One Direction and Alt-J lead diverse Brit Award shortlist

Amy Winehouse's posthumous nod is the big surprise in a list highlighting the vast range of UK music

LAST UPDATED AT 10:01 ON Fri 11 Jan 2013

THE BRIT AWARDS usually struggle to strike a balance between credible music and chart-topping pop, but this year's list of nominations – featuring acts as diverse as indie rock darlings Alt-J (pictured above) and boy band One Direction – has got it right, say most commentators.

The BBC's entertainment reporter Mark Savage praises the event for showcasing wildly contrasting music such as the "nocturnal minimalism" of The xx and the "relentlessly upbeat pop" of X Factor graduate Olly Murs. All that's really missing from this year's nominations is a "sense of danger", he writes.

If nominations are converted into trophies when the awards are handed out on 20 February, this year's Brit Awards will belong to singer Emeli Sande who is contesting four categories including best female and best album.

One of her rivals for the best female trophy is the late Amy Winehouse, who created the biggest surprise by picking up a posthumous nomination for Lioness: Mixed Treasures, an album of remixes and material recorded for her third, unreleased studio album.

If Winehouse wins the award she will become only the second posthumous winner of a Brit after Queen singer Freddie Mercury won in 1992. a year after his death, says The Guardian.

This year's winners will collect a new trophy designed by British artist Damien Hirst. The white statuette, unveiled yesterday, is covered in Hirst's trademark coloured polka dots, a design that "is unlikely to have taken Hirst too long", writes Catherine Gee in the Daily Telegraph.

While The Rolling Stones' acclaimed anniversary concerts in London have earned them a deserved nomination for best live act, the nominations rightly showcase the new wave of British music.

The Mercury Prize-winning indie band Alt-J will take on Muse and The xx for best group and their breakthrough album An Awesome Wave is up for best album. London rapper Plan B is nominated in two categories, but the lack of rap and hip-hop artists on the list may mean the Brits are criticised for ignoring artists from the UK's "thriving rap and urban music scene", says The Independent.

Adele and Robbie Williams, artists who have dominated previous Brit Awards, won't feature so heavily this year. Adele picked up a nomination for her hit James Bond theme Skyfall and Williams has just one nod for best single. It could mean Williams's reign as ‘King of the Brits' is over, says the Independent, despite the fact his new album Take the Crown has been hailed as a comeback.

BRIT AWARDS NOMINEES IN FULL:

British breakthrough act:
Alt-J
Ben Howard
Jake Bugg
Jessie Ware
Rita Ora

British female solo artist:
Amy Winehouse
Bat For Lashes
Emeli Sande
Jessie Ware
Paloma Faith

British group:
Alt-J
Mumford And Sons
Muse
One Direction
The xx

Live act:
Coldplay
Mumford And Sons
Muse
Rolling Stones
The Vaccines

British male solo artist:
Ben Howard
Calvin Harris
Olly Murs
Richard Hawley
Plan B

British producer:
Damon Albarn
Jake Gosling
Paul Epworth

British single
Adele - Skyfall
Alex Clare - Too Close
Coldplay featuring Rihanna - Princess Of China
DJ Fresh featuring Rita Ora - Hot Right Now
Emeli Sande - Next To Me
Florence + The Machine - Spectrum (Say My Name)
James Arthur - Impossible
Jessie J - Domino
Labrinth featuring Emeli Sande - Beneath Your Beautiful
Olly Murs featuring Flo Rida - Troublemaker
Rita Ora featuring Tinie Tempah - RIP
Rizzle Kicks - Mama Do The Hump
Robbie Williams - Candy
Rudimental featuring John Newman - Feel The Love
Stooshe - Black Heart

International female solo artist:
Alicia Keys
Cat Power
Lana Del Rey
Rihanna
Taylor Swift

International group:
Alabama Shakes
Black Keys
Fun
The Killers
The Script

International male solo artist:
Bruce Springsteen
Frank Ocean
Gotye
Jack White
Michael Buble

Best album:
Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
Emeli Sande - Our Version Of Events
Mumford And Sons - Babel
Paloma Faith - Fall To Grace
Plan B - Ill Manors · 

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Well, at least Bowie's back.

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