Joss Stone, the urban diva from Devon, is crowned queen of the Brit Awards

Joss Stone, the teenage soul singer from Devon, beat competition from rivals including the strongly tipped R'n'B singer Jamelia and last year's most notable debutante Natasha Bedingfield to be the star of the Brit Awards last night.

The 17-year-old defeated the former Mercury Music Prize winner Dizzee Rascal, Jamelia, and The Streets to be named best British urban act.

And Jamelia lost out again to Stone who won the British female solo artist category. Her other rivals included the alternative rock singer P J Harvey as well as Bedingfield and north London's feisty singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse.

The Streets - also known as Mike Skinner, a rapper from Birmingham - was named British male solo artist. The shortlist ranged from the jazz singer Jamie Cullum to pop's long-time purveyor of misery, Morrissey.

Breaking his own rule of not attending award ceremonies, The Streets was among those who performed at the Earl's Court event in west London. Natasha Bedingfield, who first reached the charts last year, joined forces with Daniel, the brother whom she now outshines, in a duet, while Jamelia, despite her disappointing lack of gongs, took to the stage with the former Fame Academy singer Lemar.

New York's Scissor Sisters celebrated picking up the most awards of the evening - three including that for best international group - with a barnstorming performance. Other performers included Gwen Stefani, named best international female artist, and Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg.

Robbie Williams performed his international hit "Angel" in a duet with Stone, after it was named the best song of the past 25 years of the Brits in a vote by listeners to Radio 2. Other contenders were Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and "We Are the Champions" by Queen.

Arguably the biggest surprise of the night was that the Glaswegian art rockers Franz Ferdinand took home just two awards after being nominated for five. The band was named best British group, against fierce competition from Kasabian, Keane, Muse and Snow Patrol, and best British rock act in a shortlist which also included the Libertines.

But despite the plaudits of the critics, Franz Ferdinand's eponymous debut was pipped to the best British album honours by the Sussex trio Keane, whose album Hopes and Fears was last year's top-selling album in the UK. In a vote by Radio 1 listeners, Keane were also named as the best British breakthrough act against Franz Ferdinand, Joss Stone, Natasha Bedingfield and The Zutons.

Commercial radio listeners chose the British single of the year. It proved not to be a sentimental vote for Band Aid 20, "Do They Know It's Christmas", but a win, instead, for Will Young and "Your Game".

McFly were the winners of the pop act award, Eminem beat Brian Wilson and Tom Waits to be named best international male solo artist, and Muse made it a double for Devon by taking the best British live act award.

The Brits ceremony, which has abandoned any attempt at modesty and sobriety after an intense outcry in 2003 when the event went dry, returned to drink-fuelled form with a night designed to display the British music scene in all its diversity. And, as if to prove there was still some heart in the music business, many of the performers wore the white wristbands of the Making Poverty History campaign which is being promoted by leading aid charities.

Bob Geldof, who came to fame with the Boomtown Rats but is better known for his famine relief work and efforts to help Third World countries labouring under debt burdens, was honoured last night for his outstanding contribution to music. Despite founding LiveAid and lobbying leaders worldwide for more money for African nations, it was a recognition he has long longed for. He regards himself as a musician first and foremost - and he took to the stage with gusto to prove it.

THE WINNERS

British male solo artist: The Streets

British female solo artist: Joss Stone

British group: Franz Ferdinand

MasterCard British album: Keane - Hopes and Fears

British single: Will Young - "Your Game"

British breakthrough act: Keane

British urban act: Joss Stone

British rock act: Franz Ferdinand

British live act award: Muse

Brits25, the best song award: Robbie Williams - "Angels"

Pop act: McFly

International male solo artist: Eminem

International female solo artist: Gwen Stefani

International group: Scissor Sisters

International album: Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters

International breakthrough act: Scissor Sisters

Outstanding contribution to music: Bob Geldof

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