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Coldplay and Duffy lead Brit nominations

Coldplay and Duffy led the way at the Brit Awards nominations tonight with four nods apiece.

The recognition caps a remarkable debut year for the Welsh singer-songwriter, whose Rockferry was the best-selling album of 2008 and moved 4.5 million copies around the world.

Duffy was nominated for best album, best single for chart-topper Mercy, best female solo artist and best breakthrough act.

Fresh from leading a British invasion of the Grammys, where they bagged an an impressive seven nominations, Coldplay will go head to head with Duffy at the Brits for best album for Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends and best single for Viva La Vida.

They are also up for best live act and will do battle for best group with Girls Aloud, Radiohead, Take That and long-time indie underdogs Elbow.

After a decade and a half of relative obscurity, the Mancunian band hit the headlines in 2008 when their album The Seldom Seen Kid won the Mercury Prize.

They are now up for three Brits: best group, best album and best live act.

Radiohead's In Rainbows and The Ting Tings' We Started Nothing complete the nominations for best album, while the Verve, newcomers Scouting for Girls and seasoned rockers Iron Maiden are all up for best live act.

Duffy is up against Adele, Beth Rowley, Estelle and M.I.A. for the best female solo award.

Kylie Minogue and Gavin and Stacey stars James Corden and Mathew Horne will present this year's awards at London's Earls Court on February 18.

Among the stars appearing on the night will be Kings of Leon, Duffy, Girls Aloud and U2.

The Pet Shop Boys will claim the Outstanding Contribution to Music award, while Florence & the Machine were named Critics' Choice.

Music fans can vote for their favourite British single, live act and breakthrough act from tonight's shortlists.

The best British single will be finally decided on awards night by a live telephone vote.

The Brits Academy, made up of 1,000 invited music industry insiders and critics, decide on the remaining eight awards.

The best British male solo artist sees two veteran performers - former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown and Jam lead man Paul Weller - up against young guns James Morrison, Will Young and The Streets, aka Mike Skinner.

Ged Doherty, the chairman of the Brits Committee, said: "The Brits Academy has chosen a very wide ranging list of nominations this year.

"The list highlights the continued investment in British talent across the UK record industry and I wish all the nominees the best of luck."

In the international category, unusually, the same five bands are up for the best group and best album awards: AC/DC, Fleet Foxes, The Killers, Kings of Leon and MGMT.

Reality TV acts fared well at the nominations, with four nods in the best single category: Alexander Burke with her cover of Hallelujah, Girls Aloud with The Promise, Leona Lewis with Better In Time and The X Factor finalists with Hero.

The launch party at Camden's Roundhouse in London featured live performances from Scouting For Girls and Florence and the Machine.

At the show, it was announced that Coldplay and Take That would be performing at the main Brit Awards next month.