Ellie Goulding was visibly shocked when her co-presenter at the BRIT Awards asked a very personal question on live TV.

Presenting the award for Best New Artist at the 43rd annual music ceremony at London’s o2 Arena on Saturday night, Goulding was left gobsmacked by fellow musician Tom Grennan’s surprise question.

Grennan turned to Goulding and in a seemingly unscripted moment, asked the ‘Love Me Like You Do’ singer if her breasts were real.

“I love what you’re doing [with your outfit] … They’re your real boobs?” Grennan asked, pointing at Goulding’s chest.

Goulding appeared speechless for a moment before responding, “These are not … No. These are not mine. I wish. Mine are a lot further apart.”

Grennan’s remark came left of field, particularly when the music video for his 2021 song ‘Little Bit Of Love aimed to tackle “toxic masculinity”.

“This video is a representation of toxic masculinity and unconditional love, told via a story of two brothers,” he said at the time of the video’s release.

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There was already mounting controversy over this year’s BRIT Awards nominations, with not a single female artist recognised in the Best Artist category.

The BRIT Awards went gender-neutral in 2021 in a bid to be more inclusive, and while Adele won the gong last year, this year’s nominations were widely considered a step back in the fight for equality.

A statement on the BRIT Awards’ website said the gender-neutral categories had been introduced so artists were judged “solely on the quality and popularity of their work, rather than on who they are, or how they choose to identify.”

But, it added, organisers “acknowledge and share in the disappointment” of no women making the list.

“A key factor is that, unfortunately, there were relatively few commercially successful releases by women in 2022 compared to those by men,” the statement read.

“Of the 71 eligible artists on the longlist, only 12 (17 per cent) are women.

“We recognise this points to wider issues around the representation of women in music that must also be addressed.”

Harry Styles, Stormzy, Fred Again, Central Cee and George Ezra were nominated for the award, with Styles taking it out along with all four categories he was nominated in.

To his credit, Styles was well aware of the controversy, and acknowledged it in his acceptance speech.

“I’m really, really grateful for this and I’m very aware of my privilege up here tonight,” Styles said, “So this award is for Rina, Charli, Florence, Mabel and Becky.”

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