Past events have featured some truly stand-out names: Dionne Warwick, Janet Jackson, Jay Z. Tonight is more about the young and the up-and-coming - oh, and Craig David.
Hosted by the DJs Nelson and Sarah-Jane Crawford, the standard throughout is consistent, the pyrotechnics startling and the performances glossy.
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There are moments when the arena comes roaring to life - Tinie Tempah brings the party, as does Fuse ODG, in spectacular style, with the shamelessly celebratory Azonto, and Naughty Boy - but there are other times when the crowd chatter relentlessly. This is most noticeable during the opening of double winner Laura Mvula's impeccable set; she begins on piano for Sing To The Moon, beautiful and under-appreciated.
Iggy Azelia, the first hip hop produce of the Australian town Mullumbimby, brings her special brand of fun and smut.
But the most affecting performance of the night comes from Jahmene Douglas, covering Emile Sande's Next To Me, complete with gospel choir and a determination to visit a record number of octaves. What this says about modern music, that an X Factor winner stole the show, is a question for another day.
Stephen Lawrence's mother, Baroness Lawrence, receives a genuinely respectful response as she makes her acceptance speech and it is moving to think of the references to the awards being 18, Stephen's age when he was killed.
And then the night ends with a simultaneous bang and whimper. So Solid Crew, newly reformed and gearing up for a comeback tour, brings the curtain down in chaotic style.
A performer from the inaugural awards might have been more appropriate but this was a night celebrating not only music, but youth.