Entertainment & Arts

Classic Brit Awards: Michael Ball and Alfie Boe have to share a trophy

Michael Ball and Alfie Boe Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Michael Ball and Alfie Boe pretended to make off with the Brits statue on the red carpet

Michael Ball and Alfie Boe have revealed they only received one statue when they won best group at this year's Classic Brit Awards.

"You will have to rip it out of my cold dead hands," Ball teased his partner backstage, as he clutched the trophy.

The duo scored then pretended to make off with one of the oversized prop statues that decorated the red carpet.

Other winners on the night included teenage cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and veteran singer Dame Vera Lynn.

Dame Vera Lynn, 101, said she was "surprised and very happy" to receive a lifetime achievement award, which her daughter accepted on her behalf.

Virginia Lewis-Jones read out a letter from the wartime singer, which reflected on her career.

"I never imagined when a small child growing up in East Ham that I would be able to travel around the world as I have done, and seen and experienced so many interesting places and to meet so many interesting people."

Meanwhile, Kanneh-Mason followed up his performance at the Royal Wedding by winning two categories - male artist of the year and the critics' choice award.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Kanneh-Mason's debut album reached number 11 in the UK charts

The 19-year-old, who came to prominence when he won the BBC's Young Musician contest in 2016, dedicated the prizes to his parents.

"Having music lessons and going to concerts and travelling around takes up a lot of time and energy - especially as my parents have seven children who are also all doing the same," the musician told the BBC backstage.

"So I'm just grateful for the time and dedication they've given to all of us."

Ball and Boe also picked up the best album award for Together Again, their second collection of duets.

"There is only one way I can thank this man publicly," said Ball on the stage, before turning to Boe and kissing him on the lips.

The singer and Radio 2 presenter told BBC News that winning the prize was "genuinely one of the most thrilling moments I've had in my career.

"And to share it with a mate is fabulous."

The ceremony - hosted by Classic FM presenters Myleene Klass and Alexander Armstrong - marked the return of the Classic Brit awards after a five-year hiatus.

Other winners included Tokio Myers and Renee Fleming, while Andrew Lloyd Webber and Andrea Bocelli received accolades for their services to the industry.

Performers included mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins, in her first televised performance since the birth of her second child.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tokio Myers - who won the breakthrough award - with Amanda Holden

Former Britain's Got Talent winner Tokio Myers, who was named breakthrough artist of the year, said he hoped his win would inspire young people to "explore a side of music they might not normally listen to for themselves".

The sentiment was echoed by saxophonist Jess Gillam, who picked up the Sound of Classical award, which recognises up-and-coming artists.

"My passion is to reach as many young people as possible," she said. "You have to try and encourage them to come to concerts [because] a CD or recording isn't the same as experiencing that electric feeling of live music."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Singer Katherine Jenkins was among the attendees
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Myleene Klass co-hosted the ceremony

Brit Awards chief executive Geoff Taylor expressed pride at the diversity of the winners.

"It's wonderful to see great icons such as Dame Vera Lynn and Andrea Bocelli being rightly honoured but also very encouraging to witness a new wave bristling with talent.

"With such exciting new artists, classic music is evolving and embracing the opportunities that the streaming era offers to connect with new fans."

Image caption Dame Vera Lynn is the first and only centenarian to earn a Top 10 on the Official Albums Chart

Speaking to BBC South East Today about her lifetime award, Dame Vera said it was "lovely" to still be acknowledged after "all these years".

She expressed surprise because it has been a long time since she has recorded new music or performed in public.

"That's something from the past unfortunately, but it's still nice to know that I'm remembered," she said.

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