George Michael tribute at Brits 2017 leaves fans in tears - before Chris Martin brings the house down

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Andrew Ridgely, George Michael's former Wham! bandmate, was joined by Pepsi and Shirlie on stage at the Brit Awards to deliver a moving and heartfelt tribute to the star who died over Christmas.

“On Christmas Day 2016, the greatest singer-songwriter of his generation, an icon of his era, and my beloved friend, George Michael was lost,” Ridgeley said.

Pepsi DeMacque, Andrew Ridgeley and Shirlie Holliman give a tribute on stage to George Michael at the Brit Awards Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

“A supernova in a firmament of shining stars had been extinguished and it felt like the sky had fallen in. It started out ordinarily enough. In 1975 we were two boys who happened to share a mutual sense of humor, a love of life-affirming music, the artists and record it gave birth to, and a shared sense that we understood it.”

“We always knew George was destined to become a star in his own right,” added Pepsi. “His voice was stunning, pitch-perfect, and his performances spell-binding. George, Andrew, and Shirlie changed my life by choosing me to join Wham!”

Shirlie, fighting back tears, added:“Anyone who asked for George’s help eventually got it ... George was like a brother to me and I always be so proud of his incredible achievements.”

Their eulogy was followed by an appearance from Coldplay's Chris Martin performing George Michael's 1986 number one hit A Different Corner, complete with taped vocals from the late star. 

The Telegraph's Alice Vincent, reporting from the O2, described Martin as a "brave" choice: "Arena very moved by the emotional memories from George Michael's Wham collaborators and video montage, what a Brits tribute," she wrote.

"While Chris Martin was a brave choice - especially following Adele's Grammys tribute, his voice was somewhat outshined by recordings of Michael. But I don't think he was brought in for virtuosity, but feeling - Martin managed to silence a room of 20,000 people with his raw rendition of I Swear."