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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 17:50 GMT
Spotlight on Brit Award nominees
The cream of the UK music industry is gearing up for Wednesday night's Brit Awards. Find out who the leading contenders are and listen to clips below.

LILY ALLEN

Lily Allen

The 21-year-old London singer with the sweet smile and sharp tongue was one of the breakthrough stars of last year.

On her debut album Alright, Still..., she slid effortlessly from love ballad to mischievous pop put-down and became favourite tabloid fodder in 2006.

She said: "I really don't think this is my place in life. There's so much more I want to do."

The critics said: "Effervescent talent and lyrical smartness." Daily Mirror

Shortlisted for: British female solo artist, British album, British breakthrough act, British single (Smile).

MUSE

Muse

Muse are now up to their fourth album, Black Holes and Revelations - and their acclaim and fanbase just keep growing.

Their passionate prog-tinged rock has made them firm live favourites - tickets for their June gig at the new Wembley Stadium sold out in 45 minutes.

They said: "What we are doing is kind of punk - flamboyant and excessive and over-the-top." Singer Matt Bellamy

The critics said: "A brilliant album, dark, dense and heavy." Daily Telegraph

Shortlisted for: British group, British album, British live act.

GNARLS BARKLEY

Gnarls Barkley

A collaboration between US producer Danger Mouse, who also worked with Gorillaz, and rapper Cee-Lo Green.

They had the UK's best-selling single of 2006 with Crazy and their album, St. Elsewhere, was an infectious mix of hip-hop, funk and soul.

They said: "Our relationship is intense and eccentric. Together we are the ultimate urban alternative." Cee-Lo

The critics said: "A boundary-defying treat." The Guardian

Nominated for: International group, International album, International breakthrough act.

CORINNE BAILEY RAE

Corinne Bailey Rae

This Leeds singer warmed hearts with her delicate love songs and soulful voice. Put Your Records on was the most played British hit on UK radio in 2006.

She is also doing well in the US, where she is up for three Grammys and her album has sold more than copies than in the UK.

She said: "We haven't tried to target it. It's just a bunch of songs I've worked on that hopefully are good."

The critics said: "Full of evocative heartache." Rolling Stone

Shortlisted for: British female solo artist, British breakthrough act, British single (Put Your Records On).

SNOW PATROL

Snow Patrol

Last year saw Snow Patrol become huge, selling 1.5 million copies of their fourth album Eyes Open, making it the UK's biggest-selling album of 2006.

Since forming in 1994, the Celtic band have matured into makers of fragile rock favourites like Chasing Cars.

They said: "Some rock is big and dumb, I think ours is big and intelligent." Singer Gary Lightbody

The critics said: "Outstanding and heartbreaking at the same time." The Sun

Shortlisted for: British group, British album, British single (Chasing Cars).

JAMES MORRISON

James Morrison

Leading the new singer-songwriter pack, James Morrison's husky voice gives the dishevelled 22-year-old Rugby-born star added worldly allure.

His debut album Undiscovered sold 850,000 copies in just five months.

He said: "I know who I am and I'm happy with myself. These songs have been like a self-healing process for me."

The critics said: "Of the post-Blunt boys, Morrison has a warmth and character that sets him apart." Daily Mail

Shortlisted for: British male solo artist, British breakthrough act, British single (You Give Me Something).

ARCTIC MONKEYS

The Arctic Monkeys

This Sheffield quartet caused a storm when their CD Whatever People Say I Am... became the fastest-selling debut album in UK chart history in January.

The quality of their blistering tunes was matched by Alex Turner's incisive, witty lyrics about real teenage life.

They said: "We never had a manifesto or 'owt. We just wrote songs and it came out like this." Alex Turner

The critics said: "Simply the freshest sounding record of 2006." The Observer

Shortlisted for: British group, British album.

AMY WINEHOUSE

Amy Winehouse

The London-born jazz singer made one of the most surprising and impressive comebacks of 2006, with her gutsy Back To Black album.

Aided by influential hip-hop producer Mark Ronson, she turned in a collection of soul standards that harked back to the classic sounds of Motown and Atlantic.

She said: "I don't have to do this. I could have waited in for the plumber."

The critics said: "Redolent with the tang of modern of bohemia." The Times

Shortlisted for: British female solo artist, British album.

THE KOOKS

The Kooks

A Brighton four-piece whose acoustic anthems and scruffy image make them indie's own sensitive troubadours.

Hits included Naive and She Moves in Her Own Way and their album Inside In Inside Out sold 1.1 million in the UK.

They said: "We're like punks with morals. We're the kind of people who would trash a hotel room and clean it up afterward." Singer Like Pritchard

The critics said: "Tremendously accomplished and melodic." Music Week

Shortlisted for: British breakthrough act, British single (She Moves In Her Own Way).

RAZORLIGHT

Razorlight

This Anglo-Swedish group crossed over from indie favourites to mainstream stars with their second album in 2006.

They have honed their premium blend of post-punk, psychedelia and U2-style pop to perfection and scored their first UK number one with America in October.

They said: "When I get going, we have drive and we believe we can make the greatest music ever." Singer Johnny Borrell

The critics said: "Full of big, swaggering anthems." Daily Express

Shortlisted for: British group, British single (America).




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