Spice Girls are Brits hot tip

The Spice Girls will probably clean up at this year's Brit Awards, it was announced last night.

The teenyboppers' favourites were nominated for best British group and best British newcomer. Their No 1 single, "Wannabe" was nominated for best British single, and "Wannabe" and "Say You'll Be There" are contenders for best video by British female artists.

Dance group The Prodigy, hotly tipped to do well, have been nominated for best video, best British dance act and best British single with "Firestarter".

Dubbed as the music industry's Oscars, the Brit Awards hit the headlines last year when Pulp's Jarvis Cocker staged a protest against Michael Jackson after he was nauseated by the latter singer's apparent imitation of Jesus Christ.

This year the comedian Ben Elton will present the awards at London's Earl's Court Exhibition Centre on 24 February. Britpop groups, Oasis and Blur, were not considered as they did not produce an album in time for the award nominations.

The most coveted of the 14 categories, apart from best British newcomer, are the best British male and best British female solo artists. Heading the list for best male artist is George Michael, followed by Mark Morrison, Simply Red, Sting, and Tricky.

Best female artist nominations are Dina Caroll, Gabrielle, Donna Lewis, Louise, and Eddie Reader.

The other nominations include:

Best British group: Kula Shaker, Lightning Seeds, Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Colour Scene and The Spice Girls.

Best video by a British artist: Chemical Brothers, "Setting Sun"; Dodgy, "Good Enough"; Jamiroquai, "Virtual Insanity". Manic Street Preachers, "A Design for Life"; Orbital, "The Box"; Prodigy, "Firestarter"; Prodigy, "Breathe"; George Michael, "Fastlove"; Spice Girls, "Say You'll be There"; Spice Girls, "Wannabe".

Best Album by a British Artiste: Kula Shaker, K; Lighthouse Family, Ocean Drive; Manic Street Preachers, Everything Must Go; George Michael, Older; Ocean Colour Scene, Moseley Shoals.

Best British Newcomer: Alisha's Attic; Ash; Babybird; Bluetones; Kula Shaker; Lighthouse Family; Longpigs; Mansun; Mark Morrison; Skunk Anansie; Space; The Spice Girls.

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