THE Darkness proved that rock rules as they scooped three Brit awards.
The spandex-clad band, led by ex-Huddersfield student Justin Hawkins, were last night's big winners at Earl's Court, London, taking home prizes for Best British Group and Best British Album, for Permission To Land.
They were also named Best British Rock Act, a category created especially for them.
Lead singer Justin was in Huddersfield for three years from 1997, when he studied music technology at the Technical College.
Rick Cocker, who was Justin's tutor at the college, said today he was delighted about the awards.
"It's brilliant. They are starting the year very well. It makes up for them losing out in the Mercury awards and not getting the Christmas number one."
It was an amazing treble for the Lowestoft group, who were virtually unknown this time last year and did not even get an invitation to the 2003 Brits awards.
But thanks to their million-selling album they are now megastars and are credited with sparking Britain's rock revival.
They rounded off last night's show with a typically OTT performance of I Believe In A Thing Called Love.
Frontman Justin wore an outrageous feather-trimmed silver catsuit and at the climax of the song was lifted up in the air on a flashing neon column.
Accepting the first award, he said: "This is a real privilege, a tremendous honour and a great achievement. I have to say we probably are the best British group."
The other show-stopping performance came courtesy of Beyonce Knowles. The star looked sensational in a white dress and £250,000 worth of diamonds.
She appeared on stage in a puff of smoke to sing her hit Crazy In Love.
Dido won two awards, Best British Female and Best British Single for White Flag.
The singer was not there to collect them, having cancelled all her public engagements to concentrate on writing and rehearsing for her forthcoming tour.
Other double winners were Busted, who won Best Pop Act and Best British Breakthrough Artist, and Justin Timberlake, who took home Best International Male and Best International Album for Justified.
He joked: "This is awesome. This is only my first record, so you guys stick with me; we've got depression and drug addiction to go through."
Timberlake also presented an award to Duran Duran for outstanding contribution to music.
Last year's alcohol ban was ditched and the motto of the bash was: "The booze is back".
Host Cat Deeley emphasised the point by coming on stage in top hat and thigh-high boots and straddling a giant champagne bottle.
There were performances from 50 Cent, Black Eyed Peas, Busted and Duran Duran, among others, plus a duet from young jazz sensation Jamie Cullum and Katie Melua. Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys and Gwen Stefani teamed up to sing Kiss.
Daniel Bedingfield won Best British Male but did not collect it because he is in New Zealand recovering from a car accident.
Beyonce won Best International Female and 50 Cent was Best International Breakthrough Artist.
Basement Jaxx won Best British Dance Act and Best British Urban Act went to Lemar.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell was due to present the award for British Rock Act to The Darkness, but despite organisers sending a limousine to her home she arrived late.
Singer Jamelia had to take her place.