Adele tipped to make Brits return
Chart-topping star Florence Welch has shown she was also number one in the glamour stakes at the Brit Awards as she became pop royalty in a dazzling gown.
The singer landed two trophies at the glitzy event when she collected the best British female award as well as the big title of the night best album for 21.
But a rambling acceptance speech by earlier winner Damon Albarn meant she was barely able to deliver a speech and she gestured with her middle finger in frustration on-stage. Adele, 23, said the insult was aimed at "the suits", after show host James Corden interrupted her to wind up her words.
The success for the British singer followed a colossal win at the Grammys little over a week ago when she was the toast of the music world with six trophies. As she collected the best album prize for 21 - which has sold almost four million copies in the UK - the breathless star gushed: "Nothing makes me prouder, yeah, than coming home with six Grammys, then coming to the Brits and winning album of the year. I am so so proud to be British and to be flying the flag and to be in the same room as all of you."
But seconds later Corden had to apologise as he forced her triumphant speech to end in a whimper. The star - who made a show-stopping comeback performance with hit Rolling In The Deep earlier in the show - then made her rude gesture. A fortnight ago, British singer M.I.A. caused controversy in the US when she too used the insult during a show with Madonna at the Superbowl.
Backstage Adele explained: "I flipped the finger but it wasn't to my fans. I'm sorry if I offended anyone but it was the suits that offended me. Thank you all very much and thanks to my fans. I don't want them to think I was swearing at them."
Time appeared to run short when Albarn spent several minutes thanking people who had helped rock act Blur as the band collected their outstanding contribution prize. Adele was forced off to allow the quartet to perform a set of big hits.
The night's other big winner was Ed Sheeran who also collected two awards. He landed best British breakthrough and beat stars such as Professor Green and Noel Gallagher to take best British male. Sheeran - whose hits have included Lego House and The A Team - thanked his manager Stuart Camp who he said was responsible for turning the "spotty, chubby, ginger teenager into the person up here tonight".
Adele could have had a third prize but was beaten to the title of best single by heartthrob group One Direction for their track What Makes You Beautiful. The X Factor heartthrobs - who came third in the ITV1 contest - landed the prize in a public vote.
Coldplay took the best British group title for a third time, following wins in 2001 and 2003. It was their seventh Brit in total. Bruno Mars took the best international male prize, while Rihanna collected the best international female for the second year running. Lana Del Rey fought back tears and thanked her record label in Germany as she collected her Brit Award for best international breakthrough. Foo Fighters were named best international group.