They try, don’t they, the BRITs. Each year, they try their darnedest to put on a show that will generate hype and headlines, desperately trying to live up to the far more prestigious Grammy Awards that take place just before. Unfortunately, the hammy, cringe-inducing and often downright dull BRITs pale in comparison to their American cousin year after year. This isn’t helped by bland and predictable lists of nominees while The Grammys consistently offer a far more comprehensive overview of the current music landscape.
Until this year, that is. For the first time, The BRITs shortlist is genuinely exciting, including a diverse and far-reaching host of names that represents the best of both British and international music. The Grammys, meanwhile, have opted for fairly safe choices in their mainstream categories – and made some pretty glaring omissions too. The BRITs have a chance to position themselves as a far cooler alternative to The Grammys, but whether they’ll seize this opportunity remains to be seen. After all, it’s far easier to give Ed Sheeran five statuettes than listen to everything the UK churned out over the last year. So here’s who will win, and who, in any just world, would take home to kind of coveted prizes in 2018.
BRITISH ARTIST VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Nominees: Anne-Marie – ‘Ciao Adios’, Calvin Harris Ft Pharrell Williams/ Katy Perry/ Big Sean – ‘Feels’, Clean Bandit Ft Zara Larsson – ‘Symphony’, Dua Lipa – ‘New Rules’, Ed Sheeran – ‘Shape Of You’, Harry Styles – ‘Sign Of The Times’, Jonas Blue Ft William Singe – ‘Mama’, Liam Payne Ft Quavo – ‘Strip That Down’, Little Mix – ‘Touch’, ZAYN And Taylor Swift – ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’
Who will win: ‘Sign of the Times’ – Harry Styles
Who should win: ‘New Rules’ – Dua Lipa
One of two awards currently open to the public vote, this has nothing to do with artistry and everything to do with the loyalty of one’s fanbase. While ‘Sign of the Times’ was one of the defining hits of 2017, its video was (dare we say it) kind of boring, despite some aerial acrobatics. Lipa’s stylishly choreographed and tastefully designed ‘New Rules’ on the other hand, was nothing short of a modern masterpiece. Unfortunately, the sheer weight of Styles’ fanbase will tip this in his favour, though as long as Liam Payne keeps his grubby mits off the prize, we’ll be happy.
BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH ACT
Nominees: Dave, Dua Lipa, J Hus, Loyle Carner, Sampha
Who will win: Dua Lipa
Who should win: Dua Lipa
An example of The BRITs taking on board last year’s controversy over the shortsightedness of its nominees, British Breakthrough Act is this year’s most exciting category, shedding light on some incredible homegrown talent. It would be great to see either Loyle Carner or J Hus win on the strength of their impressive debut albums, but Dua Lipa will undoubtedly snatch the prize for her unlikely but hugely deserved takeover of 2017.
BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST
Nominees: Ed Sheeran, Liam Gallagher, Loyle Carner, Rag’N’Bone Man, Stormzy
Who will win: Ed Sheeran
Who should win: Stormzy
The BRITs have a weird tendency to award major stars years after their heyday, (see the likes of Bowie and Weller), so there’s a slight chance they’ll throw a curve ball and give this to Liam Gallagher. That said, it would be a major coup if Sheeran lost out. His last album, as poor as it was, has had the monumental success very few achieve in their whole careers. And as much as we’re not that keen on Sheeran, we’d much rather see him get the gong than Rag’N’Bone Man. The real winner, of course, should be Stormzy, who single-handedly dragged grime music back into the mainstream without diluting his sound for the sake of sales.
Nominees: Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Haim, The Killers, LCD Soundsystem
Who will win: Foo Fighters
Who should win: I just don’t care
The winners of the international categories are largely dictated by who turns up on the night. Foo Fighters are scheduled to perform at the ceremony, ergo, they’ll scoop the prize.
INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST
Nominees: Alicia Keys, Björk, Lorde, P!nk, Taylor Swift
Who will win: Lorde
Who should win: Björk
While Taylor Swift has had the most commercial success of the nominees, The BRITs like to prove they’re not totally predictable (which ironically has become entirely predictable), by going for someone with a bit of edge. That’s why critically-acclaimed Lorde will bag the prize. She’s a worthy winner, but Björk, who released the incredible Utopia last year, would be a more deserving and left-field choice.
INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST
Nominees: Beck, Childish Gambino, DJ Khaled, Drake, Kendrick Lamar
Who will win: Kendrick Lamar
Who should win: Kendrick Lamar
Despite their good relationship with Drake, the BRITs are keen to show they’ve undergone something of a woke revival in the last year, making a Kendrick win inevitable. It’s unlikely he’ll attend though, so we can look forward to a bemused thank-you VT instead of the heavier speeches he saves for the American award shows.
BRITISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Nominations: Dua Lipa – ‘Dua Lipa’, Ed Sheeran – ‘÷’, J Hus – ‘Common Sense’, Rag’n’Bone Man – ‘Human’, Stormzy – ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’
Who will win: ‘÷’ – Ed Sheeran
Who should win: Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa
On the strength of its ludicrous success, there’s no doubt The BRITs will award Sheeran the biggest prize of the night for his third album ÷, a shame given the strength of the other nominees. J Hus, Stormzy and Dua Lipa would be worthy winners, but there’s just no competing with the numbers Sheeran’s racked up over the last 12 months.
Nominations: Calvin Harris Ft Pharrell Williams/ Katy Perry/Big Sean – ‘Feels’, Clean Bandit Ft Zara Larsson – ‘Symphony’, Dua Lipa – ‘New Rules’, Ed Sheeran – ‘Shape Of You’, J Hus – ‘Did You See’, Jax Jones Ft Raye – ‘You Don’t Know Me’, Jonas Blue Ft William Singe – ‘Mama’, Liam Payne Ft Quavo – ‘Strip That Down’, Little Mix – ‘Touch’, Rag’n’Bone Man – ‘Human’
Who will win: Little Mix – ‘Touch’
Who should win: Little Mix – ‘Touch’
First up, although ‘Sign of the Times’ wasn’t a great song, it’s a travesty it wasn’t nominated when Liam Payne’s dreadful ‘Strip That Down’ was. Annoyingly, there’s every chance he’ll win it, too. But if justice prevails, it’ll be the oft-overlooked Little Mix who’ll take the prize, their mighty track ‘Touch’ being one of the best British singles in recent memory.
Nominations: Gorillaz, London Grammar, Royal Blood, Wolf Alice, The xx
Who will win: The xx
Who should win: Wolf Alice
The toughest category to predict, this one really could go to any of the nominees. The xx feel like the kind of cool fringe band The Brits like to associate themselves with, but given their fondness for awarding long-standing acts too, there’s every chance Gorillaz will be a surprise win. But Wolf Alice, who played a blinder with their masterful sophomore album Visions Of A Life, deserve to triumph, especially given the raw energy of their raucous live shows.
BRITISH FEMALE SOLO ARTIST
Nominations: Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware, Kate Tempest, Laura Marling, Paloma Faith
Who will win: Dua Lipa
Who should win: Kate Tempest
Dua Lipa will walk this, but Kate Tempest deserves a look in for the thoughtful, intelligent rap of her latest album Let Them Eat Chaos. While she’s the most deserving winner, it’s hard to begrudge Lipa’s upcoming win, the pop star riding high on a wave of goodwill that shows little sign of subsiding.