Mumford & Sons receive the award for British group from Berenice Marlohe on stage during the Brit Awards on Feb. 20, 2013, in London. / Matt Kent/Getty Images
Long derided as dull, the Brit Awards were held on Wednesday with a livelier tone than in years past.
American artists Frank Ocean and Lana Del Rey were among the non-British winners, while Surfing English folk singer Ben Howard and chanteuse Emeli Sande won two awards each. Sande won the album prize, while Howard was named British breakthrough act and British male artist of the year.
Hard rockers Muse opened the show at London's O2 Arena. Other performers ranged from One Direction, who won in the new global success category, topping American artists Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake.
Timberlake, dapper in a tuxedo as he performed "Mirrors," was described by host James Corden, in a nod to Europe's horse meat scandal, as "95 percent beefcake with just a little touch of horse."
Mumford & Sons was named best British group. Coldplay was named best British live act, beating fellow nominees, including The Rolling Stones.
Adele won the best British single prize for her James Bond theme, "Skyfall." The soulful singer sent a message from Los Angeles, where she is rehearsing for Sunday's Academy Awards.
The international male trophy went to R&B star Frank Ocean, who said it was "definitely a long way from working fast food in New Orleans." He was the only winner to thank artist Damien Hirst for creating the polka-dot Brit Awards statuette.
Style standouts included Swift, who performed "I Knew You Were Trouble" in a hoop-skirted white number -- more wedding cake than wedding dress -- that she shed to reveal black undergarments. Jessie J drew attention in a deeply low-cut black dress.
Most of the awards are chosen by more than 1,000 musicians, critics and record industry figures, with several decided by public vote.
And no, in case you're wondering, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles didn't run into each other backstage.
Go here for a complete list of winners.