British soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae has been named the best rising star in the BBC News website's Sound of 2006 poll of UK critics and broadcasters.
Corinne Bailey Rae has been hailed as "a star through and through"
Bailey Rae, 26, from Leeds, has been championed by BBC Radio 1 and Jools Holland and has been compared to blues legend Billie Holiday in the press.
US indie group Clap Your Hands Say Yeah came second. Soft rock band The Feeling were third, with rapper Plan B at four.
Last year's list included The Bravery, the Kaiser Chiefs and KT Tunstall.
Keane, Franz Ferdinand, the Scissor Sisters and 50 Cent all appeared in previous Sound of... lists before hitting the big time.
The Sound of 2006 list was compiled by asking more than 100 knowledgeable, influential and impartial UK music pundits for their favourite new acts.
SOUND OF 2006 TOP 10
1. Corinne Bailey Rae
2. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (above)
3. The Feeling
4. Plan B
7. Chris Brown
8. Marcos Hernandez
10. The Automatic
Corinne Bailey Rae, who mixes soul, blues and pop, became a hot property after her debut EP, Like A Star, was released in November.
"I'm just totally shocked because I didn't really think anyone had even heard of me at all," she said of the Sound of 2006 result.
"It's amazing and it's quite scary as well. It's very early on because I haven't sold any records, I'm really aware of that."
Ajax Scott, publisher of industry bible Music Week, said the singer stood out because of a voice that was "intimate and familiar while immediately distinctive".
"Combine that with the songs and the presence she manages to project at her live shows and it's easy to see why she is so hotly-tipped," he said.
GMTV head of showbusiness Maurice Gallagher described her as "a star through and through".
He said: "The music radiates from the inside out with her and she draws you inexorably in to her world."
Sheena Mason, head of music at London's Capital Radio, said Bailey Rae had "not only a great voice but the songs to go with it".
And Laura Lukanz, music manager of BBC urban radio station 1Xtra, which showcased Bailey Rae a year ago, praised the singer's "understated presence and faultless vocals".
Other pundits who took part in the survey included NME editor Conor McNicholas, BBC Radio 2 music head Colin Martin and The Times chief rock critic Pete Paphides.
In second place, New York group Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have been compared to Talking Heads and have generated a large word-of-mouth following on the internet.
PREVIOUS SOUND OF... LISTS
Sound of 2005 - The Bravery (1st), Bloc Party (2), The Game (4), Kaiser Chiefs (5), KT Tunstall (6), The Magic Numbers (10)
Sound of 2004 - Keane (1), Franz Ferdinand (2), Razorlight (4), Joss Stone (5), McFly (6), Scissor Sisters (7)
Sound of 2003 - 50 Cent (1), Dizzee Rascal (5), Interpol (6), Audio Bullys (7), Mario (8), Sean Paul (10)
The Feeling, in third, are a radio-friendly guitar pop band hoping to pick up where the likes of Supertramp and ELO left off in the 1970s.
London rapper Plan B's uncompromising tales of urban life could generate column inches as well as sales after coming fourth.
And in fifth place, the eclectic and tuneful Guillemots are trying to make pop music with a twist.
The Bravery came top of last year's Sound of 2005, with Bloc Party, The Game, the Kaiser Chiefs, KT Tunstall and The Magic Numbers also in the top 10.
The Sound of 2006 pundits were asked for their three favourite new acts from any genre and any country.
Artists were not eligible if they had already received widespread mainstream attention or commercial success in the UK.
Acts who had already had hits with previous musical projects or were already famous for doing something else were also banned.