The Brit Awards take place tonight, in what will be the first major indoor music event with a live audience since March last year.
The music awards ceremony is being held at its traditional location, the O2 Arena, and will host an audience of 4,000 – 2,500 of whom will be key workers from London.
It was announced over the weekend that Taylor Swift will become the first woman to receive the Global Icon award, following artists such as Elton John and David Bowie.
Meanwhile, women dominate in the prestigious Album of the Year category, with Dua Lipa, Arlo Parks, Jessie Ware and Celeste all up for the award.
Take a look at our thoughts on who will win, and who should win, below:
Female Solo Artist
Lianne La Havas
This year’s set of nominations is a particularly strong one, and the Female Solo Artist category is no exception. However, while all five nominees have had an excellent 12 months, it seems like the real battle will be between Dua Lipa and Arlo Parks. Dua Lipa started off last year with her shimmering second album, Future Nostalgia, which received rave reviews from critics (including five stars from The Independent). She followed that with an equally excellent album of remixes, which landed another five stars. Parks, meanwhile, received similar acclaim for her debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams. The fact it was released nine months after Future Nostalgia might mean it was fresher in the memories of the voting panel, which could be enough to tip the scales in Parks’s favour.
Will win: Dua Lipa
Should win: Arlo Parks
Male Solo Artist
Another strong set of nominations. AJ Tracey could be overlooked as his (very good) second album, Flu Game, was released a month after voting closed. That said, judges may have been impressed enough by his singles (including the brilliant, garage-influenced “West Ten” ft Mabel, and “Dinner Guest” ft MoStack, which samples Nightcrawlers’ “Push the Feeling On”). Headie One has a good chance after the success of his debut album, Edna, which topped the UK charts in October. Joel Corry and Yungblud feel like the weakest of the group, but J Hus seems like another strong contender thanks to his excellent album Big Conspiracy, released in January last year.
Will win: AJ Tracey
Should win: Headie One
Young T & Bugsey
The group categories tend to feature the same faces again and again. So yes, we have Little Mix, Biffy Clyro and The 1975, but this year there are curveballs in the shape of electronic duo Bicep, and the irrepressible Young T & Bugsey. My money’s on the latter, mostly because they deserve some recognition after their infectious “Strike a Pose” collaboration with rapper Aitch, but also for their more recent team-ups with Headie One on “Don’t Rush” and the Latin-inflected “Princess Cuts”.
Will win: Young T & Bugsey
Should win: Young T & Bugsey
Young T & Bugsey
Some familiar faces from earlier categories here. Most familiar are Bicep, who formed in 2009 and released their label debut in 2017 – I have no idea what they’re doing in this category. Celeste would be a great pick, in recognition of her sublime No 1 album Not Your Muse. Arlo Parks and Young T & Bugsey are equally deserving but might split the vote between critical favourite (Parks) and commercial (Young T & Bugsey).
Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music Sign up now for a 30-day free trialSign up
Will win: Arlo Parks
Should win: Celeste
“Don’t Need Love” – 220 Kid and Gracey
“Rain” – Aitch and AJ Tracey ft Tay Keith
“Physical” – Dua Lipa
“Watermelon Sugar” – Harry Styles
“Ain’t It Different” – Headie One ft AJ Tracey and Stormzy
“Head and Heart” – Joel Corry ft MNEK
“Lighter” – Nathan Dawe ft KSI
“Secrets” – Regard and Raye
“Rover” – S1mba ft DTG
“Don’t Rush” – Young T & Bugsey ft Headie One
Breezing through this monster of a category, there are a few I think you can immediately discount simply because the artists behind the tracks are a bit faceless compared to the megawatt popstars on the list. So we’ll ignore Joel Corry’s “Head and Heart” ft MNEK, as catchy as it is; ditto “Don’t Need Love”, from 220 Kid and Gracey, and the painfully forgettable “Lighter” from Nathan Dawe ft KSI. “Secrets” has a marginally better chance thanks to vocal contributions from Raye, who’s been busy rolling out a bunch of great singles lately. Really, it’s looking like a toss-up between Dua Lipa, with her propulsive single “Physical”, and Harry Style’s saccharine smash “Watermelon Sugar”.
Will win: Dua Lipa
Should win: Dua Lipa
Album of the Year
Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams
Celeste – Not Your Muse
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
J Hus – Big Conspiracy
Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
The big one. I would love this to go to a non-obvious artist, in this case Jessie Ware for her stupendous record What’s Your Pleasure? Yes, Future Nostalgia is fantastic and ticks all of the chart boxes typically required for a Brit win. But if the Brits are serious about shaking things up (which they’ve been doing a great job of in the past couple of years), they would do well to cause some upset by not handing a limited group of artists the majority of the awards. That said, any one of these artists would be a deserving winner.
Will win: Dua Lipa
Should win: Jessie Ware
International Female Solo Artist
A fairly odd list, but most of the above have been hyper-productive in the past 12 months. Ariana Grande released her (disappointing) album Positions, on which the title track was the only properly good single. Billie Eilish has just unveiled a brand new era along with the announcement that her second album is on the way, but released a single from her debut, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? in November last year. That, plus her Bond theme “No Time to Die”, is enough to make her eligible, but in my opinion it’s not enough to bag her the award this year. Cardi B could be a strong contender with her headline-making single “WAP” ft Megan Thee Stallion, along with her snappy solo track, “Up”. Miley Cyrus impressed our critic with her rock album, Plastic Hearts. But is that enough to beat Taylor Swift, and the three No 1 albums she released in the space of 12 months? Somehow I doubt it.
Will win: Taylor Swift
Should win: Taylor Swift
International Male Solo Artist
An interesting mix, but one that will most likely boil down to a battle between Bruce Springsteen, The Weeknd and Burna Boy. I reckon Springsteen will be edged out by the fact the Brits are still very keen to position themselves as on the ball with contemporary music, as opposed to the stuffy, behind-the-times attitude of The Grammys. The Weeknd would be the obvious choice given the monster success of his latest album, After Hours. But if you’re talking about wider influence on pop music, then Burna Boy, the Nigerian rapper and singer who has helped globalise his signature Afrofusion sound, is equally – and arguably more – deserving. If you need any proof of his influence, just listen to recent albums by Justin Bieber, Stormzy, Dave, Lily Allen, Fall Out Boy, Beyonce, Sam Smith and J Hus. He’s on all of them.
Will win: The Weeknd
Should win: Burna Boy
Run the Jewels
Usually the most predictable category of the entire ceremony, International Group has been shaken up by the appearance of South Korea’s K-Pop stars, BTS, and Irish post-punk band Fontaines DC. Run the Jewels and HAIM also released excellent albums last year, while Foo Fighters topped the charts with Medicine at Midnight. The most deserving (in my view) are HAIM’s Women in Music Pt III or Fontaine DC’s A Hero’s Death.
Will win: HAIM
Should win: Fontaines DC
The Brit Awards take place on 11 May
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies