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2020 NME Awards: Taylor Swift Wins Big, Rapper Slowthai Is Kicked Out

Gettyimages | David M. Benett
By Michael Coe

The 2020 NME Awards, an awards show created by the British music magazine New Musical Express, were hosted on Wednesday night at the O2 Academy Brixton in London and plenty of memorable moments occurred throughout the ceremony. Big wins were had by artists like Lana Del Rey and Billie Eilish, appearances were made by music legends like Taylor Swift and Courtney Love, and some dramatic awkwardness was endured thanks to an onstage altercation between Northampton rapper Slowthai and comedian Katherine Ryan.

Gettyimages | David M. Benett

The night was host to plenty of stars from both the American and British music scenes. The most surprising presence was certainly Taylor Swift, who arrived at the ceremonies alongside boyfriend Joe Alwyn to accept her award for Best Solo Act In The World. Swift has won NME Awards in the past but has never attended the ceremonies, which she addressed in her acceptance speech, saying, "I was lucky enough to win one of these awards a couple of years ago, but I wasn’t able to go."

Gettyimages | Dave J Hogan

Swift also joked about the "aggressive" design of the NME award statuette (which depicts a bronze hand giving the middle finger), by saying, "I have this award and I put it in my kitchen, and every single morning when I go down and I wake up, I’ve just got this right in my face, just like a full middle finger putting me in my place, like, ‘good morning!'”

Swift concluded her acceptance speech by thanking the music magazine along with, "anyone who writes about music".

Gettyimages | Jim Dyson

The NME Awards have a reputation for being looser and boozier than your typical awards show, which was evident from the drinks carried in hand by many award recipients. Things may have turned a bit too loose when rapper Slowthai arrived onstage to accept the award for Hero Of The Year. An apparently intoxicated Slowthai began aggressively flirting with presenter Katherine Ryan, pulling her close to him and asking her to smell his cologne. Slowthai then threw his drink and was promptly escorted out of the building.

Gettyimages | Mat Hayward

Slowthai has since apologized in a tweet that reads "i want to unreservedly apologize, there is no excuse and I am sorry. i am not a hero" and asked for his award to be forwarded to Katherine Ryan. Ryan responded in turn, "I knew you were joking and congratulations on your very award-worthy album!"

Other big winners Wednesday night included Lana Del Rey (for Best Album In The World), Billie Eilish (for Best Song In The World), and Courtney Love (for best "Icon"). Del Rey and Eilish were not in attendance but sent video messages thanking the magazine. Del Rey was especially thankful to NME, saying, "you’ve supported me since 2011, put me on my first cover in London...honestly, I was thinking about it, and without you guys, I don’t even know how much music I’d be making."

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