The Brits 2015 are upon us, so before Ant and Dec start dishing out the awards, I’ve been pondering who I think will win and why. There are some stats, some sales figures and a big dollop of my own opinion…
British Male Solo
Who’s in the running? Damon Albarn, Ed Sheeran, George Ezra, Paolo Nutini, Sam Smith
Predicted winner: Sam Smith
British Male Solo appears to have boiled down to an Ed Sheeran/Sam Smith face-off. If they were to fight it out physically, fellow nominee and friend Taylor Swift is pretty sure Mr Sheeran would win. But the Shake It Off singer is confident this is Smith’s year in the awards ring. He’s just scooped Best New Artist at the Grammy’s (one of four wins) so it might make more sense to predict the British Breakthrough win for him. But I bargain the 22-year-old will hop, skip and jump up the ranks to British Male Solo in this battle of homegrown talent.
British Female Solo
Who’s in the running? Ella Henderson, FKA Twigs, Jessie Ware, Lily Allen, Paloma Faith
Predicted winner: Paloma Faith
There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle among fans after Cheryl Fernandez-Versini’s name failed to appear on this list. Even fellow nominee Jessie Ware has said the omission is strange. But Ware’s backing Paloma Faith and I’m going to do the same. The woman recently did a duet with Shirley Bassey. Need I say more?
Who’s in the running? Alt-J, Clean Bandit, Coldplay, One Direction, Royal Blood
Predicted winner: Royal Blood
Clean Bandit could offer up strong competition in this category, following a recent win at the Grammy’s for Best Dance Recording. But it’s Royal Blood and One Direction leading the way based on the bookies’ odds. Royal Blood (Mike Kerr, Ben Thatcher) added an NME win to their name earlier this month for Best New Band. The Brighton duo saw their first album become the fast-selling rock debut since Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in 2011, selling almost 66,000 copies in just one week. It’s remained in the charts for 26 weeks, recently climbing back into the top twenty.
Best British Album
Who’s in the running? Alt-J (This Is All Yours), Ed Sheeran (X), George Ezra (Wanted On Voyage), Royal Blood (Royal Blood), Sam Smith (In The Lonely Hour)
Predicted winner: Ed Sheeran’s X
Sheeran’s album X spent eight uninterrupted weeks at Number 1 in the album chart last year. Since then it’s not dropped any lower than sixth position, and has jumped back up to the top spot another four times. Probably his biggest rival for this gong is Sam Smith, whose debut album In The Lonely Hour has enjoyed six non-consecutive weeks at the top spot, rising back up the ranks in recent weeks following his Grammy success. Indeed, both artists sold a whopping one million albums in the UK last year, with Smith doing the same in the US (the only artist in the world to achieve the double in 2014). But adding weight to his battle for glory, Sheeran also became 2014’s biggest-selling artist on iTunes, while the video for arguably his most popular track, Thinking Out Loud, was viewed nearly three million times in 24 hours. And he danced. So he gets an extra nod for that.
Who’s in the running? Chvrches, FKA Twigs, George Ezra, Royal Blood, Sam Smith
Predicted winner: George Ezra
Now, I’m going slightly rogue here, given Sam Smith won Best New Artist at the Grammys. But I think he’ll have plenty of other Brits to be getting on with (there are only so many trophies a person should have to polish). My prediction, George Ezra, shoved his way into the charts with a Number 1 for debut album Wanted on Voyage last year. Hit single Budapest also took top ten spots in numerous countries around the world, including New Zealand and Austria. Plus, he grew up in my home town, and given I have no actual say in the result I don’t have to be impartial, right? Do it for Herts, George!
Best British Single
Who’s in the running? Calvin Harris (Summer), Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne (Rather Be), Duke Dumont ft Jax Jones (I Got U), Ed Sheeran (Thinking Out Loud), Ella Henderson (Ghost), George Ezra (Budapest), Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars (Uptown Funk), Route 94 ft Jess Glynne (My Love), Sam Smith (Stay With Me), Sigma (Nobody to Love)
Predicted winner: Sam Smith’s Stay With Me
Back in camp Smith, and with a Song of the Year Grammy under his belt, it follows that Smith will add this to his haul. There’s plenty of competition; Ella Henderson’s just gone platinum in America and if you get through a day without hearing Uptown Funk you’ve probably had your earmuffs on too tight. In fact, Stay With Me’s chart stats aren’t as impressive as others in this list. But we love an artist that ‘does the double’, right? And Smith feels like the people’s champion.
British Video of the Year
Who’s in the running? Calvin Harris (Summer), Charli XCX (Boom Clap), Duke Dumont ft Jax Jones (I Got U), Ed Sheeran (Thinking Out Loud), Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars (Uptown Funk), One Direction (You And I), Rita Ora (I Will Never Let You Down), Route 94 ft Jess Glynne (My Love), Sam Smith (Stay With Me), Sigma (Nobody To Love)
Predicted winner: Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
One Direction have a fair bit of support behind them for this one, but while I could sit here and count the various pink blazer-clad reasons I enjoy Uptown Funk’s video, I think the fact that it’s still entertaining as hell without the music says it all really. Enjoy…
Who’s in the running? 5 Seconds of Summer, The Black Keys, First Aid Kit, Foo Fighters, The War On Drugs
Predicted winner: 5 Seconds of Summer
Aussie Rock Band 5 Seconds of Summer just won Worst Band of the Year at the NME awards. Worst band, yes you read that right. But so happy were they with their win (heck, they even campaigned for it after finding out they were nominated) it makes me want them to win the Brit. Then they can put both trophies side by side and revel in the weirdness of the whole thing. No logic here, I just like the sense of universal balance it would instil.
Who’s in the running? Beyoncé, Lana Del Ray, Sia, St Vincent, Taylor Swift
Predicted winner: Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift has just been named world’s most popular artist of 2014, so it would be something of a weird twist if she didn’t win this. The most impressive thing about Taylor’s status, which is based on physical sales, downloads and streaming stats, is that her music isn’t even available on Spotify anymore.
Who’s in the running? Beck, Hozier, Jack White, John Legend, Pharrell Williams
Predicted winner: Beck
Personally, I’d say this is a battle between Hozier and Beck. The latter added three Grammy awards to his mantelpiece this month, including Album of the Year, while Hozier’s self-titled album has spent twenty weeks in the charts, including three times at number one. Beck’s recent stats don’t compare as well, but he earned a jokey stage invasion from Kanye during his Grammy acceptance speech, which puts him in a (happy?) little club with Taylor Swift, and in my eyes means he deserves another bite at the acceptance speech cherry.