floods of fans ridiculed Sam over the outfit, and some said it made them a “legend”, while others joking they hoped their balloon-style trousers were filled with booze they could down during the event.
The non-binary BRITs have faced a backlash this year – their second with gender-neutral categories – after the best artist list was dominated entirely by men – with Central Cee, Fred Again, George Ezra, Styles and Stormzy featuring.
Sam Smith, who is non-binary and spoke out in favour of genderless categories before the change, said the lack of women on the list shows there is “still a long way to go”.
This was despite an increase in female artists or all-women groups across the board.
Love Island host Maya Jama was among the first celebrities on The BRITs red carpet after she posted a clip of her beauty team spending hours getting her ready for the event.
The ‘Love Island’ host, 28, beamed in a black and gold dress as she arrived for the event at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday afternoon with other earlier arrivals for the ceremony – which will be broadcast live on ITV from 8.30pm – who included Ashley Roberts, Clara Amfo and Roman Kemp.
Earlier in the day, the TV presenter shared a clip of her getting ready for the awards and joked she was a “work in progress” as she was tended to by her hair and make-up team.
Radio 1 DJ Clara, 38, wore a black dress with a dramatic long train and platform high heels, while singer Ashley, 41, wore a flesh-flashing silver dress.
Pop star Talia Storm, 24, also left little to the imagination with a pink bikini outfit.
Comic Mo Gilligan, 34, is returning as The BRIT Awards host for the second year running, with the stand-up saying he is “honoured” to be back for the event.
It’s taking place for the first time in the ceremony’s history on a Saturday, with Harry Styles, Wet Leg, and Sam Smith leading this year’s nominations.
All three are set to perform during the show, with Lizzo, Becky Hill, Cat Burns and Stormzy also due to take to the stage.
The event has caused controversy after it was revealed there are no females nominated in the Artist Of The Year category, which last year underwent a gender-neutral overhaul by scrapping separate male and female categories.
The first gender-neutral award was handed to Adele last year, but in her acceptance speech she pointedly told the audience: “I love being a woman.”
Nominees for Artist Of The Year are Central Cee, Fred again,,, George Ezra, Harry Styles and Stormzy, who are both, along with Fred again.. – real name Fred Gibson – also up for Album of the Year alongside The 1975 and Wet Leg, who are the only female act in the category.
The Song Of The Year category will see Aitch with ‘Baby ft. Ashanti’, Cat Burns with ‘Go’, Dave with ‘Starlight’, and Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John with their festive hit ‘Merry Christmas’ battle it out for an award.
The BRITs with Mastercard is LIVE on ITV1 and ITVX from 8.30pm GMT