Allen caps big year as she leads race for Brit prizes

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The Independent Culture

She is funny, sharp and now officially a major new star. Lily Allen is leading the pack for this year's coveted Brit Awards where she is in the running to take four prizes.

The mouthy 21-year-old daughter of the actor Keith Allen will go head-to-head with another newcomer, Corinne Bailey Rae, for best British female solo artist, British breakthrough act and best British single.

And her debut album, Alright, Still, has made the shortlist for the best British album honour. It is pitted against Back to Black, the second album from another opinionated north Londoner, Amy Winehouse; Black Holes and Revelations, by Muse; Eyes Open by Snow Patrol - the biggest-selling album of 2006 - and Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by last year's breakthrough act, Arctic Monkeys.

The most nominated band is Muse, who are up for three Brit Awards at the presentation ceremony to be held at Earl's Court, London, on Valentine's Day and broadcast live on ITV1. Muse have been nominated as best British group against Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Razorlight and Snow Patrol.

The Devon three-piece retain their reputation for live performance by earning another nomination for British live act in a mixed bag competition including the Guillemots and previous multiple Brits winners, Robbie Williams and George Michael.

The 43-year-old former Wham! star makes the running after a storming return to touring a quarter of a century after his first top 10 hit. His nomination comes a decade after his last win at the Brits.

Other rock veterans to make the list include Bob Dylan, who gets two nods from the voting panel of industry experts.

Jarvis Cocker, the former Pulp frontman, and Thom Yorke, of Radiohead, both earn their first Brits nominations for their solo work.

But it was the younger generation of performers that was commended most highly by industry leaders for the vibrancy of British music at present.

Peter Jamieson, chairman of the British Phonographic Industry, the trade association which organises the awards, said: "The strength of British talent right now is highlighted by the number of debut albums represented in the nominations. Something very powerful and very exciting is happening right now in British music."

The shortlists were unveiled last night at a special Brits launch party where there were performances from Lemar, a British male solo artist nominee, The Feeling, who are on the shortlist for best British single with Fill My Little World, the Fratellis, one of the hottest up-and-coming rock acts, along with the Kooks, and James Morrison, another of the younger British singer-songwriters and a double nominee.

This year's Brit Awards will be broadcast live on television for the first time since 1989. The proceedings will include for the first time a live vote, for best British single. The 11 shortlisted singles will be narrowed down to five by listeners of the hit40uk and The A List chart shows on commercial radio over coming Sundays.

The contenders include Lily Allen'sSmile, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis's A Moment Like This and I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker by Sandi Thom.

Gnarls Barkley, who were responsible for one of the year's best-selling singles, Crazy, secure three nominations in the international categories. Other international stars in the running for honours are Justin Timberlake, Scissor Sisters, Beyoncé, the Flaming Lips and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Oasis are to receive a special award for their outstanding contribution to music.

The nominations

British Male Solo Artist

James Morrison

Jarvis Cocker

Lemar

Paolo Nutini

Thom Yorke

British Female Solo Artist

Amy Winehouse

Corinne Bailey Rae

Jamelia

Lily Allen

Nerina Pallot

British Group

Arctic Monkeys

Kasabian

Muse

Razorlight

Snow Patrol

British Single

Corinne, Bailey Rae Put Your Records On

The Feeling, Fill My Little World

James Morrison, You Give Me Something

The Kooks, She Moves In Her Own Way

Leona Lewis, A Moment Like This

Lily Allen, Smile

Razorlight, America

Sandi Thom, I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker

Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars

Take That, Patience

Will Young, All Time Love

Mastercard British Album

Amy Winehouse, Back to Black

Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am...

Lily Allen, Alright, Still

Muse, Black Holes & Revelations

Snow Patrol, Eyes Open

Breakthrough Act

Corinne Bailey Rae

The Fratellis

James Morrison

The Kooks

Lily Allen

British Live Act

George Michael

Guillemots

Kasabian

Muse

Robbie Williams

International Group

The Flaming Lips

Gnarls Barkley

The Killers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Scissor Sisters

International Male Solo Artist

Beck

Bob Dylan

Damien Rice

Jack Johnson

Justin Timberlake

International Female Artist

Beyoncé

Cat Power

Christina Aguilera

Nelly Furtado

P!nk

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Oasis

International Album

Bob Dylan, Modern Times

Gnarls Barkley, St Elsewhere

Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds

The Killers, Sam's Town

Scissor Sisters, Ta-Dah

International Breakthrough Act

Gnarls Barkley

Orson

The Raconteurs

Ray Lamontagne

Wolfmother

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