Ed Sheeran leads nominations for Brit Awards

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Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran heads the field for this year's Brit Awards with four nominations.

The 20-year-old star - who has three top five hits to his name - tops the shortlists ahead of Adele and Jessie J, both up for three prizes.

Florence + The Machine and Coldplay are each up for a pair of prizes at the event, to be held at London's O2 Arena on February 21.

Hotly tipped Emeli Sande has already won one trophy ahead of this year's show - the Critics' Choice Award - and stands to win another as best British breakthrough act, competing against Jessie J, Sheeran, Anna Calvi and The Vaccines.

Sheeran has landed plenty of critical acclaim and airplay in the past year with singles such as The A Team and Lego House, as well as topping the album chart with his debut, called +.

He goes up against Noel Gallagher, James Blake, James Morrison and Professor Green for the best British male title and is one of ten acts in contention for best British single.

Best British album - which has now become the centrepiece of the Brits - will be fought over between Sheeran's +, 21 by Adele, Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay, Ceremonials by Florence and the Mercury Prize-winning Let England Shake by PJ Harvey.

The best British female category features Adele, Florence, Jessie J, Laura Marling and Kate Bush. Bush, 53, figures in the shortlist for the first time in six years, on the back of her 50 Words For Snow album which came out in November. She has been nominated for the best female prize a total of seven times but last won it 25 years ago.

Coldplay are up for the best British group title - a category they have previously won three times - and face Elbow, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys and Chase & Status.

Other acts with two nominations are Bon Iver and Aloe Blacc, who both figure in the international categories.

Coldplay are the only group with more than one nomination.

Nominations for the awards - officially called the The Brit Awards 2012 with MasterCard - were announced at an event at London's Savoy Hotel this evening.

The shortlisted acts will be competing for a trophy designed by pop artist Sir Peter Blake, renowned as the man behind the sleeve for The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The event - to be broadcast live on ITV1 - will also feature performances from Adele, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Sheeran, Florence, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and Rihanna.

Blur have already been named the winners of the Outstanding Contribution to Music award for this year.

Gennaro Castaldo, of music retailer HMV, said: "It's probably fair to say there are no real surprises among the nominations, with a wide range of artists and musical styles represented to reflect a vibrant UK music scene. Adele, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay were always likely to pick up a handful each given their huge success this year, and they can now be expected to go on and win in at least one of their shortlisted categories."

He said most nominees will expect some sort of sales uplift on the back of their inclusion.

"It's hard to imagine who in the UK doesn't have a copy of Adele's album, but undoubtedly she'll enjoy another run at the top of the charts after this."

Click here to view our gallery of some of this year's nominees

Full list of Brit Award nominees:

Here are the nominations for the Brit Awards 2012 with MasterCard.

British male solo artist:

Ed Sheeran

James Blake

James Morrison

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Professor Green

British female solo artist:

Adele

Florence + The Machine

Jessie J

Kate Bush

Laura Marling

British breakthrough act:

Anna Calvi

Ed Sheeran

Emeli Sande

Jessie J

The Vaccines

British group:

Arctic Monkeys

Chase & Status

Coldplay

Elbow

Kasabian

British single:

Adele - Someone Like You

Ed Sheeran - The A Team

Example - Changed The Way You Kissed Me

Jessie J ft BOB - Price Tag

JLS ft Dev - She Makes Me Wanna

Military Wives/Gareth Malone - Wherever You Are

Olly Murs ft Rizzle Kicks - Heart Skips A Beat

One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful

Pixie Lott - All About Tonight

The Wanted - Glad You Came

MasterCard British album of the year:

Adele - 21

Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

Ed Sheeran - +

Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

International male solo artist:

Aloe Blacc

Bon Iver

Bruno Mars

David Guetta

Ryan Adams

International female solo artist:

Beyonce

Bjork

Feist

Lady Gaga

Rihanna

International group:

Fleet Foxes

Foo Fighters

Jay Z/Kanye West

Lady Antebellum

Maroon 5

International breakthrough act:

Aloe Blacc

Bon Iver

Foster The People

Lana Del Rey

Nicki Minaj

Outstanding contribution to music award:

Blur

Critics' choice:

Emeli Sande

British producer:

Paul Epworth

Flood

Ethan Johns

PA

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