Associated Press

London

Retro rockers The Darkness won three honours at the Brit Music Awards, the equivalent of the Grammys, on Tuesday night, and Justin Timberlake and Dido each took two.

The Darkness, a London-based band, won the Best British Group award — defeating Busted, the Coral, Radiohead and the Sugababes — the Best British Rock Act, and the Best British Album for ‘Permission To Land’.

“This is a real privilege, a tremendous honour and a great achievement ... and I have to say, we probably are the best British group,” Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins told the crowd.

The band provided the most outrageous performance at the show, hosted by Cat Deely at Earls Court in west London.

Hawkins wore a feather-trimmed silver catsuit to perform their chart hit “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”. The set had an underwater Atlantis theme and at the climax Hawkins was lifted up in the air on a flashing neon column.

“Wow, two in one night, thank you,” said Timberlake, after winning the Best International Male Award and the Best International Album for ‘Justified’ at the glitzy showbiz ceremony.

Singer Dido won the Best British Single prize for “White Flag”, a love song said to be about her ex-boyfriend Bob Page, and the Best British Female award. The singer missed the ceremony after cancelling all her engagements to concentrate on writing and rehearsing for her forthcoming tour.

Busted also picked up two awards: Best British Breakthrough Artist, beating The Darkness, and the Best Pop Act.

In other awards, the White Stripes was named the Best International Group, American rapper 50 Cent took the Best International Breakthrough Artist prize, and Basement Jaxx won the Best British Dance Act award.

Duran Duran was given an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The group performed a medley of its greatest hits after receiving the honour from Timberlake.

Beyonce beat Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys and Kylie Minogue to win the Best International Female award. She thanked her British fans, saying: “I think of this as my second home.”

The Best British Male Solo Artist award went to Daniel Bedingfield. The prize of Best British Urban Act went to former Fame Academy star Lemar.

The ceremony opened with the Black Eyed Peas performing their hit “Shut Up”. The next performance was from Busted with a cover of “Teenage Kicks”.

But a highlight stage performance came from Beyonce Knowles. The star appeared in a white Roberto Cavalli dress and $4,75,000 worth of diamonds. Introduced by hip hop act Outkast, she appeared on stage in a puff of smoke to sing her hit “Crazy In Love”.

She gasped in mock horror when a cheeky male dancer flashed his Union Jack boxer shorts at her.

50 Cent appeared in a spoof video about the time he was detained by customs officials at Heathrow Airport before coming on stage to perform “In Da Club”.