With only five weeks to go, it looks like the Brit Awards have no host.
Canadian crooner Michael Buble was due to present – but that’s been in doubt since his three-year-old son Noah was diagnosed with cancer last year.
At the time, the distraught singer cancelled all future engagements, saying he was determined to focus on caring for his eldest child.
So, who could take the helm at the O2 Arena on 22 February? Here are a few suggestions…
ANT AND DEC
Ant (stands on the left, a bit wacky), and Dec (stands on the right, giggles) were hardly at their best when they hosted the Brits last year.
The nadir was the moment when Ant “mistakenly” appeared on stage in a dress. Because a man in a dress is hilarious, right?
Coming so soon after a video tribute to androgyny-embracing pop lizard David Bowie, it felt particularly dated.
But with a better scriptwriter they’re a safe pair of hands – and, crucially, able to draw a big audience.
Back in 2008 when Katy Perry was a relatively new and untested pop star, she took the helm of the MTV Europe Music Awards in Liverpool and totally stole the show.
Cheeky and energetic, she kept the event moving at a frenetic pace, racing through 10 costume changes and more than a few memorable moments. “Girls. Just a reminder,” she said, while riding on top of a giant banana. “It’s not how big the banana is – it’s how you sit on it.”
With new music to promote in 2017, could the star be coaxed into a repeat performance?
MEL AND SUE
If only so they can go: “On your marks, get set, DRAKE!”
By hiring Michael Buble, the Brits were making a statement of intent: we want some showbiz, and we want a host a global audience will recognise. Adele is one of the only other stars that fits the bill.
In many ways, Adele is the Brits. From the stop-you-in-your-tracks performance of Someone Like You to the moment last year when she tearfully accepted an award from Tim Peake in outer space.
She’s funny, she’s charismatic, and there’s 0% chance she’ll do it. Which will be a relief for the person who works the bleep button.
He’s already winning the Brits Icon Award, so they won’t need to book an extra cab.
His propensity to go off-script might cause organisers a few headaches – but a double-header with his bff Olly Murs would be worth tuning in for.
Before he swanned off to become a US chat show host, Corden presented the Brits five times (including a stint with Kylie in 2009). He stood down three years ago, telling the Radio Times he didn’t want to outstay his welcome.
“There are award shows where it actually becomes a plus that it’s hosted by the same person,” he said. “But the Brits should always have an energy about them that is fresh and new and exciting.”
But imagine if the whole Brits ceremony was an extended episode of Carpool Karaoke? No pizzazz, no fireworks, no music industry “suits” – just a rotating cast of megastars in the passenger seat, with Corden fishing the occasional trophy out of his glove compartment.
TV Gold. But, seeing as he’s already presenting the Grammys a week before, extremely unlikely.
The Brits have often looked to comedians to provide a bit of frisson – notably Russell Brand, who outraged (some) viewers in 2007 with his references to the Queen’s “naughty bits” and Amy Winehouse’s drinking problem (“her surname’s beginning to sound like a description of her liver”.)
Of the current crop of stand-ups, Jack Whitehall has both the profile and the requisite irreverence. His UK tour might get in the way of rehearsals but, by coincidence, he has a day off on 22 February.
In the year that grime took over the Brits, Julie Adenuga would be a brave but bold choice.
The Beats 1 DJ is one of the genre’s biggest champions (as well as being sister to three-time nominee Skepta) but eminently knowledgeable about music from all walks of life. Apple Music is also sponsoring two of the awards – best British male and best British female – so there’s also a commercial reason to use one of their presenters on the night.
However, she’s untested as a live TV presenter, so unlikely to make the cut.
JOSEPH FIENNES DRESSED AS MICHAEL JACKSON
On second thoughts, no.
X Factor host and hot buttered crumpet Dermot O’Leary makes live television look like a walk in the park – when in reality it’s a race through a field full of knives, on one leg, in the dark, tethered to an excited donkey.
Amazingly, he’s never presented the Brits, but given his role as a new music champion on Radio 2, he’s a perfect fit.
Big Brother host Emma Willis did a great job fronting the Brits nominations show on Saturday night, attracting a respectable 1.6 million viewers to ITV.
She told the BBC she was planning to watch the main ceremony from the audience – but if the call comes, she can recreate her favourite ever Brit moment, when “Cat Deeley flew in on a champagne bottle” in 2004.