2017 marks the 40th year of the Brit Awards and although disregarded by many, they remain a significant point in the British music calendar.
This year, like the previous six, the ceremony will be held at London’s 02 arena, with the show presented by Dermot O’Leary and Emma Willis, the first female host since Kylie in 2009. The duo replace Michael Buble, who had to pull out to spend more time with his son Noah, who is suffering from liver cancer.
Alongside the awards themselves, many look forward to performances from their favourite artists. This has been a long tradition at the Brits, with notable performances from the Spice Girls, Kanye West, Coldplay and Florence and Dizzee Rascal, as well as Adele’s show stopping rendition of Someone Like You back in 2011.
As usual, the nominations for each category provide some surprises, however this year seems to be more diverse than ever.
Best British Artist Video:
One of two categories voted for by the public, this category kicks off proceedings. Previous winners include Oasis, Blur and Robbie Williams, but this year the contenders include: Adele’s Send My Love (To Your New Lover), One Direction’s History and Coldplay’s Hymn For The Weekend.
British Breakthrough Artist:
The other category voted for by the public, this is a prestigious award which often sets the precedent for bands and artists in the months and years following their win. Past winners include: Catfish and The Bottlemen, Duffy and Stereophonics. This year, the competition is tight, with Stockport band Blossoms and Skepta, leader of the past year’s grime wave, both nominated.
British Album of the Year:
Possibly the biggest award of the night, British Album of the Year awards both the artist’s creativity and the talent of the team behind them. Past victors include: The Verve’s Urban Hymns, Arctic Monkeys’ AM and Oasis’ mighty (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? Arguably, this year’s stand out picks from the category are The 1975 with I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It and Blackstar, the last offering from the great David Bowie.
Best Female Solo Artist:
Former winners include Paloma Faith and Adele, as well as Emilie Sande and Ellie Goulding, who are also nominated this year.
British Male Solo Artist:
It is testament to Skepta and his pivotal role in the emergence of grime into the mainstream in the last year that he is sits in this category as well as British Breakthrough and British Album. Konnichiwa is sure to have taken the attention of the critics, however since his death, David Bowie’s Blackstar has be launched into the sphere of the greatest albums of all time.
Brits favourites Bastille and Little Mix fly the pop flag in this category, whilst The 1975 and Biffy Clyro, who have both had incredible years, inject the rock. Radiohead continue to immerse into the realms of legend, and announced for this year’s Glastonbury, can they take the award?
— BRIT Awards (@BRITs) February 20, 2017
Previous winners of Best British Single include Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Blur’s Parklife, Wannabe from the Spice Girls and Adele’s Hello, so the decision isn’t to be taken lightly. This year’s category seems to be swamped with pop, with standout songs like Little Mix’s Shout Out To My Ex and Calvin Harris’ This Is What You Came For taking the lead.
International Female Solo Artist:
This year’s category is a family affair, with both Beyonce and Solange Knowles nominated. Although Beyonce seems to be the favourite, with her arguably career defining Lemonade receiving huge success, Rihanna, Sia and Christine and the Queens all pose considerable threats to Queen B.
International Male Solo Artist:
The death of the hugely influential Leonard Cohen may mean, like David Bowie, he is favourite to take the award. However, both Drake and The Weeknd have continued to grow this year, with Drake’s Views nominated for two Grammys.
Past winners include Tame Impala, Green Day and The White Stripes. This year, Brit favourites Kings of Leon are up against the likes of Twenty One Pilots and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
— BRIT Awards (@BRITs) February 16, 2017
The ceremony is live on ITV at 8pm on Wednesday.
By Natalie Rees