The first edition of the BBC Music Awards saw Pharrell Williams and Ed Sheeran steal headlines.

Unsurprisingly, two of the most commercially successful artists in the world took home awards at the ceremony at Earl’s Court in London on Thursday evening. According to many onlookers, the awards were introduced this year to allow the BBC to rival ITV's coverage of the BRIT Awards, not themselves due for another two months.

Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams was the big winner at the inaugural BBC Music Awards on Thursday night

Only four categories were up for grabs, and Pharrell Williams won the two prizes for which he was nominated. Firstly, he beat Taylor Swift, Prince, Dolly Parton, Gregory Porter and Lorde to win International Artist of the Year, and also scooped the prize for Song of the Year for ‘Happy’, in which he edged out nine other massive hit singles from the likes of Coldplay, Sam Smith and Clean Bandit.

The song, from the soundtrack to the hugely popular movie Despicable Me 2, became the UK’s most downloaded track in September this year, demonstrating its enormous appeal and commercial shelf life. Even though it was released in 2013, its dominance continued pretty much unabated throughout 2014.

Ed Sheeran’s success story in 2014 was given an extra veneer when he took home the prize for British Artist of the Year. His second album X has now sold over 1 million copies in the UK, and has performed strongly in the United States as well.

The final category, the BBC Introducing Award given to an emerging artist, was won by Welsh indie-rock outfit Catfish & The Bottlemen. The show was mainly about the live performances, as just about every artist who was nominated got a turn on stage during the evening.

The two hour ceremony was closed by a rendition of ‘God Only Knows’ by Tom Jones, Paloma Faith and a 200-strong choir courtesy of the BBC Philharmonic. The inaugural annual show was presented by BBC Radio’s Fearne Cotton and Chris Evans.

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